Ireland stay right in the hunt at Carton House

Dawson, Purcell and Murphy in joint-second place behind leaders New Zealand

Robin Dawson  pitching to the 10th green during the second round of the 2018 World Amateur Team Championship  at Carton House. Photograph: -Pat Cashman

Robin Dawson pitching to the 10th green during the second round of the 2018 World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House. Photograph: -Pat Cashman


The 13th tee on the O’Meara Course at Carton House – an historical demesne within walking distance of Maynooth – is elevated.

Some 390 yards below, protected by bunkers carved out of the land, lies a green. Out of reach? Think again. It is indicative of the prodigious lengths that modern players propel the ball that a time delay formed as they stood with drivers in hand, forever patient, waiting for their chance to have a go. No laying up, not here; not from these young guns.

In many ways, this World Amateur Team Championship – for the Eisenhower Trophy – is pure golf, even raw. Players either pull or carry their own clubs, without caddies, and figure out their own yardages and their lines on the greens. It’s a throwback, in a way. Yet, beyond dispute, is just how good these players, from all around the globe, are when it comes to shooting low scores.

And, as the championship reached its midway point, New Zealand manoeuvred into the lead – with a 20-under-par total of 270 – but only by the narrowest of margins. The Kiwis held a one stroke lead over Denmark, Thailand . . . . and Ireland.

“They have played excellent golf and they are well in the hunt, and that’s all that matters at this stage. It’s only half-time,” said Irish non-playing captain John Carroll describing the efforts of his three players.

Robin Dawson, Conor Purcell and John Murphy sat beside him, each one nodding in agreement as if to underline the one-for-all-all-for-one mentality which they’d taken into this historic first staging of the old championship on Irish turf.

Dawson, the world ranked number 10, is – at 22 years of age – the elder statesman of the trio.

Once again, he led by example. The flame-haired Waterfordman shot a five-under-par 68 (bogey-free, just as he had been on the Monty course on Wednesday), while Purcell’s 69 – which featured five birdies, the quality of his approach such than none of those putts was longer than five feet – also counted to produce a combined score of 137. John Murphy’s 70, also under par, was ultimately discarded.

The quality of shot-making was exemplified by Dawson’s play of the Par 5 17th. There, he hit a drive which left him 228 yards to the flag. In the match ahead, Australia’s David Micheluzzi had hit driver off the deck with his approach and didn’t find the green. Dawson didn’t need driver, or any fairway wood. He hit a 2-iron, a lovely draw into the wind which finished six feet from the flag. Unfortunately, he missed the eagle putt.

Immaculate golf

“I misread the putt and ended up just shoving it, but you are never going to snub a birdie on 17 because it’s a long hole,” said Dawson, adopting the glass half-full philosophy. He was right.

Purcell has golf in his blood. He is the son of Joey, who was the long-time professional at Portmarnock Golf Club. The 21-year-old – a semi-finalist in this year’s British Amateur, where he lost out to Dawson – played some immaculate golf, standing five-under on his round through 13 holes before things dried up.

His only blip came on the Par 5 15th, where he missed his approach to the green and failed to get up and down. But the birdies had dried up. He horse-shoed out with an attempt on the 16th, and further birdie putts on the 17th and 18th refused to drop.

“Overall I think we did a good job at keeping our spirits up and we are still in contention, and that’s where we want to be,” said Purcell.

Ireland finished the second round of play in a three-way share of second, one shot behind leaders New Zealand who, for the second day, discarded the score of Kerry Mountcastle. Daniel Hillier and Denzel Ieremia have proven to be the main men, so far at least.

With just five strokes, however, separating the leading 10 teams, there is all to play for. The pre-championship favourites, the USA, made up ground – Collin Morikawa’s 66 and world number two ranked Justin Suh’s 67 on the O’Meara moving them into seventh – to get into a challenging position to emulate the feat of their women, who last week won the Espirito Santo Trophy.

World Amateur Team Championships totals and round two scores

270 New Zealand (Ieremia 66, Mountcastle 76, Hillier 65)

271 Denmark (Axelsen 69, Hojgaard 70, Hojgaard 70)

271 Ireland (Murphy 70, Purcell 69, Dawson 68)

271 Thailand (Hamamoto 71, Kaewkanjana 65, Chothirunrungrueng 66)

272 Canada (Bernard 66, Rank 72, Savoie 67)

273 Spain (Pastor 75, Del Rey 64, Hidalgo 69)

273 United States of America (Morikawa 66, Suh 67, Hammer 71)

274 Italy (Manzoni 77, Mazzoli 64, Scalise 69)

274 Sweden (Widing 68, Gillberg 65, Nilehn 68)

275 Austria (Steinlechner 69, Regner 67, Lipold 69)

277 Germany (Hammer 67, Long 76, John 72)

278 Argentina (Schonbaum 72, Fernandez de Oliveira 69, Contini 68)

278 England (Petrozzi 68, Waite 70, Jordan 70)

279 Australia (Lee 68, Micheluzzi 74, Wools-Cobb 70)

279 Norway (Hovland 73, Reitan 70, Volden 68)

279 Republic of Korea (Choi 73, Jang 68, Oh 78)

279 Wales (Chamberlain 74, Hapgood 68, Williams 70)

280 Chile (Morgan Birke 71, Errazuriz 73, Gana 69)

280 Scotland (Lumsden 67, Scott 71, Walker 69)

280 Switzerland (Freiburghaus 71, Cohen 72, Ettlin 74)

281 India (Kaul 73, Bedi 72, John Thomas 72)

281 Japan (Kanaya 68, Nakajima WD, Imano 76)

282 Serbia (Cvetkovic 73, Dimitrijevic 68, Gudelj 67)

284 Colombia (Ramirez Velandia 71, Restrepo 78, Ardila 70)

284 Costa Rica (Gagne 67, Chaplet 68, Ortiz 73)

284 Czech Republic (Zuska 72, Hruby 72, Zach 70)

284 France (Gandon 73, Lacroix 72, Veyret 72)

284 Poland (Pakosch 77, Pedryc 68, Szmidt 74)

285 Belgium (Dumont de Chassart 71, De Bondt 73, de Wouters d’Oplinter 70)

285 Estonia (Hellat 70, Jegers 75, Turba 69)

286 Netherlands (Ji 70, Kraai 81, van Tilburg 72)

286 Peoples Republic of China (Chen 71, Liang 72, Zhang 74)

286 Portugal (Lopes 78, Girao 79, Lencart 70)

287 Dominican Republic (Valverde A 76, Pena 75, Guerra 71)

287 Venezuela (Garcia 69, Brauckmeyer 73, Prieto 82)

288 Peru (Zubiate 74, Freundt-Thurne 72, Barco 72)

288 Singapore (Ho 75, Lee 73, Foo 69)

289 Guatemala (Villavicencio Calderon 75, Castellanos Conde 73, Gurtner 70)

289 Zimbabwe (Allard 75, Amm 73, Krog 80)

290 Puerto Rico (Esteve 79, Alverio 72, Morales 73)

291 Iceland (Sveinbergsson 72, Juliusson 72, Petursson 73)

291 Mexico (Pereda 74, Terrazas 73, Ortiz Becerra 73)

292 Hong Kong, China (Cheung 71, D’Souza 76, Ng 75)

292 Morocco (Id Omar 68, Raouzi 83, Dahmane 76)

294 Saudi Arabia (Almulla 72, Alsakha 78, Attieh 72)

294 South Africa (Saulez 75, Nienaber 76, Mitchell WD)

295 Finland (Mahonen 76, Honkala 75, Valimaki 73)

296 Slovakia (Brezovsky 78, Mach 70, Lucansky 78)

297 Taipei, Chinese (Wang 70, Lai 75, Ho 77)

299 Bermuda (Dillas 75, Ming 80, Campbell 81)

299 Brazil (Ishii 77, Park 75, Machado 76)

299 Turkey (Esmer 75, Yamac 75, Acikalin 75)

299 Uruguay (Reyes 76, Teuten 76, Alvarez 75)

300 Croatia (Buerk 76, Stepinac 78, Vucemil 79)

302 Luxembourg (Weis 76, Weis 76, Winandy 82)

303 Slovenia (Trnovec 76, Potocar 80, Burkelca 75)

304 Malta (Borg 75, Critien 78, Micallef 81)

304 Qatar (Al Kaabi 79, Al Kuwari 77, Al Shahrani 81)

307 Cayman Islands (Hastings 76, Wight 75, Jarvis 75)

307 Guam (Camacho 74, Manalo 78, Poe 79)

308 Panama (Ducruet 75, Cargiulo 79, Ordonez 77)

308 United Arab Emirates (Al Jasmi 75, Skaik 77, Thabet 83)

310 Liechtenstein (Schredt 90, Schreiber 74, Schredt 83)

310 Republic of Moldova (Coica 77, Volostnykh 79, Podgainii 100)

315 Bulgaria (Marinov 76, Savov 89, Staykov 81)

327 Lithuania (Vaicius WD, Momkus 90, Markevicius 76)

329 Ghana (Angel 82, Dogbe 83, Kusi-Boateng 91)

329 Nigeria (Thompson 83, Inalegwu 85, Thompson 90)

337 Haiti (Brandt 93, Saint-Fort 99, Mehu 77)

347 Iraq (Al-Hashimi 103, Barnouti 92, Radee 80)

371 Gabon (Illien 84, Perez Ayo 94)

373 Armenia (Balyan 104, Karakhanyan 94, Saghatelyan 122)

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