Gribben plays Carne as he sees it to take early lead at Irish PGA Championship

Ronan MacNamara

Ryan Gribben (Naas) Photo by Ian Cronin

Playing Carne Golf Links with a wealth of experience is never easy at the best of times but Naas professional Ryan Gribben found it to his liking as he hit the front at the 113th Irish PGA Championship despite not having played here before.

Gribben carded a one-under 71 which at the time of writing is the only score in red figures on the opening day in Belmullet and he leads by two shots from experienced trio David Higgins, Richard O’Donovan and Simon Thornton.

“I’m very happy, especially not having played the course beforehand so I definitely would have taken it before I teed off and would have taken it through nine when I was three-under so yeah, very happy,” said Gribben who walked the golf course on Wednesday.


Gribben started quickly with three birdies in his first four holes and as the weather worsened in the afternoon he clung onto his score for dear life. He dropped a shot on the fifth but carded a fourth birdie on the par-3 7th to turn in 34 on three-under-par.

“I needed to get off to a good start I remember talking to Cian Geraghty about it he was three or four-under through five last year and he shot in the 60s so build a score in the first few holes and hang on tight.”

Gribben was still -3 with two holes to play but dropped shots on the beastly seventeenth and the par-5 18th but he was satisfied with his efforts, playing the last third of his round in some nasty rain.

“I did walk the golf course yesterday evening, but undulations and stuff are like nothing in the country. Wild Atlantic Dunes is an apt name! Couple of bogeys to finish but I didn’t mind. Seventeen is a par four playing like a par five and eighteen I made a decent six in the end so I’m actually happy enough with that.”

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