Seamus Power, Shane Lowry, and Pádraig Harrington all made solid starts at the Wyndham Championship yesterday in their quest to secure their PGA Tour cards for next season.
Both Lowry and Power shot three-under-par rounds of 67 in Greensboro to lie in a tie for 27th, but fully six shots behind earlier leader Matt Every, who shot 61.
Power entered the week in 123rd place, just inside the cut line for retaining his card. And the West Waterford golfer got off to a flying start, birding his first three holes. Dropped shots on the 9th and 10th knocked him back but he recovered to birdie the 15th and 18.
Lowry lies in 147th place entering the week, and faces an uphill task to get into the top 125. He was level par for his opening nine holes yesterday after starting on the 10th, but birdied three holes on the second nine to also shoot 67.
But Graeme McDowell’s struggles continue on a day of low scoring as he shot a one-over 71.
Padraig Harrington was one of the later starters at Greensboro yesterday, but made a solid start to lie at two-under-par after his opening nine holes. He then added three further birdies on the second nine, broken only by a bogey on the fifth, to end with a four-under-par 66.
Meanwhile, Mikko Ilonen claimed a record-breaking 8 and 7 victory over Frenchman Matthieu Pavon to ease into the second round of the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach.
History had already been made in the morning session as Italy’s Edoardo Molinari beat Robert Karlsson of Sweden on the 24th hole in the longest match in the tournament’s history, and the books were opened once again in the afternoon.
The Finn’s crushing triumph was the biggest win ever in the event and set up a second-round clash against local favourite Marcel Siem.
Ireland’s Paul Dunne was also very impressive in his opening round win.
The Bray golfer defeated Austrialia Nathan Holman 6&5, recording six birdies on route to the second round, where he now plays Jens Fahrbring, who won his all-Sweden clash against Johan Edfors 2&1.
“I love the format,” said Ireland’ Dunne after beating Holman. “It’s competition in its purest form.”
Defending champion Anthony Wall recorded his seventh straight victory in the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play to reach the second round in Germany.
Wall won six matches to claim his second European Tour title at Archerfield Links 12 months ago, 16 years and 204 days after this first in South Africa.
And despite a change of venue to Bad Griesbach Golf Resort for the 64-man knockout event, Wall carried on where he left off with a hard-fought victory over fellow Englishman Sam Walker, a last-minute replacement for the injured Kristoffer Broberg.
Wall, who holed from 20 feet for a winning birdie on the 18th, said: “We played well. He wasn’t so good off the tee and then made birdies at nine and 10 by holing long putts and then it was game on.
Tournament host Paul Lawrie needed 20 holes to edge past former Ryder Cup partner Peter Hanson, with Edoardo Molinari beating Robert Karlsson on the 24th hole after losing the 18th to a double bogey.
Top seed Matthew Southgate beat France’s Romain Wattel 3&2 despite breaking his driver 15 minutes before teeing off, the 28-year-old borrowing one from compatriot Chris Paisley, who had earlier beaten Scott Jamieson the 22nd hole.
“Chris is a lot shorter than me so I was really squatting into my eyes every time I hit it, but did enough to win the match,” Southgate, who finished sixth in the Open at Royal Birkdale, told Sky Sports.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get it replaced but if worst comes to worst I’ve got a very powerful three wood in the bag and I’ll have to just really smash some three woods around. It works for (Henrik) Stenson!”
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