Kitt leads by one in Portumna

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David Kitt (Athenry) Picture: Thos Caffrey / Golffile

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The Portumna parkland put up a stiff test on Saturday, but David Kitt (Athenry) rose above the rest to see the Galway-based golfer take the overnight lead in the Murray Timber Group Connacht Men’s Stroke Play Championship.

On a day when strong winds and fast greens played havoc with most cards it was the former Arnold Palmer Cup player who found himself top of the leaderboard after the opening day, one of only two players in the 75-strong field moving on to Day Two under-par.

The Castletroy Scratch Cup winner battled hard throughout the morning to card four birdies and four bogeys on his way to a level par 72 for Round One, and found his groove during his second eighteen of the day, notching three birdies to finish with a second round two-under-par 70, one shot clear of the chasing pack.

“It was good yeah, I played better this afternoon. Bit of a slow start this morning so once I got over them first few holes, I played solid enough for the rest of the day, so I was happy enough” said Kitt.

“It’s nice to be leading but nice to be playing well to be honest, wherever that leads me”

David Howard (Fota Island) was the only other competitor to play his way into the red going into Day Two, carding rounds of 70 and 73 to sit just one stroke behind, but it is very much anyone’s tournament as Paul Coughlan (Castleknock), Jake Whelan (Grange), Adam Smith (Mullingar), Gerard Dunne (Co.Louth) and Jason Rackard (Bunclody) are among those nipping at Kitts heels, with the quintet just two shots back on level par.

Rackard produced solid back-to-back rounds of 72 and while the Bunclody golfer found the morning conditions tough, the Wexford native and former Kilkenny Scratch Cup winner knows what he must do on Sunday to keep himself in contention for the title.

“It was a little bit tricky obviously with the wind blowing down and across the course. Played a bit scrappy this morning but got things going this afternoon just kind of trying to be as solid as I could and managed to get it to two-under but a poor kind of finish, bad bogey on the 8th and a sloppy enough bogey on 9,” reflected Rackard.

“I’m right bang there on level par, the lads don’t seem to be getting away too far so I’ll have to pick up a couple of shots early tomorrow”

With the cut line set at +8, the top 33 plus ties make their way into the final two rounds on Sunday with 36 holes of play remaining to decide this year’s champion.

View the live scoring here


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