The 17-year old schoolboy from the County Sligo club, a former U16 Boys international, topped the qualifiers in Wednesday’s 18 hole Qualifier with a career best 69 but then went five shots better yesterday to shave a stroke off Paul Cutler’s three-year old course record. Playing in perfect conditions after early morning fog had delayed his debut by two and a half hours, the one-handicapper hit the opening tee shot and quickly set about tearing the course apart.
By the time he got to the16th tee he was nine under par and while he bogeyed that hole and the tough 17th, he was still delighted to lead by two strokes from Naas’ Jack Hume and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan, two members of the senior international panel, who both shot 66. Clubmate Steffan O’Hara and Ardee’s Eugene Smith are four behind after firing 68s in the 36-hole race to make the top 64 qualifiers for the matchplay stages.
“I’m happy out,” Brady said on a day when most the championship favourites fared well. “I’ll just concentrate on having another good score tomorrow. I know I am one of the best in the field, so I will try to go for it.”
A wedge to two feet set up his opening birdie at the second and while he chipped in for another at the fourth, the majority of his birdies were the result of classy ball-striking and a silky putting touch.
He didn’t birdie the par-five third or fifth holes and was forced to get up and down for par with a pitch and a putt at the sixth before rattling off seven birdies in his next nine holes to get to nine under.
After draining an 18 footer at the seventh, he hit a seven iron to 12 feet at the ninth to turn in 32 and then birdied the 11th from two feet, tapped in for another at the par-five 12th, hit an eight iron to four feet at the par-three 13th and rolled in a 10 footer at the 14th before holing from 12 yards from just short of the 15th green for birdie number nine. He missed a seven footer for par after pulling his tee shot at the par-three 16th and then happily two-putted the terrifying 17th for bogey after a pushed drive left him little chance of making the green.