Fearless David Brady grabs new course record 64 and a two-stroke lead
Naas’ Jack Hume and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan lead the chasing pack in West of Ireland
Fog delayed teenager David Brady’s Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland Championship debut by two and a half hours but the Co Sligo lad could probably have burned it off himself so hot was his game as he shaved a shot off the course record, reeling off nine birdies in a seven-under 64 on the famous Rosses Point links.
With his home course in magnificent shape and with only a zephyr breeze to trouble him under a azure sky, the 17-year old fifth-year student from Sligo Grammar raced to nine-under par without error only to bogey the 16th and 17th.
The finish was only a minor disappointment for the former Under-16 Boys international from nearby Ballincar – built like a graphite driver with a precious little extra weight on his 6ft 3ins frame – who had the honour of hitting the first shot of the championship having carded what was until then a career best 69 in last Wednesday’s 18-hole qualifier to top the qualifiers for the championship proper.
A big hitter with the kind of fearless putting stroke that only teenagers possess, he didn’t birdie either the par-five third or fifth holes but still managed matching nines of 32 to lead by two strokes from Naas’ Jack Hume and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan, with club mate Steffan O’Hara and Ardee’s Eugene Smith four behind in the 36-hole race to make the top 64 qualifiers for the matchplay stages tonight.
“I’m happy out,” Brady said on a day when most the championship favourites fared well and the field raced around in an average of around 4 hours 11 minutes. “I’ll just concentrate on having another good score tomorrow. Before the start I definitely had ambitions to do well in the tournament.”
A wedge to two feet set up his opening birdie at the second and while he chipped in for another at the fourth, the majority of his birdies were the result of classy ball-striking and the kind of putting touch that smacks of a Faustian pact.
He didn’t birdie the par-five third or fifth holes and was forced to get up and down for par with a pitch and a putt at the sixth before rattling off seven birdies in his next nine holes to get to nine under.
After sinking an 18-footer at the seventh, he hit a seven iron to 12 feet at the short ninth to turn in 32 and then birdied the 11th from two feet, tapped in for another at the par-five 12th, hit an eight iron to four feet at the par-three 13th and rolled in a 10 footer at the 14th before holing a 40 footer from just short of the 15th green for birdie number nine.
He missed a seven-footer for par after pulling his tee shot at the par-three 16th and then happily two-putted the terrifying 17th for bogey.
Hume was pleased to drop just one shot in his 66 before later starter Lenehan matched that score having raced to five under after eight holes in a seven-birdie round.
“I’d like to get to the business end of a championship after missing the playoff by one in the Irish Amateur last year and getting to two semis in the ‘North’.” Lenehan said.