Alan Dunbar blasted a course record equalling 64 to bounce back into contention for a unique double in the Chartis sponsored European Individual Amateur Championship at Carton House.
The 22-year old British Amateur champion reeled off eight birdies in a bogey-free effort at the Montgomerie Course to trail Sweden’s Daniel Jennevret by just six shots at halfway on four under.
Despite missing a six foot eagle putt at the last, the Portrush star improved by 12 shots on his opening 76 to keep alive his chances of becoming the first player to win the British and European Amateur titles in the same season.
“I knew I was putting well and that if I could keep bogeys off my card I’d have enough chances to make birdies and I did that,” said Dunbar, who holed his longest birdie putt of the day from 20 feet at the first and never looked back.
Boosted by a pre-round chat on the range with his coach Seamus Duffy, Dunbar explained: “My goal was to get back to level and I knew the boys wouldn’t keep going. I was constantly building momentum and the only putt I missed was that six footer on 18.
“I didn’t feel as though I played outstanding today or that badly yesterday, it was just breaks and momentum. I knew I was putting well and that if I could keep bogeys off my card I’d have enough chances to make birdies and I did that.”
Waterford’s Castle’s Kevin Phelan also putted brilliantly to card eight birdies in a six under 66 that left him heading the home challenge in joint eighth, just five strokes off the pace on five under.
“I got off to a bad start bogey with a bogey on the second but hit a couple of nice rescues on the third and 10th for bice birdies and holed out really well from inside 10 feet.”
The Florida-based 21-year old played in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach but has his eye on a win worth a place in next year’s Irish Open at Carton House and the Open Championship at Muirfield.
“I’ve played in a major but I wouldn’t complain about another one,” said Phelan.
Overnight leader Jennevret added a 70 to his opening 64 to lead by two from Denmark’s Thomas Soren (67) and Portugal’s Goncalo Pinto (68) with today’s 54-hole cut for the top 60 and ties set to fall after today’s third round.
However, it will be interesting to see if Dunbar can build on yesterday’s stellar effort having been six over par after just 12 holes of his opening round.
“I was disappointed with four over yesterday because it wasn’t that tough, a three putt and then to four putt the next and go bogey-bogey after that, it just killed me. I was six over at that point and got it back to four and that gave me confidence for today. My goal was to get back to level and I knew the boys wouldn’t keep going the way they were going.”
Following his birdie at the first, Dunbar got up and down for pars after short-siding himself at the second and third to maintain his momentum.
He then birdied the par-five fourth and saved par ater driving into sand at the fifth before surging ahead again.
“I birdied seven, eight and nine and they gave me a bit of a boost going into the hard holes at 10, 11 and 12,” Dunbar said. “I made three good pars there. Missed green on 10 and 11 but had simple enough up and downs and then made a good two-putt from around 40 feet on 12.”
After a birdie at the short 13th, he got up and down for birdie from the front bunker at the par-five 15th and almost finished with a eagle.
“I was constantly building momentum and scrambling well,” he said. “I missed just one putt all day and that was at the last.”
After hitting a five iron to six feet there, Dunbar was pleased enough with his closing birdie on a day when scoring was tougher due to slighter tighter pins.
Leader Jennevret had three bogeys and two birdies in an outward 37 but came home in 33 with birdies at the 12th, 15th and 18th to remain in command on 10 under after a 70
World No 3 Daan Huizing of the Netherlands got off to another poor start when he bogeyed the first and doubled the second alongside Dunbar. But he had six birdies against just two bogeys in the remaining holes for a 71 that left him tied 22nd on three under.
The top 60 and ties will make the 54-hole cut today with Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan tied 35th on one under after a 69,
Nick Grant (72) and Geoff Lenehan (74) are tied for 46th on level par.
Harry Diamond and Paul Dunne both carded 72s as Gary Hurley followed his 68 with a 77, which included a four putt double bogey from just four feet at the 11th, to lie just inside the mark on one over.
Rory McNamara, Reeve Whitson, Richard Bridges and Aaron Kearney are on three over with Niall Gorey and Dermot McElroy a shot futher back.
Irish Close and East of Ireland winner Chris Selfridge eagled the last for the second day running to get in on five over after a disappointing 75 while James Fox slipped to nine over after opening his second round with a double bogey for a 74.
European Individual Amateur Championship, Montgomerie Course at Carton House (Par 72)
After 36 holes
134 D Jennevret (Swe) 64 70
136 T Sorensen (Den) 69 67, G Pinto (Por) 68 68
137 J Shufflebotham (Wal) 68 69, T Pieters (Belgium) 66 71
138 P Widegren (Swe) 71 67, A Saddier (Fra) 69 69
139 K Phelan (Ire) 73 66, L Scotto (Ita) 70 69, P Westermann (Ger) 69 70, R Pugh (Wal) 68 71, G Porteous (Eng) 66 73
140 A Dunbar (Ire) 76 64, G Robertson (Sco) 75 65, M Clark (Sco) 72 68, N Kimsey (Eng) 71 69, J Sarasti (Esp) 70 70, R Kind (Ned) 68 72, M Saunders (Eng) 68 72, M Rottluff (Ger) 68 72, M Schwab (Aut) 67 73
141 C Sordet (Fra) 73 68, N Carlsson (Swe) 71 70, D Huizing (Ned) 70 71, P Barjon (Fra) 69 72, B Stow (Eng) 69 72
142 S William Fernandez (Esp) 75 67, C Shinkwin (Eng) 74 68, V Henum (Den) 73 69, T Detry (Belgium) 72 70, F Daux (Fra) 72 70, J White (Sco) 71 71, B Rusch (Sui) 70 72, N Lindstrom (Swe) 68 74
143 K Ventura (Nor) 76 67, B Soutar (Sco) 74 69, P Shields (Sco) 74 69, R O’Donovan (Ire) 74 69, M Dobias (Sui) 73 70, T Gornik (Slovenia) 71 72, C Berardo (Fra) 71 72, F Zucchetti (Ita) 70 73, H Rouillon (Fra) 70 73, M Boesmans (Belgium) 68 75, A Ferrer (Esp) 68 75
144 M Iten (Sui) 76 68, T Elissalde (Fra) 74 70, T Beaucousin (Fra) 74 70, E Amacher (Sui) 73 71, N Grant (Ire) 72 72, F Bergamaschi (Ita) 72 72, G Eason (Eng) 71 73, G Lenehan (Ire) 70 74, B Hellgren (Swe) 70 74, M Lampert (Ger) 70 74
145 H Diamond (Ire) 73 72, L Nemecz (Aut) 73 72, P Dunne (Ire) 73 72, S Soderberg (Swe) 73 72, C Pigem (Esp) 72 73, J Hiluta (Eng) 72 73, S Crichton (Sco) 71 74, J Stalter (Fra) 71 74, A Boasson (Icl) 71 74, J Frazer (Wal) 71 74, V Perez (Fra) 71 74, M Schjoelberg (Nor) 71 74, M Rohrig (Ger) 69 76, G Hurley (Ire) 68 77
146 J Joia (Por) 79 67, A Cohen (Isr) 76 70, E Cuartero (Esp) 75 71, J White (Eng) 75 71, M Schneider (Ger) 74 72, R Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) 73 73, E Sogaard (Den) 72 74, J Rutherford (Eng) 72 74, L Lespinasse (Fra) 71 75, P Angles (Esp) 71 75
147 R McNamara (Ire) 77 70, A Kearney (Ire) 74 73, F McKenna (Sco) 73 74, R Whitson (Ire) 73 74, H Casey (Eng) 72 75, R Bridges (Ire) 72 75
148 T Berry (Eng) 78 70, J Hume (Ire) 78 70, D McElroy (Ire) 77 71, N Gorey (Ire) 76 72, M Wallace (Eng) 76 72, L Thomas (Wal) 75 73, J Carlota (Por) 75 73, L Weber (Fra) 75 73, M Decottignies-Lafon (Fra) 75 73, J Sainz (Esp) 74 74, J Girrbach (Sui) 74 74, J Pastor (Esp) 74 74, R Caron (Ned) 73 75, P Valasek (Slovakia) 72 76
149 D Foos (Ger) 77 72, T Pulkkanen (Finland) 77 72, O Bjorn Loftsson (Icl) 77 72, F Kolberg (Tur) 76 73, K Hesbois (Belgium) 75 74, A Schwartz (Fra) 75 74, M Gradecki (Pol) 74 75, C Selfridge (Ire) 74 75, B Virto (Esp) 74 75, R Van West (Ned) 72 77, O Rozner (Fra) 72 77
150 A Eckhardt (Finland) 77 73, M Galiano (Esp) 77 73, B Loughrey (Eng) 76 74, K Thor Einarsson (Icl) 76 74, E Kemaloglu (Tur) 76 74, G Schoeb (Fra) 75 75, C Weninger (Aut) 75 75, P Ferrier (Sco) 74 76, K Subregis (Fra) 72 78
151 C de Stefani (Ita) 78 73, A Dunton (Sco) 77 74, A Chesters (Eng) 76 75, M Veijalainen (Finland) 76 75
152 M Stanic (Slo) 80 72, M Trappel (Aut) 79 73, D Kovari (Hun) 77 75, V Osipov (Russia) 77 75, L Johnston (Sco) 76 76, F Laporta (Ita) 75 77
153 J Fox (Ire) 79 74, B Staben (Ger) 78 75, T Nemecz (Aut) 76 77, O Lieser (Czech Rep) 76 77, A Bolognesi (Ita) 76 77, H Sayin (Tur) 76 77
154 C Griffiths (Eng) 79 75, L Saccarello (Ita) 78 76, M Sogaard (Den) 76 78, D Timms (Eng) 75 79
155 M Eggenberger (Sui) 82 73, M Pastor (Esp) 78 77
157 D Boote (Wal) 77 80 158 A Verschaeren (Lux) 87 71
WTD J McDonald (Sco) 81 WTD
Round Three Draw
07:00 Assaf Cohen (Israel), Jose Maria Joia (Portugal),
07:10 Gary Hurley (Ireland), Maximilian Rohrig (Germany), Mathias Schjoelberg (Norway)
07:20 Victor Perez (France), James Frazer (Wales), Axel Boasson (Iceland)
07:30 Joel Stalter (France), Scott Crichton (Scotland), Jack Hiluta (England)
07:40 Carlos Pigem (Spain), Sebastian Soderberg (Sweden), Paul Dunne (Ireland)
07:50 Lukas Nemecz (Austria), Harry Diamond (Ireland), Moritz Lampert (Germany)
08:00 Bjorn Hellgren (Sweden), Geoff Lenehan (Ireland), Gregory Eason (England)
08:10 Filippo Bergamaschi (Italy), Nick Grant (Ireland), Edouard Amacher (Switzerland)
08:20 Teremoana Beaucousin (France), Thomas Elissalde (France), Marco Iten (Switzerland)
08:30 Antoni Ferrer (Spain), Matthias Boesmans (Belgium), Hugo Rouillon (France)
08:40 Filippo Zucchetti (Italy), Clement Berardo (France), Tim Gornik (Slovenia)
08:50 Marc Dobias (Switzerland), Richard O’Donovan (Ireland), Paul Shields (Scotland)
09:10 Brian Soutar (Scotland), Kristoffer Ventura (Norway), Niklas Lindstrom (Sweden)
09:20 Benjamin Rusch (Switzerland), James White (Scotland), Frank Daux (France)
09:30 Thomas Detry (Belgium), Victor Henum (Denmark), Callum Shinkwin (England)
09:40 Scott William Fernandez (Spain), Ben Stow (England), Paul Barjon (France)
09:50 Daan Huizing (Netherlands), Niclas Carlsson (Sweden), Clement Sordet (France)
10:00 Matthias Schwab (Austria), Maximilian Rottluff (Germany), Michael Saunders (England)
10:10 Robin Kind (Netherlands), Juan Francisco Sarasti (Spain), Nathan Kimsey (England)
10:20 Matthew Clark (Scotland), Graeme Robertson (Scotland), Alan Dunbar (Ireland)
10:30 Garrick Porteous (England), Rhys Pugh (Wales), Philipp Westermann (Germany)
10:40 Lorenzo Scotto (Italy), Kevin Phelan (Ireland), Adrien Saddier (France)
10:50 Pontus Widegren (Sweden), Thomas Pieters (Belgium), Jason Shufflebotham (Wales)
11.00 Goncalo Pinto (Portugal), Thomas Sorensen (Denmark), Daniel Jennevret (Sweden)
11:20, Emilio Cuartero (Spain), Joshua White (England), Marcel Schneider (Germany)
11:30 Robin Sciot-Siegrist (France), Emil Sogaard (Denmark), Jamie Rutherford (England)
11:40 Leo Lespinasse (France), Pep Angles (Spain), Rory McNamara (Ireland)
11:50 Aaron Kearney (Ireland), Fraser McKenna (Scotland), Reeve Whitson (Ireland)
12:00 Harry Casey (England), Richard Bridges (Ireland), Tom Berry (England)
12:10 Jack Hume (Ireland), Dermot McElroy (Ireland), Niall Gorey (Ireland)
12:20 Matt Wallace (England), Luke Thomas (Wales), Joao Carlota (Portugal)
12:30 Lionel Weber (France), Mathieu Decottignies-Lafon (France), Javier Sainz (Spain)
12:40 Joel Girrbach (Switzerland), Jacobo Pastor (Spain), Rowin Caron (Netherlands)
12:50 Peter Valasek (Slovakia), Dominic Foos (Germany), Tapio Pulkkanen (Finland)
13:00 Olafur Bjorn Loftsson (Iceland), Florian Kolberg (Turkey), Kevin Hesbois (Belgium)
13:10 Antoine Schwartz (France), Mateusz Gradecki (Poland), Chris Selfridge (Ireland)
13:30, Borja Virto (Spain), Robbie Van West (Netherlands), Olivier Rozner (France)
13:40 Albert Eckhardt (Finland), Mario Galiano (Spain), Ben Loughrey (England)
13:50 Kristjan Thor Einarsson (Iceland), Ediz Kemaloglu (Turkey), Gregoire Schoeb (France)
14:00 Christoph Weninger (Austria), Paul Ferrier (Scotland), Kenny Subregis (France)
14:10 Corrado de Stefani (Italy), Adam Dunton (Scotland), Ashley Chesters (England)
14:20 Miro Veijalainen (Finland), Martin Stanic (Slovenia), Manuel Trappel (Austria)
14:30 Daniel Kovari (Hungary), Vladimir Osipov (Russia), Liam Johnston (Scotland)
14:40 Francesco Laporta (Italy), James Fox (Ireland), Benedict Staben (Germany)
14:50 Tobias Nemecz (Austria), Ondrej Lieser (Czech Rep), Andrea Bolognesi (Italy)
15:00 Hamza Sayin (Turkey), Curtis Griffiths (England), Luca Saccarello (Italy)
15:10 Mads Sogaard (Denmark), Darren Timms (England), Mathias Eggenberger (Switzerland)
15:20 Marcos Pastor (Spain), David Boote (Wales), Alex Verschaeren (Luxembourg)