There was carnage on the opening day of the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham and St Annes as gusty conditions played havoc with scoring.
Par might have been 70 but the SSS of 76 was increased to a CSS of a remarkable 79. Despite the quality of the field only three players bettered 74 and only two bettered 73.. Matthew Clark had a commendable 70 despite a seven at the eleventh. Someone forgot to tell Jack Singh-Brar how difficult the course was, so he went round on 68, with birdies at the fourth and sixth for an outward 32 against an average for the field of 41 and a placid back nine with seven pars, one bogey and one birdie. Downwind the eighteenth hole was, for a change, the easiest hole on the course and even gave one player a two.
Eugene Smith of Laytown & Bettystown was the leading Irish contender after carding an opening 74.
“It’s the hardest Lytham I’ve played,” Smith said, who took advantage of an early tee time and a slightly more receptive links. “The rough is bad for May and we had a two or three club wind that gusted.”
With 2017 being a Walker Cup year, the Lytham Trophy provided the first opportunity for the squad to strut its stuff before the selectors, but the under the conditions the opportunity was missed by a wide margin. Of the members of the squad on show, David Boote, Owen Edwards and Bob McIntyre had 76’s, David Brown a 78, Colm Campbell, Craig Howie, Bradley Moore and Conor O’Rourke had 79’s and the rest floundered, with 80’s from Scott Gregory, Conor Syme, and last year’s winner Alfie Plant and 82’s from Alex Gleeson, Craig Ross and James Walker while Robin Dawson carded an opening 83. Marco Penge had a bad day at the office, out in 54 with an eight at the third, seventh and eighth to turn in a miserable 54 shots and a round of 94. Los Angeles seems an unlikely call.
Irish Scores after Round 1
74 Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown)
76 Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk Golf Club)
77 Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle Golf Club), Thomas Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown)
78 Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene Golf Club)
79 Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint Golf Club), Colin Fairweather (Knock Golf Club), Kevin LeBlanc (The Island Golf Club), Jack Pierse (Portmarnock Golf Club), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore Golf Club), Conor O’Rourke (Naas Golf Club)
81 Jake Whelan (Newlands Golf Club), Eanna Griffin (Waterford), Jonathan Yates (Naas Golf Club),
82 John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead Golf Club), Alex Gleeson (Castle Golf Club)
83 Robin Dawson (Tramore Golf Club)