Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Liam Nolan Joint Top of Irish Amateur Golf Championship – Galway Bay FM

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By DARAGH SMALL

Galway golfer Liam Nolan will do battle with his good friend and fellow Walker Cup star again tomorrow (Saturday, 11th May 2024) as he remains locked together with Matt McClean on -8 at the top of the standings in the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship.

The 24-year-old made a fast start and eagled the third on Friday morning and as the sun beamed down and heat ratcheted up in County Sligo Golf Club, the duo put the pressure on the rest of the field and overtook early leader, Joe O’Neill (Berehaven).

Just 47 places separate the two in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and while Nolan shot 32 on a blistering front nine, McClean (Malone) answered that with four birdies on his back nine including on 18.

“It beats the library, so I’ll take it any day and hopefully a bit more of the nice weather and we’ll have a great weekend,” said Nolan.

“It’s just nice to have someone out there playing really good as well, you can feed off. It’s not overly serious this part of the tournament I mean we are only halfway through now so a lot can happen but it’s definitely nice to be playing some good stuff heading into the weekend.”

In all there are 15 players below par heading into the weekend with 18 holes remaining before the cut where the field will be reduced to the top 50 plus ties.

Overnight leader Gavin Tiernan (County Louth) produced another polished display on Friday and his 72 was good enough for a -5 total and just one shot behind the impressive O’Neill.

The Cork man followed his opening 67 with a 69 and he held the lead for the early afternoon before Nolan and McClean closed in ominously.

Local favourite, TJ Ford (County Sligo) is still right in contention in T5 at -3 while recent West of Ireland winner, and Bridgestone Order of Merit joint-leader, Keith Egan (Carton House) is just one shot further in arrears.

But with 36 holes remaining over the weekend, Nolan and McClean look like the men to catch at Rosses’ Point.

“We’ve been playing golf for the last three years in the Ireland team and obviously played a lot together, so we enjoy each other’s company out there,” said McClean.

“He’s playing very well, he got off to a really hot start today, so I was just trying to keep up with him really on the way around there and luckily made a few putts on the way in.

“Tied going into tomorrow but still 36 holes to go and there’s obviously plenty of other guys in the field so just be trying to do more of the same and stay aggressive with the approach shots and putts and we’ll see where we are after tomorrow evening.”

View the scoring here

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