English pair keep pres­sure up at Irish Boys Open

Irish Examiner - Sport - - SOCCER/GOLF - Char­lie Mulqueen

The stage is set for a thrilling fin­ish to the Irish Boys Open Cham­pi­onship at Castletroy to­day with five play­ers within four strokes of the lead go­ing into fi­nal 18 holes.

And it could well be that the ti­tle is for ex­port given that the joint lead­ers on 211, five un­der par, are the English pair Jack Cope and Danny Daniels who have com­pleted 54 holes, two ahead of de­fend­ing cham­pion Mark Power (Kilkenny) with Ross­lare’s John Brady on 214 and the ad­mirably steady Mal­low golfer Adam Boland on 215.

A very strong, cold cross­wind sweep­ing across the Castletroy course made for a dif­fi­cult day for the tal­ented, multi na­tional field and in the end it was the English pair who stood up best to the chal­lenge. Cope went into yes­ter­day’s third round one off the pace but his two un­der par 70 that in­cluded four birdies but a bo­gey on the 18th saw him in a share of the leader with Daniels at the close of play.

In con­trast, a birdie at the last en­abled Daniels to join his com­pa­triot at the head of af­fairs and ex­tend a se­ri­ous chal­lenge to home favourites Power, Brady and Boland. Power’s mas­sive hit­ting from the tee drew gasps from an ad­mir­ing gallery but his game oth­er­wise lacked its usual con­sis­tency for much of the af­ter­noon.

He off­set a birdie at the 1st with a dou­ble bo­gey at the next and even though gains at the 7th and 10th spurred him on, a bo­gey, bo­gey fin­ish left the Kilkenny 17 year-old with to make up to­day.

Much the same ap­plies to Brady who took 40 for the home­ward jour­ney and there was much to ad­mire in the per­for­mance of Mal­low’s Adam Boland who has brought in rounds of 71, 73 and 71, a score that in­cluded six birdies.

Eng­land’s Paul War­ing left some of Europe’s biggest names trail­ing in his wake to claim the lead af­ter the first round of the £5.4m HNA Open de France.

War­ing, 32, who is com­pet­ing this sea­son on a med­i­cal ex­emp­tion due to on­go­ing back prob­lems which re­stricted him to four starts in 2016, carded seven birdies in a flaw­less open­ing 64 at Le Golf Na­tional, venue for the 2018 Ry­der Cup.

That left the for­mer English Amateur cham­pion two shots clear of Thomas Pi­eters, Alexan­der Bjork and qual­i­fy­ing school win­ner Nathan Kim­sey, with Tommy Fleet­wood part of a three-strong group on four un­der.

Walker Cup hope­ful Conor O’rourke leads the Irish charge for the Euro­pean Amateur Cham­pi­onship head­ing into day three at Wal­ton Heath in Sur­rey.

The Naas man starts this morn­ing just two strokes off the lead af­ter fol­low­ing up on his first round 67 with a 70 yes­ter­day.

It left him seven-un­der (137) for the two rounds and within touch­ing dis­tance of Spa­niard Vic­tor Pas­tor, Jeremy Freiburghaus of Switzer­land and Aus­tralian Dy­lan Perry.

The Is­land star Paul Mcbride is also well placed to chal­lenge as he sits on five-un­der af­ter two rounds.

Tramore’s Robin Daw­son is three­ground un­der with the trio of Alex Gleeson (Cas­tle), Stu­art Gre­han (Tul­lam­ore) and Colm Camp­bell (War­ren­point) all on two-un­der.

Conor Pur­cell (Port­marnock) and Jonathan Yates (Naas) are on level par while John-ross Gal­braith is one-over and Thomas Mul­li­gan (Lay­town & Bet­tys­town) three-over.

Pic­ture: Pat Cash­man

Joseph Byrne (Balt­in­glass) af­ter his vic­tory in the Le­in­ster Boys U4 Amateur Open at Cor­bal­lis. Byrne shot a course record four un­der par 62 to win by six shots.

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