Veteran Paul McGinley confessed he made a “rookie mistake” as severe jetlag forced him to withdraw from weather-delayed Hassan Trophy.
But Kerryman Mark Murphy was in take-off mode with the Big Break winnner soaring into the top 10 with just three holes of his second round to complete on Saturday morning.
Dubliner McGinley didn’t arrive in Morocco until 1.30am on Thursday morning - just 11 hours before his tee time - after teeing it up in the Tavistock Cup exhibition in Florida on Monday and Tuesday.
And it was no surprise that he pulled out yesterday citing extreme tiredness after an opening 77 left him 102nd in the 126-man field on five over and heading for an early KO.
McGinley groaned: “I should have known better than trying to squeeze in playing ill prepared - rookie mistake!”
Playing in his 21st season on the European Tour, the three-time Ryder Cup winner picked up $60,000 as Queenwood finished third behind Lake Nona in the megabucks Tavistock Cup in Orlando.
He’s played just two events this season after suffering a knee problems at the end of last term and is relying for starts on sponsors invitations and his exemption as one of the top 40 on the Career Money List.
After missing the cut in Qatar, he finished 14th in last month’s Avantha Masters in India and plans to play on a sponsors invitation in next week’s Sicilian Open as he continues to follow doctor’s orders and tries not to overdo things to protect his dodgy left knee.
Winds gusting over 35mph delayed the start of the second round of the Hassan Trophy by five and a half hours but McGinley felt he was simply too tired to go on after a sleepless night.
Damien McGrane led by two shots overnight after an opening 65 but while he began with five straight pars before play was suspended due to darkness, he was three shots behind clubhouse leader Phillip Price in an event that could still he reduced to 54-holes.
Without a since he claimed his third career victory in the Smurfit European Open at The K Club nearly nine years ago, 45-year old Welshman Price shot a flawless, six under par 66 to lead by three shots from Jose Manuel Lara of Spain on 10 under.
Waterville native Murphy, who celebreated his 34th birthday on Thursday, earned his place in the field thanks to his win in the Big Break Ireland reality TV golf show televised by The Golf Channel last year.
And the former DJ took advantage of his chance in style, opening with a 72 before racing to tied ninth on five under par through 15 holes of his second round.
The former East of Ireland runner up birdied the sixth to turn in one under and then picked up shots at the 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th to keep alive his hopes of a fairytale victory.
Peter Lawrie was tied 16th on four under through four holes of his second round with Michael Hoey safely in for the weekend on three under after hitting seven birdies in a 67.
Gareth Maybin shot a 69 but was left sweating on the wrong side of the projected cut mark at two over alongside Shane Lowry, who was over over after just three holes of his second round when play was suspended for the day.