Coulter firmly in contention at European Nations Championship

Ronan MacNamara

Beth Coulter (Photo by Jan Kruger/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Beth Coulter remains firmly in contention at the halfway stage of the European Nations Championship at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande.

Meanwhile, in the men’s section, Robert Moran was left to rue a back nine stumble which has left him thirteen shots off the pace in Spain.

Kirkistown golfer Coulter battled hard to grind out a two-over 74 to leave her on five-over just two shots adrift of the lead and the teenager is in solo sixth while a trio of Darcey Harry, Denisa Vodickova and Helen Briem share the lead on three-over-par.

Coulter hasn’t got to grips with the front nine as of yet, playing it in 39 and 40 but has played the back nine in two-under across both rounds including two birdies and sixteen pars.

After an early birdie on the second, things began to unravel for the Irish international after a double-bogey six on the fifth was followed by a brace of bogeys before the turn.

While she is the life and soul of any dressing room she is also a fierce battler on the course and those qualities came to fruition again on Thursday as she came home in 35 with a solitary birdie on the par-4 16th.

Kate Lanigan enjoyed a better day on the course in her second round as she fired a much-improved five-over 77 to lie on seventeen-over.

The Hermitage golfer registered her first birdie of the week on her opening hole before adding a second gain on the par-5 14th in a round that included two sixes.

Aideen Walsh is languishing in a share of 26th place on plus-21 after a nine-over 81.

Scoring has proven to be very tough thus far with nobody under-par in the women’s section and only two players in the men’s division.

First-round leader Jaime Fernandez Montojo fired a second straight 69 to roar five shots clear on six-under. Danish player Hamish Brown (73) and Spaniard Luis Masaveu (68) remain the only other players in red figures on one-under.

Moran is in a share of 11th on seven-over and will need something special and some help from above if he is to have a chance over the weekend.

The Castle golfer got off to an erratic start with three bogeys and a birdie in his opening four holes before adding a second birdie of the day on the 6th.

Turning in one-over 37 was no disaster in the difficult conditions but a hat trick of bogeys in the early portion of his back nine sent him tumbling out of contention.

The Dubliner couldn’t arrest his run down the stretch and added insult to injury with a double-bogey five on the 17thto come home in 41 for a six-over 78.

Moran is still the leading Irishman while Hugh Foley and Liam Nolan are both locked together in 31st place on eleven-over after a pair of 78s. Peter O’Keeffe is three shots further back on fourteen-over after back-to-back 79s.

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