Gavin Moynihan reckons he has to putt more aggressively but leader Robert Coles is simply hoping that the luck of the Irish will hold out for the second time in six years in the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa and Golf Resort.
The 43-year-old English veteran can consider himself the defending champion as he won the last edition of the event held at Moyvalley way back in 2009.
And after opening with eight birdies in a superb 65 for a two-shot lead over Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick, Welshman Stuart Manley, British Amateur champion Romain Langasque of France and American Daniel Im, Coles is starting to believe that his Cork-born mother might something to do with his good form in Ireland.
“I am quite proud of my Irish roots,” said Coles, who turned in four under 32 and then birdied three of his last five holes at the Carlow resort.
“My mum lives in west Cork and all of my in-laws are Irish. I’m married to a girl called Sinéad too so there’s a strong connection there. I am proud of that.”
Kilpatrick, 33, has been a professional for seven years and still believes he has the game to compete after making an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys in his 67.
Rory McNamara, Simon Thornton, Alan Dunbar, Michael McGeady and Moynihan signed for three under 69s worth a share of 16th and Chris Selfridge and Ruaidhri McGee posted 70s, but Walker Cup players Jack Hume, Cormac Sharvin and Gary Hurley all had mixed days.
Moynihan said: “I am just missing a few putts and need to get a bit more aggressive on the greens. I have always had that problem.
“If I hole a few putts I’m shooting seven under but at the moment if I don’t it’s two under. But I am hitting the ball well and I was very chilled out there, so I have no real complaints.”
As Jimmy Mullen posted a four under 68, amateurs Hume and Sharvin signed for rounds fo 72 and 75 respectively while Waterford’s Gary Hurley crashed to a seven over 79 in his second tour event as a professional.
Running on empty after coming following the Walker Cup with the First Stage of Q-School followed by his professional debut in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links, the Maynooth University man was one under after seven holes but walked off looking shell-shocked after dropping eight shots in his next seven holes.
Meanwhile, Jerry Scullion fired a best of the week eight under par round of 64 to win the HBE PGA Ulster Championship title at Hilton Templepatrick yesterday.
The Kikeel pro, level par overnight, shot out of the pack to grab the biggest win of his career on the PGA in Ireland circuit. Mark Staunton (Delgany GC) and Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) finished tied for second on seven under par.
Overnight leader, David Higgins (Waterville), carded a second round 71 to finish in a tie for fourth alongside Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) and Eamonn Brady (Clontarf GC) who wrapped up the Order of Merit title for 2015.
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