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WATC: Ireland just one behind in Eisenhower bid

​​​​​​​Ireland share second place after round two on 19 under, one behind leaders New Zealand

  • 06 September 2018

Picture: Ireland's John Murphy in round two | Cashman Photography

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Ireland shot nine under to stay second in the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House.

New Zealand lead the way on 20 under, one shot clear of Ireland, who are level with Denmark and Thailand going into the penultimate round. Ireland play the Montgomerie Course in round three.

Once more Robin Dawson fared best for the hosts, carding a five under 68 on the O'Meara Course with Conor Purcell shooting 69. John Murphy's battling round of 70 was surplus to requirements on another fine day for the home players.

"To follow up yesterday's score was fantastic," said team captain John Carroll. "We're well in the hunt so that's all that matters at this stage."

Lying second overnight on 10 under, Ireland maintained a strong pace near the front of the field and now find themselves just one behind at halfway. Despite their fine return for the round, Ireland could point to a number of missed opportunities and it was hard not to ponder what might have been.

 



"I could have picked up a lot more but in saying that five under is still a good score," said Dawson, who has now gone 36 holes without making a bogey. "I would have taken that [68] on the first tee."

A par-par start, which included a smart up and down at the second, suggested Dawson might struggle to match the heights of Wednesday's 65 on the Montgomerie but he holed from 10 feet at the third to get the ball rolling again. A seven-footer at the fifth completed an early hat-trick of birdies and while he had to wait until 15 for his next gain, there were few complaints.

"Happy enough," was Dawson's overall assessment. " My game was solid."

His final birdie of the round came courtesy of a stunning approach on 17. A booming drive left him contemplating a 2-iron from 228 yards. The ball pierced through the wind, turning right to left on a beautiful arc towards the flag, and landed smoothly below the pin, eventually finishing six feet from the hole.

Murphy also birdied the final par-five to end his round three under but having got it to minus four after six, he wore the facial features of a frustrated challenger.

"I just got to eliminate the bad [holes] over the next couple of days," said the 20-year-old redhead from Kinsale. 

His hot start set the tone but three bogeys on the back nine halted his gallop. A second round of 70 gives him a total of six under, which seems modest only because Ireland have set such a high standard. With an eagle and 11 birdies against his name, Murphy's game is brewing nicely.

Likewise, Conor Purcell is coming to the boil and the only blemish on his card was a bogey at 15 when, not for the first time in the round, a putt lipped out.

"Today was very solid," Purcell reflected. "I had one little hiccup on 15. That was my only mistake and I think that was my only missed green."

An opening birdie from three feet had Purcell in the red and he reached the turn three under with further gains at the 5th, from four feet, and the 6th, where he two-putted from 15 feet.

An exquisite wedge shot on 11 delighted the gallery, his approach from 116 yards pitching past the pin before spinning back to the hole, leaving a tap-in birdie. He pitched it close on 13 to set up another stress-free birdie but the course betrayed him on 14 - his birdie putt lipped , a scene that was repeated on 16 and 18.

"Going out today you could have it in your head that O'Meara should be the easier of the two courses and there should be more birdies," said Purcell. "And when you start making a few pars when you think you should make birdies you can get a bit down but overall I think we did a good job of keeping the spirits up."

And there was no need to feel down when they looked at the leaderboard. Ireland remained in second place and had closed the gap. New Zealand take a one-stroke lead into round three, replacing first round leaders Denmark, who were two clear at the end of day one.

The Danes now share second place with Ireland and Thailand, who were 13 under on the Montgomerie, the same mark as New Zealand.  Thailand's Sadom Kaewkanjana is two clear in the individual standings on 14 with Robin Dawson tied second on minus 12.

The World Amateur Team Championships are being hosted by the ILGU and GUI with support from Sport Ireland.