Pyman takes Irish Open clubhouse lead

Englishman Iain Pyman shot a two-under 70 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the Irish Open on Thursday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Maynooth:Englishman Iain Pyman shot a two-under 70 to take the clubhouse lead in the first round of the Irish Open on Thursday. He won after wind and rain wiped out six hours of play and left half of the 152-man field stranded on the Carton House course. Spain's Ignacio Garrido was atop the leader board at three under through six. While Ireland's David Higgins and Englishmen Andrew Marshall and Tom Whitehouse all were at two under not having finished their first nine. Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington were a stroke back after 71s and in the clubhouse with Pyman. Pyman birdied the par-four sixth, the par-three seventh and the par-five eighth with putts from 25, 12 and 15 feet before a par at 9 finished his round. The 33-year-old Englishman, a former English amateur champion who was the third alternate, called the conditions "brutal, horrific." The winds traveled at 65 kmph (40 mph) that halted play until five (local time) in evening. "This is so hard. There is no letup. You have to graft your way round every hole,'' he said. Worst moment Poulter, who started his round on the 10th hole, said his worst moment came at the 176-yard (160-meter), par-3 17th. A gust blew his 10-foot putt about two feet past the flag. Moments later, another gust blew the ball off the green. "I had to chip it back onto the green,'' he said. Heavy rain fell as play resumed late in the day. Poulter said it took him less time to fly to-and-from Paris on Wednesday to watch his favorite team Arsenal lose 2-1 to Barcelona in the European Champions League final, than his round. "I didn't anticipate spending 13 hours and 20 minutes to complete my round," he said. Harrington's day Harrington was one under and on the 14th when officials halted play the first time. He said he had played in much worse conditions, mainly at Irish seaside courses when he was growing up. Paul McGinley had one of the worse days. Six over when the round was suspended, McGinley, who got into a dispute with playing partner Kenneth Ferrie, withdrew during the delay with a chronic knee problem. "It was affecting my ability to play shots,'' said McGinley, who was admitted to a hospital for surgery. Ferrie incurred a two-stroke penalty for replacing his ball after it blew across the green at on the 14th hole. Ferrie and McGinley got into a verbal exchange. Ferrie said McGinley told him he could replace his ball on the original spot. However, the relevant rule - No. 20-1 - says the ball must be played from the position to which it blew, unless the player already had addressed the ball. (AP)

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