Moran right where he wants to be after battling 74 at The Island

Ronan MacNamara

Robert Moran (Photo by David Cannon/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Castle’s Robert Moran feels he is right in the mix after two rounds of the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship and believes if he can get more putts to drop over the weekend he can hang around the top of the leaderboard.

Moran has been on the wrong side of the draw after playing yesterday afternoon in the tougher of the conditions where only three of the top-11 were under-par and he was the first group out this morning when the winds were arguably at their strongest as the Island Golf Club continued to show its teeth.

The Dubliner chiseled out a two-over 74 for a halfway total of level-par to set the clubhouse lead and he is just three behind overnight leader Matthew Wilson who is yet to begin his second round.

Moran teed off on two-under after an opening 70 but fell back to level after three-putting the first two greens.

He was able to get back to -2 with birdies on the third and sixth and he remained on that mark after birdies on 10 and 15 were cancelled out by bogeys on 9 and 12.

The Irish international was visibly frustrated walking off the 18th green after carding two bogeys in his last three holes but overall he was happy with his performance over the first two days.

“Unless someone goes mad this afternoon I will be there or thereabouts going into the weekend,” he said. “I have played lovely the last few days seems like I am on the wrong side of the draw with a couple of shots here or there.

“I played lovely today I had four three-putts but it was hard putting on the greens but still not very good, but for the most part I played well.

“I just three-putted the first two. I’d say 8 o’clock was when the wind was at its strongest and you are just struggling to hold on to the putter so that happens sometimes.

“Whenever I missed greens my short game rescued me I made a few birdies on some of the easier holes.”

Despite feeling like he has been placed on the wrong side of the draw, Moran has carded nine birdies so far and believes that patience can be rewarded by putting the ball on the fairway on the holes that are playing with the gale behind them.

“There are downwind holes if you get it in play off the tee you are going to be quite close to the green but you need to be careful if you are fifty or sixty yards away in the rough it’s a guessing game and difficult to get control.

“I don’t think you can chase around here because you will throw in a double bogey, the key is to just plot your way around and hopefully a few more putts go in over the weekend.”

Moran has been in good form of late with a strong run at the Lytham Trophy on his way to a fourth place finish and he is delighted this week’s format isn’t 36-holes a day after a mentally draining couple of rounds in North Dublin.

“Yeah it is mentally draining, but thankfully it’s 18 holes a day and not 36 tomorrow so it’s not too bad. The 18 a day is a lovely format we don’t get it too often, it’s usually 36, 36 or 18, 36. It’s nice to be able to stay at home and not in a hotel I can do what I want this afternoon. It’s nice to sleep in my own bed.”

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