Friday, June 29, 2012


Frenchman Grégory Bourdy continues to lead the Irish Open but Padraig Harrington is hard on his heels after the three-time Major Champion posted his second successive round of 67, much to the delight of the huge crowds who had gathered at Royal Portrush Golf Club.
Having compiled what he considered the finest round of his European Tour career on the opening day, Bourdy joked that his second day 67 was “maybe the second best round of my career” as he moved to 12 under par at the midway stage of the €2million event.
FOSTER ONE OFF THE PACEEngland’s Mark Foster is one stroke off the lead after a flawless round of 67, whilst his compatriot Paul Waring – playing his first European Tour event after a year-long absence with a wrist injury – is in a share of third place on ten under par alongside Italian Lorenzo Gagli (66) and Harrington (67).
Harrington was again taken aback by the record crowds in attendance, with 27,194 lining the fairways of the Dunluce Links to cheer on their heroes including Northern Ireland’s trio of Major Champions, Darren Clarke (four under par), Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (both five under) – all of whom comfortably made the cut.
Harrington said: “It sounded like an Open Championship coming down 18. The crowds were clapping us from 150 yards short of the green, as they were all day. Particularly on the last six holes, when the rain went away and the umbrellas went down, there was rapturous applause and cheering as we approached the green.
“It’s unique, and it’s great to see. I think all of the players, especially the players down the rankings, aren’t used to this, so they really appreciate it. We all appreciate it, because it’s great to play golf tournaments amongst big crowds.”
The roars will be deafening if Harrington can win the Irish Open for a second time, but a certain Frenchman is determined to gate-crash the party.
Par 144 (2x72)
132 Gregory Bourdy (France) 65 67
133 Mark Foster (England) 66 67
134 Lorenzo Gagli (Italy) 68 66, Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 67 67T1, Paul Waring (England) 69 65.
135 Jamie Donaldson (Wales) 68 67, Mikael Lindberg (Sweden) 69 66, Gary Orr (Scotland) 68 68, Jeev M Singh (India) 68 71

137 Peter Whiteford 67 70 (T10).
138 Steven O'Hara 69 69 (T17).
139 Richie Ramsay 69 70, Marc Warren 71 68 (T24)
140 George Murray 72 68, David Drysdale 70 70 (T39).
141 Craig Lee 73 68, Stephen Gallacher 72 69, Paul Lawrie 69 72 (T52).
MISSED THE CUT (142 and better qualified)
146 Colin Montgomerie 76 70.
154 Scott Jamieson 77 77



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