Ireland’s quartet of challengers are outside the cut mark entering the second round of the BMW Italian Open.
Darren Clarke and Damien McGrane shot one under 71s but that was still only good enough for a share of 72nd place at Royal Park Golf & Country Club near Turin.
English pair Robert Rock and Chris Wood blasted eight under par 64s to lead by a shot from Scotland’s Scott Jamieson, Dane Thorbjorn Olesen and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello with Italians Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari in a six-man group just two adrift on six under after rounds of 66.
Manassero was playing with Clarke but while the experienced Ulsterman beat his 18 year old rival on the opening nine as he went out in four under par, he failed to keep it going on the way home as he mixed two birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey six.
Manassero was suitably pleased with his score and generous to 43 year old Clarke, telling Reuters: “”I’m becoming quite close to Darren and it is good to hear from him how to handle the pressure of trying to win, he’s been there many times.”
Like the Clarke group, which also featured a three over 75 from Colin Montgomerie, McGrane started on the back had one biride and one bogey on the outward half.
He dropped another shot at the second but bounced back with birdies at the third and sixth for his 71.
However, it was a more disappointing day for Simon Thornton and Paul McGinley.
Bidding to win back his tour card, Thornton was one under through 10 holes but could pick up just one more shot at the short sixth (his 15ht) against bogeys at his 11th, 13th and 16th holes.
Playing thanks to his position in the top 40 career earners, McGinley has made just four cuts from 10 starts this year.
Ranked 200th in the Race to Dubai standings, he faces an uphill battle to survive after a birdieless, three over 75 in which he hit just four fairways and took 33 putts.