Clarke: Irish Open course 'ridiculously difficult'

Darren Clarke has said the Irish Open course was "ridiculously difficult" to play yesterday afternoon, after a round of 72.

This week’s event is being played on an Adare Manor course, measuring 7,453 yards, only 190 yards shorter than Torrey Pines will be when it becomes the longest course in major history at next month’s United States Open.

Six-under-par rounds of 66 were still managed by Australian Richard Green and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh yesterday, but both of those came in the softer morning conditions.

So when Ryder Cup pair Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley finished with 72 and 73, respectively, later in the day they let their feelings be known.

“The course was ridiculously difficult this afternoon,” said Clarke. “It was disappointing. It’s a fantastic design and then you have new tees and all of a sudden we are hitting three-irons to flags that are completely inaccessible.

“It takes all the fun away and it takes the ability to shoot a good score away. People come in to watch us make birdies and unfortunately that’s just not happening.

“The greens are rock hard. They are designed to be hit by much shorter clubs than we were having to hit. I’m very pleased with my score. I could have let it get away from me and I didn’t.”

McGinley added: “It’s a hell of a tough golf course now. I think they have overdone the new tee boxes – it’s become a monster golf course.

“I think the scoring is a reflection of how tough the course is. When the greens got crusty this afternoon with the length of shots we are required to hit into small quadrants, it doesn’t match up.”

Left-hander Richard Green had been all smiles at lunchtime after he finished with three birdies in his last five holes.

The 37-year-old is still waiting for his first win since a brilliant closing 64 gave him fourth place in last year’s Open, but in his first tournament since missing the cut at The Masters he looked razor-sharp.

He and former Volvo Masters champion Singh ended the day two ahead of Welshman Bradley Dredge, France’s Michael Lorenzo-Vera, German Marcel Siem and Swede Johan Edfors.

Dredge lost a play-off last year to Padraig Harrington – himself round in 72 in the morning – and said: “I thought the course was pretty spot on.

“I don’t think there’s a hole out there which you can say is too long or too difficult. The wind hasn’t been up all day.”

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