Kearney best of the Irish at weather delayed ISPS Handa in Spain

Adam McKendry
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Kearney best of the Irish at weather delayed ISPS Handa in Spain

Niall Kearney (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Niall Kearney is the best-placed of the Irish after the weather-affected opening round of the ISPS HANDA Championship, although he is still five shots off the early lead in Tarragona, Spain.

The Royal Dublin man, who started on the 10th, mixed three birdies with two bogeys on his front-nine before rattling off six straight pars on a consistent back-nine before poor light – due to an early morning delay because of heavy rain and thunderstorms – halted play with him having only finished 15 holes of his first round.

He has plenty of work to do to catch up on the leaders Tapio Pulkkanen and Johannes Veerman who lit up Infinitum’s Lakes Course in the soft afternoon conditions to share the clubhouse lead at the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain, on six under par.

“I had a pretty slow start, bogey-bogey, and I thought maybe this isn’t so good a day, but I made two more birdies coming in to make the turn and then I just lit it up on the back nine – putting really hot and hitting it really good,” said Veerman.

“This golf course, you have a couple of tough holes out here but you have a lot of wedges, so if you can put it in play off the tee – because the rough is so long – you can really get it close because you have short clubs in your hands. We’ll see how we go tomorrow but I’m going to go back, get to bed early and go again,” he added.

The duo are joined at the top by South African Hennie du Plessis and India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia who are also six-under but still had two holes left when play was halted for the day.

As it stands, Kearney is on the cut line but will be encouraged by his solid display, however Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin will need big second rounds to stick around for the weekend after both finished over-par and outside the projected line as it stands.

After two birdies and a bogey, a late double-bogey saw Clandeboye’s Caldwell card a one-over 71 which has him in a share of 87th, while Sharvin boosted his chances with birdies at the 15th and 18th to sign for a two-over 72 to sit tied-113th.

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