Round two report
Phillip Price leads the Irish Legends presented by the McGinley Foundation by three strokes but will have to hold off the final day challenge of a host of proven winners at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort.
The 2002 Ryder Cup player added a seven under par round of 64 to his opening 65 to reach 13 under par after two rounds, three shots clear of two-time Legends Tour winner Paul Streeter in second place on ten under par.
Price, who has two Legends Tour wins to his name, started with birdies at the second and fourth before his first dropped shot of the week arrived at the par three seventh hole. He bounced back immediately, however, with back-to-back birdies before making the turn.
The 54-year-old made four further birdies on the back nine, including a closing birdie at the par five 18th hole to extend his lead and ensure he went into the final day in pole position.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open Champion, set a new course record on the Old Tom Morris Links thanks to a bogey-free eight under par round of 63 to join 2018 Ryder Cup Captain and 15-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjørn in a tie for third place on nine under par.
Argentine José Coceres sits in fifth place on six under par, one shot clear of 18-time European Tour winner Mark James, three-time Legends Tour winner Gary Wolstenholme and Scotland’s Euan McIntosh, who is competing in his maiden season on the over-50s circuit after earning his card at 2019 Qualifying School.
The Alliance Pro-Am, which is being played alongside the professional competition, also reaches its conclusion tomorrow, with Ireland’s Clem McCloskey leading on 70 Stableford points, four points clear of critically-acclaimed actor James Nesbitt, who is second on 66 points.
The final round will begin at 8:30am on Sunday August 21, with Price, Streeter and McCloskey comprising the last group at 10:50am.
Phillip Price: “I’m delighted with that. Yesterday, I played really nicely and you probably don’t expect to play quite as well today but I managed to shoot one better.
“I started quite well. I was determined that I need to be quite a lot under. It’s not a case of being a couple ahead of everybody else, I had a total of 12 under in my mind yesterday for the whole tournament and I’m going to need even more than that. Thomas is playing great, I think Paul Lawrie looks like he’s doing well and I think there’s a good score out there. It’s not very breezy, somebody can shoot seven or eight under out there so I wanted to get away.
“Thomas and Paul Lawrie are both four behind but I’m expecting at least one of them two to play quite well so I’m just going to get my mindset on me playing well again and making it very difficult for them. If I shoot par then I think they’ve got a good chance. I think the goal for me is to get as far ahead as I can and not just hang on.”
Paul Streeter: “I played solid today. I didn’t drive it as well as I like but I hit it in play. I didn’t give myself as many looks on the front nine but then on the back nine, I hit a few shots in close and just holed a few putts. I took advantage of the par fives to finish with so, all-in-all, a good day.
“I was in the rough on ten and I just couldn’t reach the green and I was literally just a foot in it. If you’re in the rough, you can get some shockers, so keep out of that.
“You never know what’s going to happen. Just hole a few putts here and there. If I can keep it in play and knock it in a bit closer than I did do today, hole a few putts and see if I can catch Mr Price. Winning is winning and it’s having the belief that you can do it.”
Paul Lawrie: “That was nice today. I played lovely. It was quite an easy eight under, if that’s possible, but I played nicely and hit the ball lovely. I didn’t make many putts, I was always around about the hole, so it was a good day.
“Yesterday I struggled off the tee, I really drove the ball poorly and round here, if you hit it in this rough, it’s quite severe, so one under was quite a decent effort with the way I drove the ball. Today was completely different, I can’t think of a fairway that I missed and I hit it nice so it was an easy day.
“That’s links golf for you. If you go out and shoot level par or one over today, you’ve missed a trick. We knew it was going to be calm in the morning so, if we could, get in about it and get a few birdies made early and get a bit of momentum and get going.
“He’s clearly played very well, Phillip, 13 under for two days round here is extremely good golf so he’s obviously playing nicely. He needs to come back to us a little bit I suppose, four shots is quite a lot but you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know how he’s going to play tomorrow, you don’t know how we’re going to play, but four shots is quite a lot but you never know.
“The back nine is exceptional. I mean the front nine, there’s nothing wrong with it, but the back nine is well up there in terms of linksy and the land and the views. This whole place is beautiful, the hotel is just different class and we’ve been looked after royally, which is cool.”