Whitson undone by unfortunate mistake

Reeve Whitson. Picture: Eoin Clarke www.golffile.ie

Mourne's Reeve Whitson paid a high price for a rookie error when he was penalised several times for placing in the rough en route to an opening 80 in the Challenge Tour's Vacon Open.

The Newcastle native ended up having to penicil in two sevens on his card on the front nine when he was told after nine holes that he was mistaken in his belief that he could place.

Playing on invitations, Whitson now needs a miracle to make the cut at stunning Kytäjä Golf in Finland as he ended the day 153rd in the 154-man field on nine over

Englishmen Charlie Ford and Paul Maddy took advantage of the serene conditions to soar into a share of the lead with a pair of 64s.

The two compatriots sat atop the leaderboard on seven under par as the overnight rain softened the greens and the wind, which whipped through the lakeside venue prior to the event, was reduced to barely a breath on day one of the sixth edition of the popular event.

Frenchman Guillaume Cambis and Dodge Kemmer of the USA shared second place on six under par, having both carded 65s.

If it was a bad day for Whitson, it was a good one for Lugan's Gareth Shaw, who dropped just one shot in a three under 68 that leaves him tied for 15th.

Rosapenna's Ruaidhri McGee is a shot further back after late bogeys at the 16th and 17th saw him sign for a 69.

Alan Dunbar was two under early but faded to a 73 and 103rd spot with Stephen Grant's 75 leaving him 124th.

Mike Kelly is also struggling after a seven over 78. 


64 C Ford (Eng), P Maddy (Eng), 

65 G Cambis  (Fra), D Kemmer (USA), 

66 A Hortal  (Esp), W Booth  (Sco), 

67 M Lafeber (Ned), P Dwyer (Eng), J Granberg  (Fin), T Linard (Fra), J Huldahl (Den), A Rota (Ita), H Bacher (Aut), B Virto  (Esp), 

68 G Shaw (Nir), 

69 R McGee (Irl), 

73 A Dunbar (Nir), 

75 S Grant  (Irl),

78 M Kelly (Irl),

80 R Whitson (Nir)/