Colm Campbell takes a two-shot lead in Irish Amateur Open

Young England international Marco Penge sets new course record of 64 at Royal Dublin

Leader Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) watches  his birdie putt on the 18th green during  the second round of the Irish Amateur Open at  Royal Dublin.  Photo: Pat Cashman

Leader Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) watches his birdie putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin. Photo: Pat Cashman

 

It’s not often a player shoots a pair of impressive 68s to lead at Royal Dublin and ends up overshadowed by a player two shots behind him.

But Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell was happy enough to head the Flogas Irish Amateur Open by two shots on eight under par and take his hat off to 17-year-old England international Marco Penge, who clipped a shot off Gavin Moynihan’s year old course record by going around the old lady of Dollymount in an immaculate, eight under par 64.

As the wind switched overnight from south to north but never gusted above 20 mph, the elegant Golf at Goodwood player seriously impressed watching Great Britain and Ireland captain Craig Watson and selector Michael Burns as he pencilled in two eagles and four birdies on a blemish free card.

The winner of back to back Fairhaven Trophies for under 18s in 2013 and ’14, Penge took a major step forward last year by winning the Peter McEvoy Trophy and the Scottish Amateur Championship.

He’s considered one of the leading contenders for next year’s Walker Cup side to face the US at Los Angeles Country Club. But so keen is he to try his hand at the European Tour Qualifying School in the autumn, he’s unsure what he will be doing in 16 months’ time.

Even his putting grip can change from one day to the next, as he proved yesterday by abandoning the cack-handed method that yielded an opening 74 and returning to the conventional style for a 64 that leaves tied for second on six under par alongside Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene and the Isle of Man’s Tom Gandy, both of whom shot 69s.

Cack-handed

Jack HumeEanna Griffin

“I changed to cack-handed about three months ago and changed back today. I putted cack- handed yesterday and holed nothing so I went back to normal today and finally holed some putts for once,” said Penge.

What’s more remarkable about Penge’s round is that he pulled an intercostal muscle in his ribs on Wednesday that not only curtailed his preparations but also required physiotherapy and acupuncture.

In another entry for the “beware the injured golfer” files, Penge eagled the second thanks to a two iron to six feet and holed a 45-footer for birdie at the fourth to turn in 32.

He then played the downwind back nine in five under 32, lipping out from eight feet for eagle at the 11th before two putting the 14th for birdie and then holing a 40-footer for an eagle two at the 16th, where he hit a three wood onto the green.

He then holed a 15 footer for birdie at the 17th to go eight under and safely parred the last for a 64 that made playing partner Robbie Cannon’s 68 for a level par 144 look pedestrian.

Very impressive

“A 64! That’s a serious round of golf here,” 29-year old Campbell said of Penge’s effort. “It’s hard to break 70 here, so to go six better is very impressive.

“To be fair, the back nine was giving up a lot of chances with every hole downwind but you have got to create the chances and make the putts.”

Keen to add to his 2014 East of Ireland win, Campbell is hoping his experience will tell: “Hopefully if I get myself into position on Sunday it will help me get over the line and I can get that other win I’ve been looking for.”

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