Moving day was an overall positive affair for the Irish contenders at the Alfred Dunhill links as Padraig Harrington was the only one to fall victim to the 54-hole cut.
Image by Fran Caffrey – Golffile.ie
The temperamental Tyrrell Hatton has stretched five clear on 18-under par after a second successive 65, but the ticking time bomb is often susceptible to a blowout and there’ll be a queue of people hoping to take advantage should he explode.
Top of that list from an Irish point of view is Paul Dunne who is quickly establishing himself as a leading light on tour of late. However, today didn’t quite live up to the fireworks of recent times as Dunne failed to take advantage of the gettable Kingsbarns’ track in posting a rather subdued two under par 70.
Currently at 11 under and seven shy of the lead, it will take a mammoth effort tomorrow to reel Hatton in, but he’s making a habit of Sunday 61s so let’s not rule the Greystone’s Goliath out just yet.
One man who took full advantage of the Kingsbarns’ draw was Shane Lowry who seems back to his jovial self at long last. His rediscovered calm was reflected in his scoring as Lowry stole a march on the field after a scintillating 66 shot him into a tie for 18th, currently at seven under par.
Seven birdies and just the one dropped shot was the kind of golf Shane was hoping for months ago, but if he can carry this form into next year, it won’t be long before his ranking plummets and he returns into the top-50 fold.
Rory McIlroy was typically unpredictable in his play but what he lacks in steadiness, he more than makes up for in excitement. Eight birdies carded amongst a nasty double bogey five, and two more dropped shots, saw Ireland’s favourite son sneak into the last day of the tournament on the cut mark at four under par.
McIlroy was looking to end his winless streak at the last time of trying in 2017, and a round of 52 tomorrow might just realise that ambition.
The big story from an Irish perspective, without question, was the wonderful performance by The Island’s own, Gavin Moynihan, in making the Sunday cut. In good company alongside McIlroy at four under par, Gavin was faced with the toughest assignment of all the Irish contenders on Saturday – a trip to the hallowed turf at Carnoustie.
A breeding ground for golfing calamities, Moynihan stared certain disaster in the face and came out the other side having birdied his final hole to make the cut on the miraculous mark.
It’s just the sort of mettle needed to succeed in the pro game and Gavin has been making waves in the Challenge Tour this year in preparation for such opportunities. He’ll be hoping to take full advantage of the ground work laid over the first three days to collect a tidy cheque on Sunday.