McCormack shows youngsters how it’s done as he leads in Portumna

Ronan MacNamara
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McCormack shows youngsters how it’s done as he leads in Portumna

Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) on the 4th tee during Matchplay Round 1 of the West of Ireland Men's Open Championship 2022, Co. Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, Ireland. 18/04/2022 Picture: Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Galway’s Eddie McCormack rolled back the years on the opening day of the Connacht Strokeplay Championship in Portumna as he soared to the summit after 36 holes.

The 2018 winner who famously lost out to Rory McIlroy in the 2005 Irish Close final shot rounds of 71 and 72 to lead by one and he is the only man under-par on one-under.

McCormack leads local favourite James McLaughlin after the Portumna man came in with rounds of 71 and 73 to lie in second on level-par.

Three birdies in a row before the turn this morning helped McCormack to an opening one-under 71 while a birdie two at the last ensured he remained there after an afternoon 72.

The Galwegian was three-under early in his second round after a brace of birdies on the second and third before a run of bogey, birdie, bogey saw him turn in 35.

Dropped shots on ten and twelve saw him fall out of the solo lead but he regained it with a birdie on the fourteenth before finishing in style on 18.

There is plenty of Connacht pride at the top of the leaderboard with Roscommon’s Thomas O’Connor in a share of third on one-over alongside Darcy Hogg of Belvoir after an afternoon 71.

Roganstown’s Josh McCabe is the leading Leinsterman on one-over after rounds of 74 and 71.

Malone’s Fionn Dobbin is in solo sixth on two-over after shooting 72 and 74 while Athenry’s David Kitt is in a share of 7th with Edmondstown’s Lorcan O’Connor.

Simon Walker, youngster Jack Murphy and Nenagh’s Scott O’Brien round off the top-10 on four-over.

O’Brien was joint leader at one point this afternoon before a chastening finish of bogey, bogey, double, bogey, par saw him slump to a 77 after a morning 71.

Robert Brazill is on five-over while Roscommon’s Allan Hill is a shot further back after successive 75s.

The cut fell at ten-over with the top-39 progressing to the final 36 holes tomorrow.

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