Posts Tagged ‘Royal Lytham’

Diamond primed for North of Ireland challenge

July 9, 2012


HE missed the cut at the Irish Open by some margin, but Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) believes he can take plenty of positives from his experience into this week’s North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush.
“I really enjoyed myself,” said the 27-year-old who won the West of Ireland Championship back in April.
“I learned quite a lot. Looking back, I was playing not to shoot a really high score rather than playing my normal game which meant that I was lot more conservative than I would normally be.”
The bar manager, who lost out to Patrick McCrudden (Royal Portrush) in last year’s final, bowed out at the half way mark after carding rounds of 77/74 on the Dunluce Course but was particularly pleased with how he coped in the professional arena.
“On the first day I teed off from 10 pretty early and I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I really was but then coming round off 18 onto the first I started getting really nervous because there was a decent crowd there and the first hole is so different with the tented village up,” he said.
“Certainly the second round starting from the first was probably the most nervous I had been all week. There was a quite a big crowd at that stage and a few guys shouting at me ‘come on Harry’.

“I was definitely more nervous playing in the Irish Open than I was playing in the final of the North last year or this year’s West. That has got to be a good thing. You know the more you play in situations like that, the less nervous you feel.

“I hit a pretty good drive up the first on the Friday. I don’t know how I did it mind you, it was a bit of a blur. I can hopefully take bit of confidence from that as well.”
Harry was joined in the Irish Open field by three other amateurs, Dermot McElroy, Alan Dunbar and McCrudden, none of whom managed to make the cut.
McElroy and McCrudden will be in the field for today’s opening qualifying round while former champion Dunbar has opted out ahead of his Open Championship bow at Royal Lytham.
Harry has been consistent, without being spectacular since winning the West.
He finished inside the top 10 at the Irish Amateur Open but failed to make any impact at the Irish Close Championship which was at Royal Portrush in late May.
“I don’t think I have been playing any worse or any better than I was at the time of the West,” he added.
“A couple of breaks here or there can make all the difference. The plan at the North will be to shoot a couple of decent scores, get into the match play and take it from there.”

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Clarke’s ‘helping hand’ vital to Irish Open success

July 2, 2012


DARREN Clarke’s personal investment in the Irish Open paid off in some style at Royal Portrush. The Open Champion brushed off any suggestions that he went ‘beyond the call of duty’ to help bring the event to the North Coast but his influence was undeniable.
Clarke has long championed the cause of Royal Portrush. His powerful advocacy and Open victory at Royal St George’s last year helped seal the deal following as it did, in the wake of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell’s major wins.
“I just tried to help as best I could. I haven’t done an awful lot. It’s the members of Royal Portrush, The European Tour, all of the volunteers that have done all the hard work,” said Darren after signing for a final round 71 that saw him finish the tournament on four under par and in a share of 39th place.
“It was a very special occasion for the Irish Open to come to Royal Portrush. It’s been such a long time since it’s been up here and I just tried to help them in whatever little way I could.
“It’s been absolutely brilliant. Obviously I would have liked to have scored a little bit better than I have done. But overall I think the event has been enjoyed not just by the professionals but by the spectators and everybody involved.
“It was a shame about the weather but overall, it’s certainly been a tournament that we would all love to come back and play again.”
Clarke made his first cut of the season at Royal Portrush on his return to action following an enforced month off to rest a groin injury. He will play in the French Open this week and then skip the Scottish Open as he builds up to the defence of his Open title at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
“It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve hit too many sloppy shots and paid the penalty for it, but overall I’m pleased with where my game is at,” he added.