Mooney benefits from Portmarnock experience


Two of the leading professionals from the Irish PGA circuit, Damien McGrane and Damian Mooney, were paired together for the final round of the Nissan Irish Open at Portmarnock today.

Damien and Damian were the first of the six Irishmen who made the cut to take to the course at the famous north Dublin links. And both carded respectable rounds of 72 and 73 to finish two and four over respectively for the championship. Afterwards Mooney enthused how much he enjoyed the week and was able to cope with the step up in standard.

"I was happy to make it into the weekend, anything after that was a bonus for me," said the Laganview professional. "I will take plenty out of this week and may now consider going back to Tour School at the end of the season."

Earlier in the year Mooney began working with a couple of golf gurus to help bring his game to the next level and after his week here in Portmarnock, and several wins on the Irish circuit, the 35-year-old can see the benefits.

"Obviously I still have a lot to learn if I want to compete at the top level, but what these guys are able to do for me is ensure I play to my potential and therefore give my best possible performance," he explained.

Asked what he thinks the winning score might be today, Mooney suggested if any one of the leaders get round in four or five under that will be a difficult target to beat. Dubliner Peter Lawrie is one of those chasing the leading trio of; Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell and David Lynn, who lead on 10 under.

Lawrie finds himself three shots off the pace on seven under after dropping several careless shots over the final stretch of his round yesterday. The 29-year-old sets off just before 2.30 p.m. while the final group of Bjorn and Campbell get under way at 2.55 p.m. Elsewhere, Paul McGinley was one-over for his round, one under for the tournament, with three holes to play. Darren Clarke was no better, two over on the day to be one over overall with eight holes remaining.

Gary Murphy made a good start with a birdie at the third to get to five under. If his early progress continues the Kilkenny golfer will be in line for another healthy cheque this week.