McElroy best of the Irish as four make the weekend at Copenhagen Challenge

Mark McGowan

Dermot McElroy (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Dermot McElroy’s one-under second round sees the Ballymena man into a tie for 17th after 36 holes at the Copenhagen Challenge presented by Enjer Hessler and will be joined by Paul Dunne, Niall Kearney and Stuart Grehan in Saturday’s third round.

Scoring proved difficult for the second day in succession at the windy Royal Golf Club in Denmark’s capital, and McElroy, after starting his round with a bogey-five, traded another at four with a birdie at three, before reeling off 11 consecutive pars before finishing in stye with birdies at 16 and 18 to reach the clubhouse at -1.

Dunne, who began the day as leading Irishman at -2, carded three bogeys in his opening eight holes before responding in style with an eagle-three at 18 – his ninth – to make the turn at -1 for the tournament. Three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the front side had him looking anxiously towards the cutline, but a birdie at the par-4 ninth saw him safely through at +1.


Grehan, making just his second Challenge Tour start of the year, appeared to be on his way home after five bogeys and two birdies left him on +4 through 12. Five pars in a row left him with the task of having to birdie the last and hope that the cutline moved to from +2 to +3. He duly obliged, and the cutline played ball as the afternoon wave struggled with the testing conditions.

Niall Kearney would also have an anxious wait to see if he’d tee it up on Saturday after following up his opening 75 with a level-par 72 where he’d trade three birdies with three bogeys to finish level with Grehan on +3.

Jonathan Caldwell and Conor Purcell would have no such luck, though both will take heart from vastly improved performance in round two and Caldwell will now turn his attentions to next week’s D+D Real Czech Challenge with Purcell opting to take the week off.

Local man Alexander George Frances leads the way at the midpoint, the Dane matching four-under 68s in rounds one and two to post eight-under, one stroke clear of chasing trio of American Julien Suri, Finland’s Matias Honkala and Casey Jarvis of South Africa.

There’s then a two-stroke gap to Italian Matteo Manassero on -5. The one-time wonderkid turned back the clock to shoot an incredible eight-under 64 in round two which was the round of the day by three strokes. Manassero carded six birdies and an eagle to thrust himself into the mix, and there’s a further two-stroke gap between he and the sixth-placed quintet on -3.


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