McGinley keeping watch as Europe storm ahead

Paul McGinley declared he would be taking a backseat role but there was no hiding the enthusiasm of the European Ryder Cup captain on the opening day of the Seve Trophy near Versailles.

McGinley keeping watch as Europe storm ahead

McGinley has his own ‘Paul McGinley’ named golf buggy and the Irishman was all about the St. Nom-la-Breteche course on a day when Jose Maria Olazabal’s European side scored a first round fourball 3½ to 1½ points victory over Sam Torrance’s GB & I side.

After the all-Scotland duo of Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher won the opening match 3&2 against Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez it was then all blue with the European’s winning 3½ out of the next four.

Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano handed out the biggest defeat of 5&3 to the Scottish pair of Scott Jamieson and Marc Warren.

McGinley hosted both teams to dinner at the Trianon Palace in Versailles on the eve of the event and showed them also the Olazabal motivation video the Medinah captain had played to the European team.

“We showed the video and then I addressed the team for about 15 minutes and then we had a birthday cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ as it was Miguel’s girlfriend’s birthday,” said McGinley.

“We then watched the Man City and Bayern Munich game and tonight it’s the turn of the caddies.”

Niall Turner was a frustrated man last night as he was unable to complete his third round in the European Qualifying School’s first stage at Hardelot in France.

The Muskerry man was six under par after two rounds in joint second position but third round play was suspended because of the light with just the one group remaining on the course and they will have to return this morning to complete their third round and then play the fourth and final round.

Turner was heading for another highly respectable round and is certain to be in the mix come this afternoon.

But Limerick’s Tim Rice will have to pull out all the stops today if he is to go forward as his 54-hole total of 214-one over par-left him in joint 31st place some way outside the top 24 who will continue in their quest for a tour card.

At Frilford Heath, Ballybunion’s John-Daniel Guiney survived the three-round cut – and that was courtesy of an excellent five under par 67.

He is on 212 — four under par — in joint 12th position albeit 11 strokes adrift of leader England’s Laurie Canter. This gives him an excellent chance of making progress to the second stage in November.

Headfort’s Brian Casey and Mike Kelly of Kildare missed the cut on 221 as did Galway’s Shane Franklin on 227 while Thomas Conran of Portadown was last on 238.

Niall Kearney retained the HBE Risk Management PGA Ulster Championship title, at The Hilton Templepatrick, without hitting a shot in the second round.

His opening 65 stands as the total for the tournament as play became impossible yesterday.

Torrential overnight rain left the Co Antrim course unplayable and the organisers had no option but to declare the championship results on the first round.

On Wednesday, Kearney set a course record seven-under-par 65 in the first round. The Royal Dublin attaché also won the championship pro-am on Tuesday, carding a 68. A few weeks ago, Kearney got over the first qualifying hurdle at the European Tour Qualifying School, in Germany.

Ireland retained their senior women’s Home International title at Llandudno in Wales yesterday despite sharing the spoils with England on the final day.

They captured two of the three foursomes and looked as though they would complete the Triple Crown when they led in three of the singles and were level in another one past the halfway mark.

But a late rally by England saw them snatch a 4-4 draw meaning the Irish had to rely on a greater number of individual points won to keep their title.

Carol Wickham got Ireland off to the perfect singles start, trouncing Christine Quinn by 7&5 and then Laura Webb made certain of the silverware when she defeated Caroline Berry by 5&4.

However, they missed out on the Triple Crown as Gertie McMullen, Sheena McElroy and Pat Doran all went down to defeat.

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