Dun Laoghaire's Colin Woodroofe fired a joint best-of-the-day 70 to take a three-stroke at halfway in the East of Ireland Amateur Open at a testing County Louth.
The tall, 22-year-old was one of four joint leaders overnight and he confessed that a hot putter was the key to his two-under par in a brisk 20mph southwesterly breeze on a links where firm greens put a premium on driving accuracy and tidy short game play.
At five-under-par, he’s three shots clear of Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse, who followed his opening 69 with a 73 with Cork's Gary O'Flaherty (72), Castle's Daniel Holland (73) and Laytown and Bettystown's Cian Geraghty (73) tied for third, four off the pace on one-under par.
“My putting has been good, so that save me a few times,” said Woodroofe, who four birdies and two bogeys on his card. “It's definitely been the key."
"I started on the back nine and played well and took my chances — on the 13th I hit wedge to four feet and the 15th it was another wedge to eight feet and made those.
"I three-putted the 16th and turned in one under. But it was a struggle on the back nine and more a case of hanging on and holing putts for par.
"I birdied the second, but I made a great bogey on the third after going left, then right and then left of the green with my third.
"I left my first chip down there in the swale but got it up and down for six. Those are the ones that help your score."
A former member of the Leinster Boys panel, Woodroofe had his best championship performance earlier this year, eventually losing to Caolan Rafferty on the 18th in the last 16 of the West of Ireland.
"I drove the fourth and made birdie, but then on the sixth, I had to hit two provisionals and ended up getting away with a five."
As for his hopes of winning the title, he was cautious.
“I came with no expectations, and while it would be nice to win it, I am not going to expect to win now,” he said.
O'Flaherty has been one of the steadiest players so far, dropping just two shots in rounds of 71 and 72.
Defending champion Paul O’Hanlon from Carton House carded a 73 to move up into a share of sixth with Castle’s Robert Moran (73) on level par.
Pierse, this year's West of Ireland runner-up, played very well on his front nine, rolling in a 15 footer for birdie at the 11th to get to four-under par.
He parred his way to the turn to remain near the head of affairs, but like many of the afternoon starters, he found the firm greens and blustery conditions a major challenge and bogeyed the fifth and eighth coming home.
He was playing alongside 16-year-old Kilkenny talent Mark Power, who made some brilliant par saves on his opening nine with the pick of them a 20 footer at the 17th after he was left with no shot to a front left pin from left of the bunker.
He then made three birdies and two bogeys from the third to the seventh but drove into a bunker at the ninth and hit the lip with his attempted escape, running up a frustrating six to add a 74 to his opening 71.
He now shares eighth place with North West's Kyle McCarron (70), Carton House's Des Morgan (75), Forrest Little's Jack McDonnell (73) and Esker Hills' Alan Lowry (76) on one-over-par.
Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan dealt admirably with cloudy conditions to post a fine 71 for a share of 13th on two-over with the likes of joint overnight leader David Foy, who was four-under for the championship with five holes to go but dropped six shots from the 14th and signed for a 77.
The cut will fall after Sunday’s third round with the top 42 and ties — currently four-over — qualifying for Monday’s final round.
East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship Co Louth (Par 72)
- Round SSS 74 CSS 74
- Round 2 SSS 74 CSS 75
Third round tee-times
- 07:41 Ciarán Kelly (USA) Darragh Smith (Castle) Paul O’Sullivan (Old Conna)
- 07:52 Jack Doherty (Carton House) Liam Grehan (Mullingar) Eoin Murphy (Dundalk)
- 08:03 Alan Dowling (Hermitage) Stephen Kinch (Hollystown) Gary McGrane (The Royal Dublin)
- 08:14 Sean Desmond (Monkstown) Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud) Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 08:25 James Fox (Portmarnock) Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis) Jack Walsh (Castle)
- 08:36 Gareth Bohill (Co. Louth) Matthew Fitzsimons (Ardglass) Mathew Kane (Larne)
- 08:47 Daniel Brennan (Shannon) Dylan Brophy (Castleknock) SB Garrett (Portstewart)
- 08:58 Michael Joseph Kennelly (Athenry) Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) Christopher O’Connor (Corrstown)
- 09:09 John Brady (Rosslare) Peter Kerr (Royal Portrush) Shaun O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle)
- 09:20 Aaron Grant (Dundalk) Marc Nolan (Delgany) William Russell (Clandeboye)
- 07:41 David Brady (Co. Sligo) Declan O’Neill (Carton House) Adam Doran (Ardee)
- 07:52 Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) John McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown) Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock)
- 08:03 Thomas Hackett (The Royal Dublin) Declan Reidy (Co. Sligo) Ian Lynch (Rosslare)
- 08:14 Darragh Crawford (Bundoran) Devin Morley (Oughterard) Gavin Smyth (Clonmel)
- 08:25 Nicholas Grant (Shandon Park) Stefan Greenberg (Tandragee) Paul Murphy (Rosslare)
- 08:36 Daniel Coyle (Portmarnock) Keith Murphy (Charlesland) Cathal Nolan (Galway)
- 08:47 Paul Carey (Nenagh) Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth) Robbie Hynes (The Royal Dublin)
- 08:58 Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) Zach Glynn (Bray) Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire)
- 09:09 Ryan Berkeley (Dun Laoghaire) Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) Gary McDermott (Carton House)
- 09:20 Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell) Ross Kelly (Tuam) Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park)
- 12:30 Marc Boucher (Carton House) Robert Neville (The Links Portmarnock) William Small (Tandragee)
- 12:41 Barry Anderson (the Royal Dublin) James Sugrue (Mallow) Gary Ward (Kinsale)
- 12:52 Cathal Butler (Kinsale) Kevin LeBlanc (Island) Marc Norton (Belvoir Park)
- 13:03 Gareth Andrew Carr (Mullingar) Charlie Denvir (Elm Park) James McVicker (Knock Golf Club)
- 13:14 Ross Dutton (Tandragee) Evan Farrell (Ardee) Tiarnan Mclarnon (Massereene)
- 13:25 TJ Ford (Co. Sligo) John Hickey (Cork) Rory Williamson (Holywood)
- 13:36 David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) Jamie Knipe (Royal Portrush) Greg Mungovan (Headfort)
- 13:47 Robert Brazill (Naas) John Murphy (Kinsale) Robbie Pierse (Grange)
- 13:58 Stephen Healy (The Royal Dublin) Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) Sam Sweeney (USA)
- 14:09 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) Kyle McCarron (North West) Robert Moran (Castle)
- 14:20 Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) Gary O’Flaherty (Cork) Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire).
- 12:30 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) Marcus Looby (Greystones) Mark O’Rourke (Royal Tara)
- 12:41 Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin) Jake Whelan (Newlands) Cameron Raymond (Newlands)
- 12:52 Allan Hill (Athenry) Eoin Leonard (Wentworth/Killiney) Padraic O'Brien (Co. Louth)
- 13:03 Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh)
- 13:14 Gary Collins (Rosslare) Sean Flanagan (Co. Sligo) John Greene (Portmarnock)
- 13:25 Sean Doyle (the Island) Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) Mark Morrissey (Co. Sligo)
- 13:36 Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) Paul Coughlan (Moate) Ben Murray (Waterford Castle)
- 13:47 Jim Carvill (Banbridge) Gavin Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) Pat Murray (Clontarf)
- 13:58 Stuart Bleakley (Shandon Park) Luke Donnelly (Kilkenny) Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk)
- 14:09 Alan Lowry (Esker Hills) Desmond Morgan (Carton House) Mark Power (Kilkenny)
- 14:20 Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) Daniel Holland (Castle) Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House)
After 36 Holes
139 C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 69 70;
142 J Pierse (Portmarnock) 69 73;
143 G O’Flaherty (Cork) 71 72, D Holland (Castle) 70 73, C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 70 73;
144 P O’Hanlon (Carton House ) 71 73, R Moran (Castle) 71 73;
145 K McCarron (North West) 75 70, J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 72 73, M Power (Kilkenny) 71 74, D Morgan (Carton House) 70 75, a Lowry (Esker Hills) 69 76;
146 G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 75 71, S Healy (Royal Dublin) 75 71, S Sweeney (USA) 74 72, C Rafferty (Dundalk) 74 72, S Bleakley (Shandon Park) 73 73, L Donnelly (Kilkenny) 72 74, R Brazill (Naas) 72 74, J Murphy (Kinsale) 72 74, R Pierse (Grange) 72 74, G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 71, 75, J Carvill (Banbridge), 71, 75, P Murray (Clontarf), 71, 75, D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown), 69, 77;
147 G Mungovan (Headfort) 73 74, J Knipe (Royal Portrush) 73 74, B Murray (Waterford Castle) 71 76, P Coughlan (Moate) 71 76, R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 71 76, J Hickey (Cork) 70 77;
148 R Williamson (Holywood) 75 73, T Ford (Co. Sligo) 74 74, M Morrissey (Co. Sligo) 74 74, S Doyle (the Island) 74 74, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 74 74, R Dutton (Tandragee) 74 74, T McLarnon (Massereene) 73 75, E Farrell (Ardee) 73 75, G Collins (Rosslare) 72 76, J Greene (Portmarnock) 72 76, S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 72 76, C Denvir (Elm Park) 71 77, G Carr (Mullingar) 71 77;
149 J McVicker (Knock Golf Club ) 77 72, A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 77 72, D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 76 73, M McKinstry (Cairndhu) 75 74, K LeBlanc (Island) 75 74, C Butler (Kinsale) 74 75, M Norton (Belvoir Park) 74 75, A Hill (Athenry) 74 75, P O’Brien (Co. Louth) 74 75, E Leonard (Wentworth/Killiney) 74 75, J Sugrue (Mallow) 74 75, B Anderson (Royal Dublin) 73 76, G Ward (Kinsale) 73 76, J Whelan (Newlands) 72 77;
150 H Foley (Royal Dublin) 78 72, C Raymond (Newlands) 77 73, M Boucher (Carton House) 76 74, R Neville (The Links Portmarnock) 75 75, W Small (Tandragee) 75 75, E Griffin (Waterford) 75 75, M Looby (Greystones) 73 77, M O’Rourke (Royal Tara) 73 77, G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 72 78, R Kelly (Tuam) 72 78, S Cullen (Slieve Russell) 72 78, M Nolan (Delgany) 72 78;
151 W Russell (Clandeboye) 79 72, A Grant (Dundalk) 78 73, G McDermott (Carton House) 76 75, J Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 75 76, R Berkeley (Dun Laoghaire) 73 78, P Kerr (Royal Portrush) 72 79, S O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle ) 71 80;
152 J Brady (Rosslare) 77 75, C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) 76 76, T Collins (Dun Laoghaire) 76 76, Z Glynn (Bray) 74 78, C O’Connor (Corrstown) 74 78, M Kennelly (Athenry), 73, 79, D Coghlan (Portmarnock), 72, 80;
153 P Carey (Nenagh) 80 73, G Dunne (Co. Louth) 77 76, R Hynes (Royal Dublin) 76 77, D Brophy (Castleknock) 75 78, D Brennan (Shannon) 74, 79, S Garrett (Portstewart), 74, 79, K Murphy (Charlesland), 73, 80;
154 D Coyle (Portmarnock) 81 73, C Nolan (Galway) 78 76, M Kane (Larne) 78 76, M Fitzsimons (Ardglass) 77 77, G Bohill (Co. Louth) 77 77, P Murphy (Rosslare) 77 77, S Greenberg (Tandragee) 76 78, N Grant (Shandon Park) 76 78, J Walsh (Castle) 74 80, A Hickey (Ballyhaunis) 72 82;
155 J Fox (Portmarnock) 82 73, D Crawford (Bundoran) 78 77, G Smyth (Clonmel) 76 79, D Morley (Oughterard) 76 79, A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud) 71 84;
156 S McDermott (Co. Cavan) 84 72, E Smith (Laytown & Bettystown) 80 76, S Desmond (Monkstown) 79 77, C Dullaghan (Greenore) 79 77, I Lynch (Rosslare) 79 77, T Hackett (Royal Dublin) 78 78, a Dowling (Hermitage) 77 79;
157 G McGrane (Royal Dublin) 82 75, S Kinch (Hollystown) 79 78, J McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown) 78 79, S McGlynn (Portmarnock) 78 79, D Reidy (Co. Sligo) 77 80, L Grehan (Mullingar) 75 82;
158 E Murphy (Dundalk) 80 78, J Doherty (Carton House) 78 80;
160 A Doran (Ardee) 84 76, D Brady (Co. Sligo) 82 78;
161 M Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 79 82;
162 P O’Sullivan (Old Conna) 82 80, C Kelly (USA) 78 84;
163 D O’Neill (Carton House) 81 82;
164 D Smith (Castle) 82 82;
WD R Cannon (Balbriggan);
Rtd A Myles (Newlands), S Carter (Royal Dublin), R McKinstry (Cairndhu).