Conor Purcell bounced back from a double bogey on the par-5 16th to eagle the par-5 18th on his way to making the cut on the number on his Horizon Irish Open debut.
Purcell, a previous winner at the K Club in an IrishGolfer sponsored event, had a mountain to climb after an opening 74 but three birdies in his first four holes brought weekend golf into his sights and it proved a rollercoaster to get there.
Having laid up at the par-5 16th, the Portmarnock man flared a wedge shot out to the right and into a watery grave, leading to a seemingly fatal double bogey. But he bounced back with an eagle on 18 after launching a 7-iron to four-feet.
“Yeah I’ve hit the same shot with that wedge to right pins all year and I’ve done it again, hit it in the water. And then I ripped it down 18, had a nice number and hit seven iron to four foot and rolled it in,” said a relieved Purcell who sits alongside Padraig Harrington and Tom McKibbin.
“Yeah, it kind of helps the double came fairly early in the round and you still have plenty chances coming in. That tee shot on 17 wasn’t the nicest after making double but apart from that, I can’t complain.”
Still one shot off the mark at one-under, Purcell was facing into the more difficult front nine but a birdie on the par-5 4th brought him onto the cut number. There is such a thing as a good bogey and after flying the green on 5, he showed courage to hole a ten-footer for a crucial five before clinching the all important birdie on 7.
It proved a comfortable finish for the 26-year-old who finished with two two-putt pars as the sun began to set.
“You are coming out dead out of the rough all weekend and I got a burnt patch and it went about 40 yards over the green. I holed a nice 14 oofter for bogey. On seven I hit my tree wood straight right and though it was in the water, hit the trees and dropped straight down in the trees and had a perfect gap and hit seven iron to nine foot and then rolled it in which was nice. I was just trying to cling on the last two.
“Yeah, it’s nice, especially having the first day that I did just to come back and shoot a nice one to get in for the weekend is nice. I actually like this golf course. I just hit my irons pretty badly yesterday. So I improved on that today and gave myself plenty of chances and hopefully more of the same.”