Dutchman flying despite real fear of strong winds

HOLLAND’S Robin Kind came back from an early double bogey to snatch the first round lead thanks to a late eagle two in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin yesterday.

The 19-year old former Dutch underage soccer international was the only man in the field to break par as he defied winds gusting over 30mph to fire a one-under 71 for a one-stroke lead over Greenore’s Ian Brennan and Welsh Walker Cup hope Rhys Pugh.

Kind grew up on a links designed by Royal Dublin creator Harry Colt but he didn’t feel quite at home, confessing: “My home course has got a lot more dunes than beach and it’s not as windy as here. I don’t like to play in a lot of wind but it went well today.”

Two-over par with five holes to play, Kind made a tap-in birdie at the par-five 14th and then watched an 87-yard lob wedge trickle into the hole for a sensational eagle two at the 16th before getting up and down for par at the last two holes.

The Dutchman’s biggest claim to fame is that he lost to two-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero of Italy in the 2007 European Young Masters.

But if he is to join the likes of major winners Pádraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen as an Irish Amateur Open winner, he will have to see off several young guns.

Champion Alan Dunbar, who turned 21 last weekend, is two strokes off the pace alongside 18-year old

Greystones schoolboy Paul Dunne, South of Ireland champion John Greene of Carlow and Knock’s Colin Fairweather after 73s.

West of Ireland champion Paul Cutler was happy with his 75 while Ballymena’s

Dermot McElroy, 17, had five three-putts for a 79 as a south-east wind made the back nine a real test.

But the promising Ulster man got a boost afterwards when he was handed his air ticket to jet off to practice with the Walker Cup squad at Royal Aberdeen next week.

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