Purcell hits the front in Kells as Irish Open dream looms

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Conor Purcell built on his five birdie finish last evening with a solid four-under 67 in round two of the Irish Challenge to give himself the clubhouse lead on nine-under-par.

Purcell started his second round on the tenth hole and a birdie made it six in a row in the tournament. Birdies on 12 and 13 made it three birdies in four holes to start the day as he roared into the lead. The 26-year-old dropped a shot at the par-3 17th but back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth lifted him into double digits and a three-shot lead. A bogey on the par-3 7th was followed by two solid two-putt pars.

“Very pleased with that, I had a nice start, got off to a quick start. I played solid, some of the holes are quite tricky with the way the wind is going and yeah, played decent golf for the most part,” said Purcell who was looking forward to a cinema date to see the new Barbie movie.


“It was funny, after my quick start I was thinking of how many birdies I made in a short space of time but you do kind of forget about it and each day is different so take each shot as it comes.”

The Portmarnock man didn’t have it all his own way in Headfort Golf Club but some excellent scrambling maintained his place at the summit. A herculean up and down from left of the par-5 6th set up a birdie and while he struggled with his ball striking coming in, he was pleased with his mental game.

“I’ve hit a few wayward shots over the last two days but I don’t get too bogged down about the bad shots and try to come back with a good one after it. Don’t follow a mistake with a mistake and I’ve done that well so far.”

Purcell leads the way at the time of writing by two shots but crucially he is the leading Irishman by seven shots with a place in this year’s Horizon Irish Open on offer for the leading Irishman.

“It’s on my mind but it’s so far away, halfway through a golf tournament, there is a long way to go, hopefully I can keep doing what I’m doing and see where it leaves me,” said Purcell who was fifth in the Irish Challenge last year. “It would be huge to play in an Irish Open, growing up as an Irish amateur you see everyone playing in an Irish Open it’s always a lifelong dream to tee it up there.”

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