Brian KeoghComment

Moynihan on song in paradise

Brian KeoghComment
Moynihan on song in paradise
 Gavin Moynihan  

Gavin Moynihan  

Gavin Moynihan refused to let a late monsoon dampen his mood as he carded a sweet 65 to soar into contention for the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open.

The man from The Island drove the ball brilliantly and holed out clinically inside 10 feet to go into the weekend alone in fifth place, just four strokes behind American Kurt Kitayama on 10-under par.

”The driver is the key at the minute," said Moynihan (24) after making eight birdies in a sparkling seven-under-par effort at Four Seasons Golf Club at Anahita.

"I'm just playing more consistently and giving myself a lot of looks for birdies.

“I played in Heritage last year and as soon as I got in I couldn't wait to get back out here. It's very hot, but it's an amazing place. It's a very chilled week, almost a reward for getting through Q-School.

"I'll just enjoy the week but you have to play well, just freewheel it a bit. Obviously, I'm looking forward to the next few days."

Bubbling with confidence after winning back his card, Moynihan was eight-under for his round with two holes to play before making bogey at the 220-yard eighth, his 17th, for the second day running.

But he wasn't beating himself up for that but feeling positive about the critical par saves he made early in his round.

”I made an unreal up and down on 11, holed a 15 footer for par. Big breaker," he said. "Then I birdied the next two and made a great par on 16 too, a nice up and down from 30 yards short.

Buoyed by that stretch, he birdied the 17th and 18th to turn in 32 and picked off four more birdies before bogeying the tough eighth as the heavens opened.

”I've been driving it great for the last three, four months and playing well the last four, five weeks through Q School and Valderrama," said Moynihan, who went eight months without making a cut after coming through Q-School last year.

"If I keep getting it right off the tee I should be creating a lot of chances. I've hardly missed any greens and the putter felt good today, so I'll just keep that going."

Fellow Q-School graduate Kitayama shot a second successive 65 to lead by two shots on 14-under after halfway from India's S Chikkarangappa with French duo Victor Perez and Matthieu Pavon tied third on 11-under.

Muskerry's Niall Turner bogeyed the 16th and 18th holes, however, carding a 73 to miss the level par cut by a shot.

Michael Hoey, Cormac Sharvin and Robin Dawson were also cut in the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland where defending champion Cameron Smith shot a 65 to lead by one stroke on nine-under-par from Marc Leishman and  Jake McLeod.

Hoey shot 72 to miss the level par cut by six shots with Sharvin a shot further back after a 73 as Dawson posted a 75 that left him on 11-over.

At the Staysure Tour's Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Golf Masters, Brendan McGovern fired a four-under 68 to move up to 33rd, ten shots behind leaders Rafael Gomez and Paul Streeter on one-under par.

Des Smyth leads the Irish challenge on one-under after a 71 with Paul McGinley level after a 72, Eamonn Darcy (77) six over and Philip Walton (75) eight over.

Proof that Tiger Woods moves the needle in golf was evident again night as his 18th hole rules controversy overshadowed leaders Jon Rahm and Henrik in the $3.5m Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

As the Spaniard blasted a nine-under 63 to the Swede's 66 to leave them a shot clear of Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay on 10-under, all talk was of how Woods escaped penalty for a possible double-hit on the final hole because it was not immediately visible to the naked eye.

It took a super slow-motion replay to reveal that he had almost scooped his  escape back into play as he dropped to his knees to extricate his ball from  a palmetto bush

In the end, the tournament host finished with a double-bogey six for a 69 that left him tied for 14th in the 18-man field on two-under.

But it took officials more than 15 minutes to determine that Woods deserved no penalty under Decision 14/3, which governs infractions that come to light only through the use of sophisticated technology.

"I didn’t feel like I violated any rules, but the rules official pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, there may be a violation there,'" said Woods, who this week backed Padraig Harrington's likely selection as Europe's 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy.

“We took a look at it. They were in the truck watching it, trying to determine whether or not I had hit the ball twice.

“I didn’t feel like I hit it twice. It happened so fast and was such a short motion.

“But under high-def and super-slow-mo you can see it, I made contact twice. … There is no violation, I guess, so I shot what I shot today.”

Rules official Mark Russell said: “Tiger didn’t think he hit the ball twice and it was not discernible to the naked eye.

“We had to look at high-speed, slow-motion video to determine that the ball probably did stay on the clubface a little too long.

“But there was no way he could have known that, and with this new decision there is no penalty.”