By John Manley
Gary Murphy posted his finest performance of the year, when he placed second in the Skandia PGA Open, a European Challenge Tour event, held at Halmstad Golf Club in Sweden last weekend. The Kilkenny man finished two strokes behind medallist Thomas Besancenez. Murphy’s cards read 72, 68, 73 and 68 for an aggregate 281. He reached contention with birdies at 11 and 12, and an eagle at 14. His prize money was 10,550 euros. Paddy Gribben, at 147 (69-78) for 36 holes, missed the cut by two strokes.
Concurrent with the Skandia, the Challenge Tour also held the Rolex Trophy at the Golf Club de Geneve in Switzerland. Peter Lawrie tied for 14th place at 279 (71-67-72-69), nine shots under par. Simon Hurd was low man at 268.
World Golf Championships
Darren Clarke was low man of the four Irishmen who teed off in the NEC Invitational at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. Clarke’s 280
(66-74-68-72) left him 12 strokes behind runaway winner Craig Parry. Clarke took home $50,400.
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Rookie Gr’me McDowell received an invitation and proved himself worthy of the honor. He shot 288 (72-69-73-74), good for a tie at 52nd place and $31,250. Padraig Harrington was one shot better than that at 287 (72-70-73-72), which got him a 47th place tie and $32,550. Paul McGinley recovered from a horrid 79 in the opening round to shoot 69 in the second frame. Rounds of 73 and 74 followed, adding up to 295 and sole possession of 67th place. He earned $27,750.
Last week’s event was a little short on Irish representation, what with the WGC affair at Sahalee. Philip Walton was poised to make the most of the situation at the Scottish PGA Championship, played at the Gleneagles Hotel PGA Centenary Course. He was tied for seventh at the midway point, but the weekend proved his undoing. Walton finished tied for 43rd place at one-under-par 287 (68-70-76-73). Among those sharing that number was Des Smyth (71-72-71-73). Each man earned $8,057. Adam Scott won the tournament by 10 strokes with a score of 262.
Keith Nolan tied for 47th place in the Permian Basin Open at Midland Country Club in Midland, Texas. Nolan shot 284 (73-69-70-72), which was four under par and 12 strokes behind Tag Ridings and Mark Hensby, low men at 272. Ridings won the playoff. Nolan’s check came to $1,502.
Twelve was also the operative number for both Richard Coughlan and John Kernohan. That’s how many strokes they missed the cut by. Coughlan shot 76-78 for 36 holes, while Kernohan was in with 79-75.
Eamonn Brady tied for 19th place in the Marriott Hollins Hall Trophy at Marriott Hollins Hall Golf & Country Club in Shipley, Leeds, England. At 4-under 209 (69-70-70), Brady was nine shots in arrears of Phillip Archer, the medalist. Unable to clear the cut at 141 were Connor Mallon, 144 (72-72), and Donal Brennan, 156 (77-79).
Stewart & Stewart Tour
Chris Devlin tied for 12th place in this circuit’s latest outing at the Tara Golf Club in McCormick, S.C. At 284 (72-66-73-73), Devlin finished 16 shots behind Stan Gann, a winner by five strokes. Devlin took home $748.33.
Golden Bear Tour
P.J. Cowan was only one stroke off the lead after the first round of the Pepsi Challenge, played over the Ironhorse Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., and the Jonathan Landing Fazio Old Trail in Jupiter, Fla. But he couldn’t break par in the three subsequent rounds and settled for a tie at 26th place. His final score was even-par 284 (67-73-72-72), which brought with it a check for $1,648. Greg Boyette, at 273, was the champion.