Castle’s Daniel Holland has been threatening to do big things since he won the Mullingar Scratch Trophy two years ago. Today he has a chance to make his mark after a course record equalling 65 left him a shot behind England’s Jimmy Mullen ahead of the final 36 holes of the Welsh Open Stroke Play Championship at Ashburnham.
England’s Sam Edwards set the new record for "The Ash" with a 65 in the morning before Holland matched him in the afternoon, racking up seven birdies in an immaculate effort to get to nine under par, one behind Royal North Devon’s Mullen (67, 67).
“All aspects of my game were very good,” said Holland, who will go out in the final two ball with Mullen at 10.12 and 15.02. “I started well, hit it to five feet on the fourth for my first birdie and then pitched close on the fifth for another.
“I got up and down on the par-three sixth for par the holed a good putt on the seventh for another birdie. I missed from around five feet on the eighth to go four under, but I hit a wedge to about six feet to set up a birdie three at the ninth.”
That meant an outward half of 32 for Holland but there were more birdies to come as he birdied the 10th and remained patient to pick up two more strokes, on the 12th and 18th, both par fours.
“It was nice to see some putts drop,” said Holland. “I scrambled well on the 16th, getting up and down from the bunker left, and then got up and down from the back of the 17th to keep it going.”
Welshman Ben Westgate is third on six under with Edwards and Scot Craig Howie tied fourth on five under.
Holland’s fellow Castle man Alex Gleeson is joint sixth, just six strokes off the lead on four under after a brilliant finish to his second round.
Three over with three holes to play after a rollercoaster day, he birdied the last three to keep his title holes alive.
R&A selector Peter McEvoy was on site but Dermot McElroy couldn’t impress, carding a two over 74 to share 13th on one under.
Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon (72) and Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell (73) are tied 26th on one over with Kilkeel’s William Hanna (71) 41st on the two over cut mark.
Naas Jonathan Yates (75 73) missed out on four over.