Day one the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open saw a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard, with Dean Burmester, Jordan Smith and Aaron Rai all carding five under par rounds of 65 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Co. Antrim.
Irishman James Sugrue, the 2019 Amateur Champion who played at last week’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot, carded a three under 67 to sit just two shots off the pace – drawing comparisons with a famous amateur victory in this tournament by one Shane Lowry 11 years ago.
Lowry, returning to home soil for the first time as Open Champion this week, struggled to an opening five over 75 while European Ryder Cup Captain Pádraig Harrington carded a one over 71 in his first competitive appearance in six month
Mallow amateur James Sugrue is the leading Irishman in the field, having shot a three under par opening round of 67 to lie just two shots off the lead.
“I was in the U.S. Open last week and going from there to here is a little bit easier to say the least. It was very tough, very penal, you can hit good shots off the tee and end up in the rough where you can only take a wedge out of it” explained Sugrue.
The top amateur, who plans on turning professional after the Masters, was happy with his first round score, but admitted:
“There’s a lot of golf to be played yet but obviously I’m very happy with how I played today. Conditions were tricky although we didn’t get wet, it was gusty and when you’re caught in those holes where there’s trees all around you, you don’t know what way the wind is blowing. You just have to trust it.”
Offaly man Shane Lowry had a nightmare day at Galgorm, shooting a five-over-par round of 75, leaving him 10 shots off the lead after day 1 at the Co. Antrim venue.
“I just struggled today” Lowry said honestly, “Myself and Bo were talking going up the last, and I pretty much did everything really badly today, from course management to decision making to actually pulling off the shots. It was not very nice out there, but I gave it my best, that’s all I could have done, and it ended up in a 75. It’s nice to birdie the last, and if I can go out a shoot a few under tomorrow, hopefully be here for the weekend and hopefully a couple more decent scores. First and foremost my goal tomorrow will be to make the weekend” he added.
The Clara-native found the weather a problem during his round, but was not trying to use that as an excuse for his 75:
“I was very cold out there today. I had my handwarmers and everything, but it was tough out there, very tough out there. There were a few times into the wind I couldn’t get myself enough club. I hit a great shot on number 14, the par three, and I pitched it about 20 yards short of the flag. That was a bit weird. It is what it is, I felt like I could have shot a decent score. I played here yesterday, I like the course. Today I just went out and nothing went right for me. “
Pádraig Harrington, who shot a respectable 71 in his first competitive round in six months, felt the round was very mixed, with some good and some not so good:
“But there was lots of good stuff and even the bad stuff, I just put down to rust, so I was more than happy with it. It was nice to finish with a par, I wanted to birdie it obviously – finishing with a birdie would have got me back to level par. I missed a couple of putts at 16 and 17. I’m just not playing enough. I really should have trusted my driver on my right to left, I haven’t missed anything right all day and I hung onto it and got myself in trouble.”
Round one scores (incomplete, one group still to finish):
65 A RAI (ENG), D BURMESTER (RSA), J SMITH (ENG),
66 T TREE (ENG),
67 J CATLIN (USA), S GALLACHER (SCO), R KARLBERG (SWE), J SUGRUE (AM) (IRL), O LENGDEN (SWE),
68 S HEND (AUS), J JANEWATTANANOND (THA), G HIGGO (RSA), J HARDING (RSA), L BJERREGAARD (DEN), N LEMKE (SWE), M SIMONSEN (DEN), J GUERRIER (FRA),
69 M ARMITAGE (ENG), N ELVIRA (ESP), S JAMIESON (SCO), R ROCK (ENG), D LAW (SCO),
70 F ZANOTTI (PAR), O FARR (WAL), B STOW (ENG), G STORM (ENG), E FERGUSON (SCO), W ORMSBY (AUS), C SORDET (FRA), J LAGERGREN (SWE), D HUIZING (NED), C HILL (SCO), J SENIOR (ENG), W NIENABER (RSA), D MCGRANE (IRL), J MCLEOD (AUS), M ANTCLIFF (AUS),
71 S BROWN (ENG), L VAN MEIJEL (NED), J LUITEN (NED), P HARRINGTON (IRL), R RAMSAY (SCO), C SYME (SCO), J SURI (USA), D WHITNELL (ENG), A CANIZARES (ESP), D PERRIER (FRA), A MERONK (POL), L HERBERT (AUS), G COETZEE (RSA), J CALDWELL (NIR),
72 M KORHONEN (FIN), S CROCKER (USA), J MORRISON (ENG), D HOWELL (ENG), M FENASSE (FRA), S SHARMA (IND), J HANSEN (DEN), C SHINKWIN (ENG), R MCEVOY (ENG), D COUPLAND (ENG), R BLAND (ENG), L SLATTERY (ENG),
73 A ROZNER (FRA), D DRYSDALE (SCO), G PORTEOUS (ENG), T MCKIBBIN (AM) (NIR), F LAPORTA (ITA), R SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA), M SCHMITT (GER), R MCGOWAN (ENG), A ARNAUS (ESP), T KOIVISTO (USA), N COLSAERTS (BEL), L CANTER (ENG), M BALDWIN (ENG), J KRUGER (RSA), D VAN DRIEL (NED), J VEERMAN (USA), J SCRIVENER (AUS),
74 M KAWAMURA (JPN), M SOUTHGATE (ENG), H PORTEOUS (RSA), G MOYNIHAN (IRL), S SODERBERG (SWE), M WARREN (SCO), J STALTER (FRA), Z MURRAY (AUS), M POWER (AM) (IRL), R WATTEL (FRA), E MOLINARI (ITA), L JOHNSTON (SCO), B RITTHAMMER (GER), W BESSELING (NED),
75 G BHULLAR (IND), C MORIARTY (IRL), A COCKERILL (CAN), P DUNNE (IRL), M LEE (AUS), M KINHULT (SWE), R ROUSSEL (FRA), D YOUNG (SCO), M CAMPBELL (NZL), S LOWRY (IRL), S TILEY (ENG),
76 D HORSEY (ENG), A WU (CHN), S KJELDSEN (DEN), Y CHANG (KOR), B POKE (DEN),
77 J WINTHER (DEN),
78 S GARCIA RODRIGUEZ (ESP), O FISHER (ENG), R FOX (NZL),
79 A CHESTERS (ENG),
83 C SHARVIN (NIR), A PAVAN (ITA),
C PIGEM (ESP), K REITAN (NOR), C HOWIE (SCO)