Pat Murray justified his ranking as pre-tournament favourite by claiming a three shot lead after the first 36 holes of the Munster Mid-Amateur Championship over his home course at Limerick Golf Club last night.
44 year-old Murray, already a three times winner of the event as well as a former Irish Close and South of Ireland champion, shot rounds of 70 and 69 for a five under par total of 139 and is followed by Cork native Mark Collins, now the course superintendent at Killeen Castle near Dublin, on 142. Waterford’s Alan Thomas, David McCarthy of Bandon and Carlow’s Pat Bevins are next best on one under.
Murray performed solidly throughout, adding only the second sub-70 round of the day to an earlier 70 earlier in the day, shooting six birdies that he offset with three dropped shots.
Collins, who has graduated to the top of the greenkeeping profession having begun his career at Mahon, is another former winner of the title and is sure to extend a serious challenge to the home favourite in the shotgun start for the final 18 holes beginning at 9. 30 this morning.
One handicapper McCarthy was the essence of consistency in shooting rounds of 72 and 71, the highlight of his day an eagle three at the 12th in the afternoon when he also finished with a birdie at the difficult 18th.
Another of the lesser known names, Pat Bevins, came with the only other sub-70 score.
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