Aussies prosper in Irish Open

The €63,000 car won by Spaniard Jose Manual Carriles did not stop it from being Australia Day in the Nissan Irish Open at County Louth today.

The €63,000 car won by Spaniard Jose Manual Carriles did not stop it from being Australia Day in the Nissan Irish Open at County Louth today.

Carriles’s ace on the 167-yard 15th came after compatriot Santiago Luna had holed-in-one at the 173-yard fifth.

But, while they both came in with 71s and only Carriles got the keys to a Nissan Murano, Peter Lonard and Nick O’Hern topped the leaderboard following superb eight under par opening rounds of 64 and Brett Rumford would have been only one behind but for a closing bogey.

Lonard’s was the most remarkable effort of the three Aussies. On Tuesday he was at Moorfields eye hospital in London for laser treatment and he did not know until a check-up 24 hours later that he would be able to play.

Cleared to do so, the 37-year-old flew to Dublin, walked nine holes of the course – one he had never played before – and then went out and collected an eagle and seven birdies just like O’Hern.

In 1993, Lonard contracted the Ross River Fever virus through a mosquito bite and was told he had been left with the binocularity of a 60-year-old.

He had three years out of the game, then had the initial laser treatment in 1997 and went back this week because he felt his right eye had deteriorated.

“I phoned them on Monday on the off-chance they could see me as I thought something was not quite right,” he said.

“They stuck me in on Tuesday, fiddled around and I had to go back Wednesday morning for some follow-up stuff.

“It’s fantastic. I caught up with my caddie and said I thought he had better have a look at the course. That’s the routine for the rest of my life now!”

O’Hern was boosted by the news on the eve of the tournament that he has been invited to next month’s US PGA championship – welcome indeed after the harsh treatment he feels he received from the Royal and Ancient Club over the Open.

The left-hander pulled out of the Melbourne qualifier in January because of a knee injury, but was told he could not switch to a later competition.

“I was pretty annoyed. I had all the medical evidence and they wouldn’t see reason. I think Royal Troon would have suited me down to the ground.”

O’Hern is 176th out of 184 in the European Tour’s driving distance league table, but 13th on the Order of Merit with over €752,000 and now has his sights on a top prize of €316,000 which could take him fourth.

Rumford’s late slip dropped him into a tie for third spot with Scot Stephen Gallacher and England’s Simon Wakefield, the latter suddenly finding form after four successive missed cuts had dropped him to 154th on the money list.

Pre-tournament favourites Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington have a lot of work to do to get into the hunt for a title last won by a home player – John O’Leary – in 1982. Both shot 70, Harrington thanks to a closing eagle.

Luke Donald is one further back but Ian Poulter, 10th in the points race, suffered a real setback in his bid for a debut by slumping to a 75. That, though, was still two better than last year’s Open champion Ben Curtis.

64 Peter Lonard (Aus), Nick O'Hern (Aus)

66 Brett Rumford (Aus), Stephen Gallacher, Simon Wakefield

67 Mark Roe, Robert-Jan Derksen (Ned), Peter Lawrie, Sandy Lyle, Steve Webster, Frddrik Andersson (Swe)

68 James Kingston (Rsa), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Christian Cevaer (Fra)

69 Stephen Dodd, Soren Hansen (Den), Diego Borrego (Spa), Gary Emerson, Roger Chapman, Henrik Stenson (Swe), Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), Jean-Francois Lucquin (Fra)

70 Gary Orr, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa), Paul Eales, Peter Fowler (Aus), Richard Sterne (Rsa), Cesar Monasterio (Arg), Darren Clarke, Michael Campbell (Nzl), Peter Baker, Rob Rashell (USA), Niclas Fasth (Swe), Julien Clement (Swi), Anthony Wall, Miguel Angel Martin (Spa), Christopher Hanell (Swe), David Carter, Nick Flanagan (Aus), Raymond Russell

71 John Bickerton, Martin Lesmurier, David Park, Bradley Dredge, Andrew Coltart, Mattias Nilsson (Swe), Nobuhito Sato (Jpn), Santiago Luna (Spa), Luke Donald, Jose Manuel Carriles (Spa), Stuart Little, Martin Erlandsson (Swe), Miles Tunnicliff, Darrn Fichardt (Rsa), Nick Dougherty, Klas Eriksson (Swe), Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Andrew Oldcorn, Carlos Rodiles (Spa), Martin Maritz (Rsa), Damien McGrane, Gary Murphy, Martin Wiegele (Aut)

72 Philip Golding, Mark Foster, Hennie Otto (Rsa), Iain Pyman, Fernando Roca (Spa), Steven O’Hara, Simon Dyson, Andrew Marshall, Jorge Berendt (Arg), Ivo Giner (Spa), John Dwyer, Tom Whitehouse, Robert Rock, Jean-Francois Remesy (Fra)

73 Stephen Scahill (Nzl), Philip Walton, Craig Spence (Aus), Jamie Spence, Mattias Eliasson (Swe), (x) James Heath, Chris Gane, Simon Khan, David Howell, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Graeme McDowell, Kenneth Ferrie, Johan Edfors (Swe), Paul Broadhurst, Alastair Forsyth

74 Francois Delamontagne (Fra), David Lynn, Matthew Blackey, Daniel Gaunt (Aus), Sebastian Fernandez (Arg), Jamie Elson, Daniel Sugrue, Michael Jonzon (Swe), Pierre Fulke (Swe), Steven Jeppesen (Swe)

75 Matthew Cort, Gregory Havret (Fra), Anders Hansen (Den), Richard McEvoy, Ian Poulter, Greg Owen, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), (x) Craig Smith, Darren Leng

76 Rolf Muntz (Ned), John Murray, Dean Robertson, Jesus Maria Arruti (Spa), Euan Little, Malcolm Mackenzie, Leslie Walker, Ian Woosnam

77 James Hepworth, Colm Moriarty, Patrik Sjoland (Swe), Jeppe Huldahl (Den), Jarrod Moseley (Aus)

78 Emanuele Canonica (Ita), Jarmo Sandelin (Swe), David Dixon

79 Robert Coles

Retired: Tobias Dier (Ger)

Withdrew: Ben Banks, Marc Pendaries (Fra)

More in this section

CourtsGolfNissan Irish OpenPlace: County LouthPlace: MoorfieldsPlace: LondonPlace: DublinPlace: MelbournePlace: Royal TroonPlace: AUSPlace: SpaPlace: USAPlace: SwePlace: SWIPerson: Jose Manual CarrilesPerson: CarrilesPerson: Santiago LunaPerson: Peter LonardPerson: Nick O’HernPerson: Brett RumfordPerson: LonardPerson: O’HernPerson: ScotPerson: Stephen GallacherPerson: Simon WakefieldPerson: Darren ClarkePerson: Padraig HarringtonPerson: John O’LearyPerson: HarringtonPerson: Luke DonaldPerson: Ian PoulterPerson: Ben CurtisPerson: Nick O'HernPerson: Mark RoePerson: Robert-Jan DerksenPerson: Peter LawriePerson: Sandy LylePerson: Steve WebsterPerson: Frddrik AnderssonPerson: James KingstonPerson: Louis OosthuizenPerson: Robert KarlssonPerson: Christian CevaerPerson: Stephen DoddPerson: Soren HansenPerson: Diego BorregoPerson: Gary EmersonPerson: Roger ChapmanPerson: Henrik StensonPerson: Raphael JacquelinPerson: Jean-Francois LucquinPerson: Gary OrrPerson: Jose Manuel LaraPerson: Paul EalesPerson: Peter FowlerPerson: Richard SternePerson: Cesar MonasterioPerson: Michael CampbellPerson: Peter BakerPerson: Rob RashellPerson: Niclas FasthPerson: Julien ClementPerson: Anthony WallPerson: Miguel Angel MartinPerson: Christopher HanellPerson: David CarterPerson: Nick FlanaganPerson: Raymond RussellPerson: John BickertonPerson: Martin LesmurierPerson: David ParkPerson: Bradley DredgePerson: Andrew ColtartPerson: Mattias NilssonPerson: Nobuhito SatoPerson: Jose Manuel CarrilesPerson: Stuart LittlePerson: Martin ErlandssonPerson: Miles TunnicliffPerson: Darrn FichardtPerson: Nick DoughertyPerson: Klas ErikssonPerson: Mikko IlonenPerson: Andrew OldcornPerson: Carlos RodilesPerson: Martin MaritzPerson: Damien McGranePerson: Gary MurphyPerson: Martin WiegelePerson: Philip GoldingPerson: Mark FosterPerson: Hennie OttoPerson: Iain PymanEvent: Irish OpenEvent: Australia DayEvent: Nissan Irish OpenEvent: US PGA championshipEvent: European TourOrganisation: NissanOrganisation: Royal and Ancient ClubOrganisation: RSA

Ireland's Top 10 Hidden Gems

Ten of the best golf courses in Ireland that too few people know about.

Read Here

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox