Alan Dunbar bounced back from a poor opening round to equal the course record at Carton House’s Montgomerie layout and leap into contention at the European Amateur Championship.
The British Amateur champion from Rathmore rallied from a first-round 76 to shoot an eight-under-par 64, to match yesterday’s score by Daniel Jennevret of Sweden, who had equalled Damien Mooney’s course record set last August.
Jennevret still leads after 36 holes of this prestigious 72-hole strokeplay event, sponsored by Chartis Europe, following a two-under 70 yesterday.
The Swede leads by two strokes at 10 under from Thomas Sorenson of Denmark (67) and Goncalo Pinto of Portugal (68) with Welshman Jason Shufflebotham (69) and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters (71) a further shot back on seven under.
Waterford Castle’s Florida-based Kevin Phelan, 21, is the leading Irishman in a tie for eighth on five under following a second-round 66 for the Brabazon Trophy runner-up, but it was Dunbar’s 64 that turned heads yesterday as he moved from four over to four under.
It could have been even better for the Ulsterman, who won the Amateur Championship at Troon in June. Dunbar had a six-foot eagle putt at the par-five 18th for a 63 but pushed it past the hole.
Maybe that was the reason he sounded downbeat about his efforts on a day when hole locations were much tougher than in the opening round.
“I didn’t feel as though I played outstanding today but then again I didn’t feel as though I played bad the day before,” Dunbar said. “It’s just breaks, I suppose, and momentum.”
Dunbar, 22, got just the start to his round he needed, holing a 20-foot putt for birdie, then getting up and down at the second and third holes before another birdie came at the fourth on a day free of bogeys.
“It was just constantly building momentum and I kept scrambling. I think I missed one putt all day, at the last, but I was happy enough with birdie.”
Dunbar’s goal at the start of the day had been to get to level par with a cut for the top 60 and ties falling after 54 holes. The Portrush man overachieved in that respect but West Waterford’s Gary Hurley has some work to do today to ensure he makes it to Saturday’s final round. Hurley, 19, followed his opening 68 with a 77 to fall to one over par in a tie for 55th alongside, amongst others, Belvoir Park’s Harry Diamond (72) and Greystones’ Paul Dunne (72). Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan is one under after a 69 while Nick Grant (72) and Geoff Lenehan (74) are both on level par.
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