Masters man McClean disappointed with finish as he opens with 73

Ronan MacNamara
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Malone's Matthew McClean all smiles at Augusta (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Matthew McClean was disappointed to let a few shots slip away late in his round as he opened his Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship with a one-over-par 73.

McClean looked to be in cruise control around the Island as he made his first Irish championship appearance of the year at two-under through eleven holes after birdies on 15 and 3, but three dropped shots in his last five holes put a sour taste in his mouth.

Bogeys on 5, 8 and 9 dropped the Malone native into a share of 39th place and six shots behind early leader Harley Smith of England.

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“I played pretty well for fourteen holes then had a poor finish just didn’t play the last few holes well at all which is disappointing but overall one-over isn’t too bad it was pretty tough,” explained McClean.

“It’s hard to come second so just need to play a bit better to come first this week. I played good enough for most of the round but without the poor finish it would have been a pretty good score out there. If I can play similar enough tomorrow and just finish it off I should be in a decent position.”

McClean has enjoyed a strong 2023 so far with top-10 finishes in South Africa and the United States before he made his Masters debut at Augusta National. His first taste of links action came at the Lytham Trophy last week and he feels he is starting to adjust back to links golf.

“The course is perfect, it was pretty windy out there this morning, we got a bit of a rain shower as well which didn’t help. I’ve played a lot of non links golf and my game feels like it’s coming back into shape, trying to get back into links golf for the year so probably hit a few parkland shots out there which didn’t help. Overall I’m very well suited to links.

“Augusta required a completely different swing and game to what the Island does but you have to adapt from week to week throughout the year. It was a brilliant week and a pretty big high but I’ve a lot of golf to play over the next four weeks and need to put that in the rearview mirror as much as possible.”

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