Irish pair need a boost

 

Richard Coughlan and Keith Nolan, striving to retain their cards on the US Tour, will be hoping for a little luck in the $1.8 million Buick Open, which starts today at the Warwick Hills course in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

Coughlan, with good results in two tournaments last month, has managed to bank $60,664 from the 19 events he has contested this year but needs an injection of another $115,000 to wrap up a spot on the Tour in 1999. "I just need to do something and do it soon," said Coughlan.

Nolan's position borders on desperate. The former Irish amateur champion has earned just over $17,000 from 15 tournaments, missing cuts in his last seven appearances.

"It just hasn't been working out as I had liked," said Nolan. "It's just a question of hanging in there and cutting down my mistakes."

Vijay Singh of Fiji is defending the Buick title while Tiger Woods is back, competing for the first time after finishing third in last month's British Open.

Gary Player bids for his 10th major championship on the Seniors Tour when he defends the Senior British Open title at Royal Portrush today. Among the favourites is Brian Barnes, who will be looking for his third success in this event in four years, and the in-form Bobby Verwey.

Irish interest will focus on Irish-American Joe McDermott who won the Irish Seniors at Woodbrook in May while other `home' challengers include Liam Higgins, David Jones, Arnie O'Connor, Paul Leonard, rookie Denis O'Sullivan, Arthur Spring and amateurs Barry Reddan and Declan Branigan.

Dublin teenager Pamela Murphy produced one of the best rounds of the day in the British girls' amateur championship at Holyhead to qualify for the knockout phase in third spot. Having handed in a 79 in the first round, she went three shots better yesterday.