Mentally refreshed Hurley back in the groove with 68 in Mauritius

Ronan MacNamara
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Gary Hurley (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Gary Hurley admitted getting back to basics with his mental approach paid dividends as he made a significant move on day two of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Hurley moved up 39 places from the cut line to a share of 16th place after a 68 left him at four-under and six adrift of leaders Sami Valimaki (72), Alfredo Garcia Heredia (66) and Antoine Rozner (64), and after getting uncharacteristically frustrated on the course on Thursday, he remained calm in round two.

“I was a lot better today with myself,” acknowledged the 29-year-old. “It’s late in the year, it’s been a long year for me and a lot of the work I do mentally is draining and yesterday I was just getting upset about stupid things, things I haven’t really been getting upset about throughout the year and was getting in my own way.

“I still played quite decent but today was much better. I was much better with myself, I had a better theme for the day of how I wanted to be and I hit some really nice golf shots as well so it was good.

“I had a good sleep last night but woke up tired actually from such a long sleep. Once I got to the range I felt good and felt good with myself. Just staying in it really until the end, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Hurley played the course from back to front and roared to the turn in 31 courtesy of three birdies in four holes to close out his front nine after early birdies at 10 and 12.

The first nine holes at Mont Choisy Le Golf has proved devilishly difficult over the first two rounds and the 2015 Walker Cup player played it in a respectable one-over and he was pleased with how he coped with the blustery conditions:

“It’s really windy, really windy! Three to four club wind at times out there but I played really nicely. There are some shots that are tough, the eighth hole is a tough par-3, I actually hit a great shot in there today and three putted! It does give you some chances as well, some of the par fives are gettable. You just got to play smart and be solid around the greens and on the greens if you have control over the ball, you’ll be there or thereabouts.”

It’s a big weekend for Hurley who can roar into contention heading into Sunday with a low moving day round on Saturday, but two solid rounds will ensure a career-high finish on the DP World Tour after back-to-back top-35 finishes to kick off his rookie campaign.

Meanwhile, Tom McKibbin is one shot further back on three-under after a round of 71.

John Murphy will head home for Christmas off the back of four missed cuts in as many starts to his rookie season.

The Kinsale native was two-under after an opening 70 and a one-over front nine saw him turn at -1 and a shot inside the cut mark. However, the 24-year-old endured one of those days we all hate to see and dropped twelve shots in six holes to fall back to ten-over for an 84.

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