McGinley leads Irish charge in Madrid

The European Tour heads to Spain for the Bankia Madrid Masters where a sculpture commemorating the late Seve Ballesteros has been erected to pay tribute to the Spanish legend’s contribution to golf.

Seve’s son, Javier Ballesteros, unveiled the sculpture along with President of the community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, who invited Javier to play alongside herself and Luke Donald in the Pro-am today.

Luke Donald’s lead at the top of the Race to Dubai was cut down to less than €1.3million after McIlroy’s second place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews on Sunday.

The world number one can use the Madrid Masters as a chance to put some distance between McIlroy and himself as the competition isn’t as fierce at the El Encin Golf Hotel as it was in Scotland last weekend.

The likes of Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood aren’t competing in Spain this weekend but Donald will still have to contend with the Molinari brothers, Ross Fisher, Matteo Manassero and homegrown talent, Alvaro Quiros.

Damien McGrane and Paul McGinley will both be competing after their below par performances in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship saw neither of the pair make the cut for play at the famous St Andrews’ Old Course on the last day of play.

McGrane started poorly in Scotland and only a slim level of improvement meant that he missed the cut, finishing on level par over three days.

McGinley’s score of 76 on the first day of the Championship over the weekend was one he couldn’t recover from and so the Dubliner ended up on 3-over par.

Gareth Maybin will also be hoping to do better than last weekend’s action, when the Northern Irishman finished on 6-over par after failing to make one round under par.

Simon Thornton booked his place in Spain with two top 3 finishes in his last two Challenge tour outings, finishing 3rd in the Kazakhstan Open and 2nd in the Toulouse Open.

Scotland’s George Murray will also be hoping for a follow-up performance to his display at St Andrews, that saw him tie for 3rd with Graeme McDowell.

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