Moran lying 2nd and Maguire 5th at St Andrews Links Trophy

Ronan MacNamara

Alex Maguire (Photo by Matthew Lewis/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Robert Moran is just one shot off the lead at the halfway stage of the St Andrews Links Trophy after a three-under 69 while East of Ireland champion Alex Maguire remains in the hunt for back-to-back wins.

Moran held the lead on ten-under-par after a lightning start but coughed up bogeys on 13 and 16 on the Old Course at St Andrews and he lies in a share of second on eight-under with England’s Charlie Crockett leading the way on nine-under after a blistering 65.

The Castle golfer had a hot start with three birdies in his first five holes before birdies on 9 and 10 took him into the solo lead as he continued his great form at this championship having finished third last year.


The 23-year-old travelled as part of the provisional Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup panel and a win would go a long way to securing his place on Stuart Wilson’s side at the Old Course in September.

Meanwhile, Laytown&Bettystown’s Alex Maguire’s bid to force his way into the side continues to gather pace as he made a big move with a superb 66 to reach seven-under-par.

“I’ve played alright over the last two days, little bit scrappy yesterday but had a nice run of holes on 10,11 and 12 held long putts and chipped in for eagle which got me under par. Finished poorly yesterday but felt like anything under par in that wind was a pretty good score and then I played pretty well today.”

The Florida student has a fantastic links pedigree, winning twice around Baltray, the North of Ireland in Portrush as well as a strong performance at last month’s Irish Amateur Open and of course making the semi-finals at the Amateur Championship.

“I’m very happy with how I’m playing going into tomorrow. Links is what I’ve grown up on, I’ve tended to play my best around links if you look at my results, they are on links even though you could say my game is more suited to parkland. I just feel very comfortable because there are so many different type of shots you can play. It gives more margin for error and with the greens being firm you can run the ball in and not have to be precise.

“Looking forward to tomorrow and another chance to have a decent finish in a massive tournament.”

Maguire who successfully defended his East of Ireland title in Baltray on Monday had five birdies on the spin but it was a sensational par on the Road Hole 17 that stole the show after he had to putt it from the road to try and save his par.

“I made a really good birdie on 4, birdied the par five then hit it close to a foot on the sixth. On seven I held a 10-footer for birdie on 7 then on 8 I hit a four iron to 15-feet and held a really nice putt so it was a really good string of holes to put myself into contention and then I scrambled very well.

“I didn’t hit it great but scrambled very well in the wind. Hit it right on 17 down the road and had a massive stroke of luck, couldn’t take relief so I putted it, kicked off the bank and it fell off the bank to three-feet and I made four there to keep my momentum, then hit it to eight feet on the last to make birdie.”

Caolan Rafferty is next best of the Irish on -5 after successive rounds of 69 while Kilkenny’s Mark Power is three-under after a 71.

Sean Keeling, Thomas Higgins and Colm Campbell all made the cut on the mark at two-under.

Scoring HERE

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