Play back underway in testing conditions at Rosses Point

Mark McGowan

A view from the right hand side of the fourth green. By Kevin Markham

Mark McGowan

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Play is back underway at County Sligo Golf Club at the Connolly’s Audi West of Ireland Championship after a 90-minute play suspension due to high winds.

“Winds were gusting at over 60 kilometres per hour,” said Golf Ireland Regional Manager Enda Lonergan, “and balls were being blown off the second green. We’ve a weather station out there on the course and it’s back to about 30 kph now and Michael [Evans, Chief Referee) has gone up there and placed balls in several different locations on the green and none of them are moving.”

“We have 42 less players today – 14 three-balls fewer – and the last group finished at around 19:40 yesterday evening so we shouldn’t have an issue getting everybody in, even allowing for slower rounds as players put on and take off raingear.”

Local favourite TJ Ford was one of those on the course when play was halted and is in agreement with the tournament committee. “Ah, it was the right decision,” he said, “the balls were moving on the second so you couldn’t really play on.”

Strong winds had been consistent across the opening two rounds, but with heavy rain now added to the mix, what’s already been a war of attrition is going to have the dial turned up even further.

“Ah, I’m delighted to be here,” said Ford with a grin, “just a typical Easter Sunday in Sligo.”

The field had been trimmed from 132 to 90 after the opening two rounds, but will be cut further still to 16 after the third and final strokeplay round and they’ll play off in match play format to decide the 2023 West of Ireland Champion.

The leading scorer at the end of the third round will be awarded the Pat Ruddy Perpetual Trophy as the lead scorer at the end of strokeplay.

Letterkenny’s Cian Harkin leads the field after 36 holes, one stroke ahead of chasing quartet comprised of reigning Irish Amateur champion Quentin Carew, Rory Williamson from Holywood, Galgorm Castle’s Jordan Hood and young Englishman James Claridge, with Jack McDonnell, Arron Edwards-Hill and 2017 champion Barry Anderson among those poised to mount a challenge.

You can follow the live scoring by clicking here.

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