McElroy sounding up for the challenge at Portmarnock Links

John Craven

Dermot McElroy (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

John Craven

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Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy put in another rock-solid showing on Friday, firing himself firmly into the title picture heading into the weekend at the Irish Challenge at Portmarnock Links.

The 27-year old, who has had next to no competitive action coming into the week, managed to return a three-under par 68 in miserable conditions this morning to move to a four-under total, just two shots back of Gary King’s early clubhouse lead.

“It was a bit of a grind to be honest, it was hard to play good golf out there,” said McElroy, who played better than most. “I was happy with the way I was holing out, I was holing out really well, and if I missed the green I was basically putting it or chipping it really close so in general my short-game was really good.”


It was a wet start for competitors in Dublin on Friday and although the wind was blowing quite as hard as day one, there was still enough of a breeze present to keep the likes of McElroy on his toes.

“A lot of the holes are into the wind,” McElroy added. “Especially into, off the left which I would struggle with, personally. I get a wee bit quick and hit it left but most of the back nine is into the wind and some of the front nine too so it’s playing pretty tricky.

“I’ve checked the weather and it’s meant to be a bit calmer tomorrow which is good so I’ll maybe have to adjust what I’m doing but I’m quite happy with the way I’m playing in general.”

After heading the Irish charge on day one, St. Anne’s Cameron Raymond was left to lament three back-nine bogeys, though he was safely into the weekend at even par.

“I played OK for the front and then came home in an ambulance,” Raymond laughed, still nicely placed inside the top-10 at the time of writing.

“I just couldn’t find the fairway on the back nine. I didn’t really have any expectations coming into the week. I only found out I got in on Friday so I was just rocking up and playing and trying to enjoy myself but the weather being bad suited me a bit. Knowing this place in these conditions gave me a bit of an advantage so it’s nice to be up there.”

Also looking assured of weekend progression even at this early stage in round two were Simon Thornton and Paul McBride at three-over. Tulfarris pro Thornton put his experience to use with an even par 71 this morning to make his way up the leaderboard with McBride, no stranger to links golf as a member of The Island, signing for a 72.

“I played well for both rounds,” said McBride. “Finished with two bogeys there which is a bit annoying because I didn’t really hit bad shots coming in. But I’m happy enough. Hopefully it gets me into the weekend.”

The projected cut-mark at the time of writing is three-over par with Gavin Moynihan currently one stroke outside that at plus-four, though much could change as the evening unfolds.

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