Kearney sole Irish survivor at ISPS Handa Championship

Adam McKendry

Niall Kearney (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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Niall Kearney will fly the Irish flag solo over the weekend at the ISPS HANDA Championship in Tarragona, Spain after both Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin missed the cut.

Royal Dublin’s Kearney shot a one-over 71 in his second round at Infinitum’s Lakes Course to make the cut on the number at one-under-par, but Caldwell and Sharvin both finished three shots off the mark at two-over-par.

Although he made it into the weekend, it would take something special for Kearney to challenge for the title in Spain as he is ten shots off the lead of Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, who holds a two-shot advantage over Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen.

It took a late birdie at the par-three seventh – his 16th hole – for Kearney to avoid the weekend off as he sat level-par following two birdies, two bogeys and a double in his first 15 holes, but he did just enough to survive.

It wasn’t to be for Caldwell or Sharvin though, the former undone by three bogeys in four holes on his front nine as a second consecutive 71 saw him finish at two-over, while Sharvin gave himself a chance to make the cut with three birdies and an eagle around four bogeys, but a late bogey at the eighth ended his hopes as he finished on the same score.

At the top, Jamieson’s superb seven-under 63 moved him to the summit and into a commanding position, two shots clear at 11-under-par after six birdies, an eagle and a bogey in his second round.

Jamieson has now led more rounds than any other player on the DP World Tour this season and he hopes he can deal with the stress of seeing it out over the weekend as he goes for his second win.

“It was another great day. Yesterday, after five weeks off, I was a little unsure what I was going to get, but it was a solid day and today was even better. It was pretty similar, but maybe holed one or two more putts and managed to chip in on 15 and hole a putt from off the green on 18,” said the Scot.

“Obviously this year I seem to be coming out of the gates very well. I’ve had some good starts so far. It’s easy to play the gold course in the first two rounds because you are not necessarily playing against other people at that point.

“It gets tougher as the tournament goes on, so hopefully I can do a good job of just continuing to play the golf course. It’s certainly a different mindset but I’d rather have shot a couple of shots less so far than anyone else.

“This year has been good to me so far and just trying to continue the same swing thoughts and ingrain a couple of more things. Really just spending some time off with the family was fun then hitting the reset button.”

Finland’s Pulkkanen signed for a three-under 67 to hold solo second at nine-under-par, with Spain’s Adrian Otaegui a shot further back after a second round 66. Five players, led by Rasmus Hojgaard, share fourth at seven-under-par.

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