Caldwell lands 10th hole-in-one on way to Vilamoura weekend

Bernie McGuire

Jonathan Caldwell (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Jonathan Caldwell produced a stunning ace at the par-3 sixth hole as he advanced to the weekend rounds with plenty in hand at the Portugal Masters.

There were no keys to a new car, no cash windfall and no champagne shower other than a gift pack of local wine when the Clandeboye man lit up the Friday field with his front nine hole-in-one.

Caldwell had bogeyed the third and fourth holes but then birdied the fifth when he stood on the tee at the near 200-metre par-3 sixth hole.

Caldwell’s caddy, Henry Tomlinson’s instructions were seemingly clear: “Aim at the camera tower. Middle of the green.”

The 36-year old Belfast golfer, a proud member at Clandeboye, didn’t listen to his caddy.

“So, I push-held the 4-iron and it’s just pitched perfect. We were watching it and starting to get excited and it disappeared,” said Caldwell.

“If my caddy had his way, I would have gone for the middle of the green and two-putted for a ‘3’”, he said smiling.

It was Caldwell’s 10th hole-in-one in his career but a first in now 29 events on the main European Tour; one he knows would have had the members jumping at Clandeboye golf club to the east of Belfast.

“That’s my 10th hole-in-one but it’s been a long time and I think my last one was maybe about seven or eight years ago,” he added.

“I know the members at Clandeboye will be going crazy but there are still restrictions going on and I hope they are all social distancing but I am sure they will be enjoying a few beers. I will send them one later on me, maybe!”

Two late bogeys took the gloss off his Friday progress before Caldwell reached the clubhouse with a one-over par round of 72, good enough for a five-under halfway total but trailing Julien Guerrier’s lead by nine.

And Caldwell was not the only ace on day two as Frenchman Mathieu Fenasse holed out at the eighth before rounds of 77 and 71 saw him miss the cut.

As for the other Irish in the field, Gavin Moynihan finished one shot outside the cut mark after two rounds of 71 left him agonisingly short at even par.

Cormac Sharvin could only manage a five-over par round of 76 to finish well down the field at plus-four.

Meanwhile, Caldwell arrived on the sun-splashed Algarve lying 127th on the Race to Dubai, performing best of the small handful of Irish to be back competing on the European Tour since the lifting of the lockdown.

“It’s like every other tournament as I am just trying to do my best every day and on every shot and see what happens,” he said when asked his thoughts on securing a full Tour card for 2021.

“I have enjoyed spending time with the guys in the bubble while the Tour has down a great job in setting up the events for us, so I have been thoroughly enjoying it.”

And with the Dubai Duty Irish Open now a matter of weeks away, Caldwell is very much looking forward to playing closer to home.

“Yes, it’s a huge event and also a home event. It’s just unfortunate I have not played the course for a number of years. It’s also unfortunate we cannot have the crowds that we would normally get, as they really do come out to support us well.

“Saying that, I’m looking forward to it. It’s local for me, so it will be nice to be home for the week.”

At the top, Frenchman Guerrier holds a commanding five shot lead at the halfway stage in Portugal after adding a second round 66 to Thursday’s spotless round of 62.

Guerrier played some tremendous iron shots and putted well to make seven birdies and just two bogeys in blustery morning conditions at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, setting a testing clubhouse target of 14-under par.

The afternoon starters could not get anywhere near Guerrier’s total, handing him the largest 36 hole lead of the 2020 Race to Dubai so far.

American Sihwan Kim is Guerrier’s closest challenger on nine-under par after he reeled off five birdies in his last six holes to post a 66.

First round leader Liam Johnston of Scotland saw a different side to the Vilamoura course on Friday, carding a three over par round of 74 after his opening 61 to sit in a nine-way tie for third place alongside Guerrier’s countrymen Antoine Rozner and Adrien Saddier, English pair Matthew Jordan and Marcus Armitage, Scott Vincent of  Zimbabwe, South African Wilco Nienaber, Adrian Meronk of Poland and Dane Martin Simonsen.

Full scoring HERE

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