There’s a new name in lights at the Island Golf Club after TJ Ford shot an amateur course record seven-under 65 on moving day at the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship.
Conditions were perfect after a two-hour fog delay and Ford was a man on a mission as he carded six birdies and an eagle after he had bogeyed the second.
The amateur course record had been equalled twice this week. First by English starlet Harley Smith in round one and then by Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan on Friday.
England’s Jackson Garnett had set a new amateur record of 66 for a matter of minutes before Ford unknowingly stole his thunder.
The Co. Sligo man birdied four of his last five holes including the 18th to rise over 60 places to level-par and into the top-20 to right the wrongs of Friday’s 79 which all but ended his hopes.
“I’m delighted, I played really well out there,” smiled Ford. “The goal coming in was to try and make a few birdies and make the cut and some putts just started dropping and it was about building as much of a buffer as I could coming down those last few holes because they are really tough.
“Golf is a crazy game it’s amazing the difference a day can make, I came off the course yesterday completely dejected I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Then you go out and shoot a course record it doesn’t make sense but it’s great.”
The former South of Ireland champion recovered from his early bogey with a birdie on the fourth and an eagle on the short par-4 7th which swung the momentum back in his favour. From there he powered on with birdies on 10, 14, 15, 16 and 18 while he made a vital up and down for par on 17.
“On 7 hit a driver to like 15-feet it must have got a good hop and I had missed a few short putts up to that point but it was nice to see that one go in which gave me some momentum and I kept it going.
“I was literally in my head thinking how many birdies can I make before the 17th tee because those last two holes are horrible. I held a 30-footer on 15, birdied 16, great up and down on 17, got the drive away on 18 and rolled in a 20-footer for birdie so I didn’t know what there course record was it wasn’t in my head but I’m delighted.
“Conditions were gorgeous it’s as good a scoring day as you will get on a links course, it was beautiful and the greens are rolling really well.”
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