McGrane halted at fifth by strong Moroccan winds


STRONG WINDS resulted in first-day leader Damien McGrane managing only five holes at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco yesterday.

The Meath man parred all five to remain seven under after his impressive opening round 65.

Mark Murphy managed to complete 15 holes yesterday. On Thursday he carded five birdies and five bogeys to finish on level par. Yesterday he again claimed five birdies, but managed to stay bogey-free and so will start today tied for ninth place.

Peter Lawrie is just a shot further behind on four-under, but, like McGrane, starts today with 13 holes still to play in the second round.

Shane Lowry started the second round bogey-birdie-bogey before play was halted and he lies on two-over after a 73 on Thursday.

Michael Hoey and Gareth Maybin are the only Irishman to have completed their second rounds, with both making up for disappointing first rounds. Hoey added a five-under-par 67 to his first round 74, while Maybin’s 69 yesterday might not save him from the cut due to an opening 77.

After a first round 79, Paul McGinley withdrew because of illness. His former Ryder Cup team-mate Phillip Price has a real chance to re-ignite his career after a second round 66.

Strong winds prevented any play before 1pm, but the 45-year-old Welshman then moved on to a 10-under-par halfway total of 134.

He is one ahead of Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara overnight, although the round has still to be completed by many.

Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, needing to win to have a chance of climbing into the world’s top 50 and qualifying for the Masters, is five behind following a 71.

Robert Rock wrote off his chances of making it to Augusta with a top-two finish when he had a septuple bogey 11 for an opening 77, but the Abu Dhabi winner shot 68 on his return – even with a seven on his card – and on one over is just inside the expected cut mark.

Price has not finished amongst Europe’s top 100 money-winners since 2004 and last season held on to his card by little more than €1,200.

Forever to be remembered for his victory over Phil Mickelson at the Belfry a decade ago, he is chasing his first victory for nine years. Helped by holing a bunker shot on the short 16th – his seventh – Price had six birdies and did not drop a stroke all day.