One-ball Lernihan takes two-shot lead at PGA Challenge

Dara Lernihan, pictured with his young caddie Shane Lowry during last year's Irish PGA at Roganstown, leads the Johnston Mooney & O'Brien PGA Challenge at Carton House. Picture Picture Fran Caffrey

Dara Lernihan has a two-shot lead heading into the second and final round of the PGA Challenge sponsored by Johnston Mooney & O'Brien at Carton House.

The Elm Park professional carded a flawless six under par 67 at the O'Meara Course on a day when only eight competitors managed to finish under par.

Full leaderboard


The former amateur star went to the turn in five under 32 with birdies a the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth. He failed to take a number of chances on the back nine but stayed patient and picked up another shot at the par five 17th.

“I haven't been playing great the last month or two. I've been struggling a bit off the tee so today I hit a lot of three woods to keep ball in play and that worked out well,” said Lernihan.

“I'm concentrating on finishing with the same ball I start with. I haven't been doing that recently.”

Lernihan finds himself in a familiar position at Carton House. Last year he opened up with a six under par round to lead the PGA Challenge before falling away in the second round, carding a four over 72 to finish tied for eight. With that experience in mind, he is hoping that a steady round today (Wednesday) will be enough to keep him in the mix.

“I will be happy if I play well and keep the same ball again,” he added.

Michael McDermott is in second on four under par. A double bogey at the par four 10th was the only blemish on the card for the Pure Golf Leopardstown representative. Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & Golf Club) and Neil O'Briain are a shot further back after carding three under par rounds of 70.

PGA Challenge sponsored by Johnston Mooney & O'Brien, at Carton House (O'Meara)

Leading Scores (round one)

1 Dara Lernihan (Elm P ark GC) 67

2 Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown)  69

T3 Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) 70

T3 Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC) 70

5 Graeme Dunlea (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort) 71

T6 Steve Moore (Spawell Driving Range) 72

T6 Mark O'Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre) 72

T6 Patrick Small (Galway GC) 72

T9 David Ryan (Cahir Park GC) 73

T9 Enda McLoughlin (Wicklow GC) 73

T9 David Reilly (Westmanstown GC) 73