Sugrue chasing top-20 finish after frustrating moving day 73

James Sugrue (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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James Sugrue felt he could’ve easily been four shots better after his putter turned ice cold in a frustrating three-over par round of 73 on moving day at the Irish Open.

Despite hitting the ball pure for much of his round, the Mallow amateur was bemused that he only carded one birdie at the par-4 second. Sugrue also carded four bogeys but remains just inside the top-30 on his Irish Open debut where he’ll hope to turn up the temperature gauge on his flat-stick to make an ascent on the leaderboard on Sunday.

“I feel like I can compete out here so I’m going to go out, no pressure, enjoy it and hopefully make some birdies,” Sugrue reflected after a frustrating day at Galgorm Castle.

“I felt like I could’ve easily been at least four or five shots better in the afternoon if I just holed a few putts. I scrambled well for the first 6 or 7 holes. We got put on the clock on the seventh which I thought was … we didn’t even know we were being timed on the sixth… but I hit a good shot into 7 to about six feet, rushed it, went about five foot by, made par.

“Rushed the next couple of holes, missed another one on nine but it definitely could’ve been a few shots better today.”

Sugrue’s frustration was lifted for a brief moment at the side of fourteen at the sight of a farmer surrounded by his herd of red Angus, mug of tea in hand, and a view to kill.

“He had a nice oul herd of cattle to be fair to him,” Sugrue laughed. “It’s gas, you wouldn’t see it anywhere else, would ya? Him sitting there in his lawn chair in the middle of them – brilliant!”

And although he maybe wasn’t feeling 100% after a day of what might’ve been, Sugrue could still be heartened by perhaps the most important realisation of all after three rounds in pro company at Galgorm Castle – he’s starting to feel like this is where he belongs:

“The lads that I played with are brilliant players but I think on my day I can compete with them just as well.”

Also in the clubhouse home and hosed were Jonathan Caldwell and Colm Moriarty after a long slog on Saturday around the Ballymena venue.

“26 holes is tough for a 36-year-old, I’ll tell you that,” smiled Caldwell, who carded a moving day 73 to sit at a four-over par total. “Me and Henry will go and have a pint of Guinness with dinner, go to bed early and be fresh tomorrow.

“I’ll maybe do an extra 15, 20 minutes on the range beforehand if I need to. Everything’s fine on the range, it’s just getting it onto the course. The fairways are tough enough to hit as it is, there’s just a lot of crosswinds.

“You don’t need to hit bad shots to miss fairways, and if you miss by two feet it’s worse than missing by ten feet because guys are trampling down further into the rough, the closer rough is seriously thick. So I’m missing by small margins which is killing me.”

Colm Moriarty was also content after posting the same number in round three –  a three-over par round of 73. Starting from the tenth tee, the Glasson professional was one-under par after nine holes but dropped four shots on his homeward half to record a seven-over par 54-hole tally, currently just outside the top-50.

“It was tricky,” Moriarty admitted. “I played nicely – I didn’t do a whole lot wrong but you don’t have to do a whole lot wrong to drop shots – the pins are difficult, the crosswinds, a foot off the fairway and you’re in the rough – it’s tricky!”

A runner-up this year at the Irish PGA Championship, Moriarty is now hoping to make the most of a free roll of the dice on Sunday.

“You’re trying your best obviously everyday,” he added. “After getting it to one-under through nine, it would’ve been nice to push on but look, the margins are so small, pins are so tight, but it’s the same for everybody so we’ll just do our best tomorrow.”

Kilkenny amateur Mark Power signed for a 73 that leaves him at eight-over par for the tournament, a shot better off than Damien McGrane who added a 75 on Saturday for a nine-over total.

Full scoring HERE

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