McGinley to take tee-break at Lahinch
 Paul McGinley at Lahinch. Picture: Brian Arthur

Paul McGinley at Lahinch. Picture: Brian Arthur

Paul McGinley wants to be the host with the most at Lahinch next year and plans to sit out the Irish Open for the first time in 27 years.

The Dubliner (51) has had to pull out twice with knee injuries — in 2006 at Carton House and at Royal County Down three years ago — but next year will be the first time he hasn’t played since his debut in 1992.

Determined to make Lahinch a massive success as host, McGinley said: "I won't be playing. I need to concentrate on my role as host.

"It really important we make it a great festival of golf and build on what Rory has done to revitalise the tournament.

“They are really looking forward to it down in Lahinch and people from the club are here in Ballyliffin this week to see how they've gone about things."

Mum’s the word for G-Mac

Graeme McDowell doesn't celebrate his 39th birthday until July but he's already feeling old after being asked for a selfie for Adrien Saddier's mother.

The French starlet (26) outgunned McDowell by four shots yesterday then asked him to pose for a picture with him so he could send it to one of McDowell’s admirers - his “Maman.”

G-Mac joked: "You could say that Adrian is so young that his mum likes me. He said I was for his mum." 

Saddier is one of new generation of Challenge Tour stars making their mark at Ballyliffin and McDowell was impressed.

He said: “I hadn't heard of him until last week.  He’s a flusher, a great player. 

“The young players are getting better all the time and the standard is very high.

"There’s not a lot of room for average golf any more on any side of the pond.”

Rahm-page 

Defending champion Jon Rahm was frustrated to card “only” a 67 as he attempts to do what only Seve Ballesteros has managed in the last 33 years — win the Spanish Open and the Irish Open in the same year.

Seve beat Bernhard Langer in a playoff at Royal Dublin to claim his second Irish Open in June 1985 and went on to reign in Spain the following October.

But while Rahm held off Paul Dunne in Madrid in April, he kicked his bag on the back nine as he followed a scorching five-under 30 outward nine with nine straight pars.

He had to stop himself punching a hoarding as he walked to recorders on six-under for the tournament, admitting: "It's frustrating because I played extremely good and I felt like I could have gone a lot lower.

"Let's just hope tomorrow will be a better day."

As for his dream of defending the title, he said:  "It was my first European Tour win, and to successfully defend it would be absolutely amazing. 

"To tie Seve in that sense of being the second Spaniard to win it twice would be amazing. 

"The people are gracious around here. They really understand the game of golf, and they enjoy good golf. 

“I know I play very different golf to what they are used to watching when I’m hitting drivers all over the place on this course."

Car park finish for Simon

Simon Thornton made the bogey of the day at the 18th but he's not going to go down in history as the car park champion.

The former Royal County Down assistant (41) was one-over playing the 18th and shanked his approach so far right from a tough spot in the rough that it ended up in the hospitality car park.

It took rules officials an age to give him a line of sight relief from the hospitality pavilion that he had to let two groups through, taking 35 minutes to play the hole.

After getting up and down for his five and a 74 that leaves him on level par, he beamed: “I just wish I'd hit the green with my third!

“It's still been a great week and I've got nothing to lose."