Irish Open Diary: Eddie Pepperell turning deaf ear as partying gets into swing

Irish Open Diary: Eddie Pepperell turning deaf ear as partying gets into swing

Eddie Pepperell may have earned himself a late tee time in today’s third round at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open after he followed his opening 65 with a 67 yesterday, but the Englishman is not banking on a good night’s sleep in Lahinch.

“I’ve actually been woken up the last couple of nights at 3am by the locals,” Pepperell, 28, revealed. “So I’m going to go buy myself some earplugs and try and get some more sleep.”

Pepperell, who gave the impression he was jealous of rather than annoyed by the partying in the seaside town added: “Noisy, they’re noisy around here. I get the feeling they like to drink a lot.”

Perhaps it is not just the locals. Compatriot Lee Westwood, 46, made his move up the leaderboard with a second-round 67 to get to seven-under-par, a shot behind Pepperell and two back on Zander Lombard and spoke about his love of playing and being in Ireland.

This is Westwood’s 17th Irish Open and there were also almost annual trips to the K Club to play the Smurfit European Open in the 1990s and Noughties, which he won in ‘99 and 2000.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Ireland. The Irish people have taken to me, and I’ve been coming here a long time. You make friends over all those years, and it’s just a lovely place to come and play, some fantastic golf courses in Ireland. Not just the links golf courses but some great inland ones, as well, that we’ve played over the years, Mount Juliet and Druids Glen and The K Club, not to mention all the fantastic ones we play by the sea. I always enjoy coming to Ireland, and I get a good reception here. The Guinness is tremendous, too. I might have mentioned that.”

Ancer chilling out

From a veteran of 29 competitive trips to Ireland to Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, a newcomer eager to find out more.

The world number 59, on his first trip to these shores, advanced up the leaderboard at Lahinch with a second-round 67 that moved him to seven-under.

The Texas-born golfer has taken to Ireland in a big way, saying: “I love it. I’ve been to some parts of Europe before but never Ireland, and it’s been phenomenal. The views out here, the golf course, everything, has been absolutely phenomenal, and the people have been great.

“I heard (next week’s) Scottish Open, the golf course is not very similar to Portrush, so I’m just going to take that one off and get to see Ireland a little more. I’m going to go to Dublin and just hang out there, check it out, so it’s going to be fun. Trying to get a good week out here and then just be with great momentum for The Open.”

Shinty an inspiration

Thursday brought us the story of Co. Down’s Cormac Sharvin and his use of Tipperary player Bubbles O’Dwyer’s hurley to prepare for this week’s Irish Open. Yesterday followed on with the backstory of Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre who attributes his success at golf to his formative years playing shinty.

”Yeah, I still love shinty,” he said yesterday after following up an opening 66 with a 69 to leave himself on five-under approaching the weekend. “It’s always been through the blood, through the family with my dad and my papa. Everyone has played shinty so it is in the blood.”

MacIntyre played for his local club Oban Camanachd from the ages of 13 to 17 though his affair with golf was also kindled by his father Dougie who worked at Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban and the family home overlooks the 12th tee.

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