By John Manley
Richard Coughlan shot only one subpar round in the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic at the Forest Oaks County Club in North Carolina, but it was a round that counted. The County Offaly rookie opened with a 2-over-par 74, then sliced six strokes off that score on Friday to make the cut with a stroke to spare. Coughlan couldn’t replicate the second round on Saturday or Sunday, scoring 73 and 74, respectively, on those days to finish tied for 55th place at 1-over 289, which was 11 shots off Trevor Dodds and Scott Verplank. Dodds won the tournament on the first playoff hole. Coughlan was paid $4,928 for four days’ work, money that might become important later in the year, when eligibility for next year’s PGA Tour is at issue.
Keith Nolan left himself with too much to do after shooting 75 in the first round at Greensboro. The first-year man from Bray, Co. Wicklow, improved with a 72 on Friday, but his two-round total of 147 was well off the 143 needed to make the cut. Both Coughlan an Nolan now make their way to Texas for the Shell Houston Open, which begins Thursday.
John Kernohan didn’t have a say in the outcome of the Nike Huntsville Open, played over the Hampton Cove Golf Club in Huntsville, Ala, but he did manage four steady rounds to finish tied for 25th place, earning a check for $1,580. The board showed Kernohan coming in with scores of 72, 70, 73 and 73. Kernohan, at even par 288, finished nine shots in back of Dennis Paulson and Brent Schwarzrock. Paulson won the playoff.
Eamonn Darcy was the top Irishman at the Peugeot Open de Espana, last week’s stop on the European Tour. Darcy recorded four consecutive subpar rounds (68-71-65-70) over the El Prat Golf Club layout in Barcelona, Spain, to finish tied for 11th place at 14-under 274. Des Smyth was the only other Irishman to go the distance. He played the tournament in 5-under 283 (69-69-72-73) but that was good only for 68th position.
Taking the weekend off (literally) after taking Thursday and Friday off (figuratively) were Padraig Harrington at 141, Paul McGinley at 142, Raymond Burns at 143, and Philip Walton at 144. A score of 140 (4 under par) or better was required to advance to the weekend’s rounds.
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The continent’s junior circuit, the European Challenge Tour, settled in Rimini, Italy, for the week, where the Rimini International Open was hosted by the Rimini Golf Club. Gary Murphy shot 285 (70-74-71-70), which placed him in a tie for 14th place. The winning score of 278 was recorded by Massimo Scarpa. David Higgins, who played well in Cannes the previous week on the senior circuit, let down his guard here and missed the cut. Higgins’s two-round total of 152 (77-75) was six shots above the 146 needed to qualify for the weekend.