McDonnell still the man to catch at Baltray

Irish Golfer

Jack McDonnell (Royal Dublin) remains on top of the leaderboard in County Louth. Photo: Thos Caffrey / Golffile.

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Ireland international Jack McDonnell maintained his lead at the top of the standings after the second round of the Kingspan East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.

The Royal Dublin golfer was cruising after a blistering 34 on his opening nine and although he slipped up between 10 and 12 he recaptured his composure and sunk two crucial birdies on 16 and 18.

He lies on -7 after his 71 on Sunday and that is enough to hold a narrow one-shot lead over Blainroe youngster David Lally. The 20-year-old Seton Hall student carded four birdies and was unlucky to succumb to a difficult lie on 17 that cost him bogey.

Elsewhere, Simon Walker (Roscommon) kept himself in contention with a hole-in-one on 15, the third hole-in-one of the week at Baltray. While County Louth local Evan Farrell is even closer to McDonnell after a 69 which leaves him poised on -5.

“Started off nicely and then just golf caught up with me,” said McDonnell.

“Just thought golf was easy through nine holes and then hitting bad shots went bogey, double, bogey back to +1 total for the day. The head was nearly gone but stayed on to finish -7 total.”

There is plenty of class towards the upper end of the leaderboard with Max Kennedy (Royal Dublin) also T3 on -5 following a 71 in Round 2.

Brian Doran (Millicent) was the best of the morning starters and his 69 means he is just three shots off the lead with 36 holes remaining tomorrow.

Last year’s runner-up Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) is also on -4 while the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open champion, Matt McClean (Malone), is just one shot further in arrears.

But McDonnell remains the man to catch at the top with Lally looking like a worthy challenger on -6.

“I hadn’t really been looking at the leaderboard, so my dad just told me that I’m second so I would have definitely taken that on the practice round, I’m happy enough so far,” said Lally.

“I just got a really bad break (on 17). Didn’t quite roll into the bunker, had a really tricky lie and just lipped out for the putt. But did a good job of getting up and down pretty much all day. Three-putt on four and bad break on 17 but apart from that pretty happy.

“I played pretty well my last couple of tournaments in America but scores hadn’t quite reflected that. I was confident enough and I’d be playing with my mates and stuff back in Blainroe and playing pretty well.

“I never want to put expectations on myself but I definitely was confident in my game coming in to this week.”

View the live scoring here

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