Tramore golfer Jack Hearn believes he is falling in love with golf again as he continued his brilliant form of late to lead into the final day of the AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close.
He was out in the worst of the morning conditions with the remnants of Storm Betty still lingering in Malone and battled hard to a brilliant 67 and -3 overall.
Hearn, who reached the semi-finals in the South of Ireland and was runner-up in the Mullingar Scratch Cup, will have a one-shot lead going into Sunday’s action with 36 holes left to play.
Reigning champion, Quentin Carew (Castleknock), is just one shot in arrears and poised for another strong finish while Conor Murtagh (The Island) birdied 16 and 17 to join him.
Rob Moran (Castle) is on -1 with Adam Cromwell (Co Armagh), Simon Ward (Belvoir Park) and Keith Egan (Carton House) all on Level par.
“Hit it solid from start to finish and I got off well, I was -2 through five holes and then I managed to hold onto that, I just made one bogey on 16 and then played the rest in -2, so pretty solid today,” said Hearn.
“I’m just a bit more relaxed on the golf course. Just trying to enjoy it a bit more and start to love the game of golf a bit again. Halfway through this one, so another 36 holes to look forward to.
“Just keep doing the same things, at least I’m giving myself a chance for tomorrow.”
Hearn had four birdies on his card on Saturday with just one bogey on the 16th. Later in the afternoon, Carew, Moran and Liam Nolan (Galway) were the main group trending in the right direction.
Brabazon champion, Nolan, finished off on +2 and he is still in contention with a long way to go and the weather set to worsen tomorrow afternoon.
13 players are at +2 or better and Bridgestone Order of Merit leader David Shiel could have joined them, only to bogey the last after a tough break on the 18th when his tee shot landed behind a tree.
But he knows that with two rounds of action to come there is still plenty to play for, in a season that just gets better and better for the Enniscrone man.
“I’ve been really consistent, I guess a little bit disappointed to not get closer to a win,” said Shiel.
“I’m chuffed, delighted overall. The goal this year was to get on that Connacht team and to be able to do that and then play Home Internationals last week was just phenomenal.
“It was a phenomenal honour, it was a great privilege and really disappointed to lose out by half a point there.
“But overall, I have made all eight cuts. Very happy with the consistency which is something I maybe lacked a bit. My driving has come on a lot which probably really helps.
“Delighted to be in there in the mix more often and to be up there consistently.”