Flogas Irish Amateur Open: Newton heads Mullarney by two
James Newton (England) lining up his putt on the 15th green in the second round of the 2019 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo Golf Club (17/05/2019). Picture by  Pat Cashman

James Newton (England) lining up his putt on the 15th green in the second round of the 2019 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo Golf Club (17/05/2019). Picture by Pat Cashman

England's James Newton fired a second successive 66 to take a two-stroke lead over Galway’s Ronan Mullarney at halfway in the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Rosses Point.

Mullarney opened with a course record 62 but had to battle for 72 on day two as Newton, four behind after round one, powered his way to the front.

"I was just trying to keep it stress free," said 24-year-old Newton from Macclesfield. "The holes where you can hit driver, I made the most of those."

Newton eagled 12 for the second day running and has picked up seven shots so far this week on the par fives. His eagle, resulting from a drive and four iron to 15 feet, was the highlight of another superb round. On his first visit to Rosses Point, Newton is clearly enjoying the experience.

"I love it," he said. "There are places where you can miss on this course. If you know where they are then you can make it stress free."

Overnight leader Mullarney fell behind after running up a costly double bogey, three holes from the finish. The Galway man twice reached double-digits under par with birdies at the 12th and 15th but his round came unstuck at the 16th when he missed the green to the right.

"That was tough work," Mullarney admitted. "That's the only way to describe that."

For the most part, the round had been a grind. Although Mullarney began with 11 straight pars, he did not make them in comfort.

"My pace was really good yesterday and it wasn't today," said Mullarney, describing his round two ventures on the greens. "I left myself between three and six feet numerous times today. You can't stay holing them and I knew that. I got away with a few on the front nine so it probably caught up with me on the back nine."

Mullarney showed mettle to close his round with a birdie and is Newton's nearest challenger entering the weekend. To post 72 was far from fatal.  

Germany's Marc Hammer is lying third on seven under. Hammer, playing alongside Mullarney, eagled the last from the fairway to shoot 64, the low round of the day.

A group of five players sit one shot further back, Keith Egan (Carton House) and Robert Moran (Castle) among them. Egan, 26, charged through the field, making six birdies in a fine round of 66. Moran, 19, shot another 68 to continue his ascent of the leaderboard.  Koen Kouwenaar (Netherlands) and English duo, Charlie Strickland and Aaron Edwards Hill, are also six under with two rounds to go.

"We had a good front nine especially, there was no wind," said Egan. "Yesterday, I really struggled with my long game. Today, I just gave myself loads of chances and holed some putts thankfully."

Keith - brother of Ireland's first UFC fighter, Tom 'The Tank' Egan - dropped his only shot at the forbidding 17th. The Kildare man is bullish about his chances, having finished third on his last outing at the Munster Stroke Play in Cork. 

"The first three rounds I played awesome there [Cork] but I couldn't quite get it done," Egan reflected. "It was a nice experience [to be in the mix] and I'm definitely coming here with a chip on my shoulder."

Castle teenager Robert Moran carded a second round of 68 to join Egan in the group at minus six. The 19 year old Dubliner, a nephew of Republic of Ireland soccer legend Kevin, made three birdies on the back nine as he continued to make steady progress.

"Pretty happy with that," said Moran, who played for Ireland at boys level in 2017. "I didn't make too many mistakes. I birdied 12, 13 and 15. It was nice to get a run like that."

At the end of round three, the top 50 and ties progress. Currently, the projected cut is one over par.

Flogas Irish Amateur Open, County Sligo (Par 71)

Detailed scores

After 36 holes

132 J Newton (Eng) 66 66

134 R Mullarney (Galway) 62 72

135 M Hammer (Ger) 71 64

136 K Egan (Carton House) 70 66, R Moran (Castle) 68 68, C Strickland (Eng) 67 69, K Kouwenaar (Ned) 67 69, A Edwards-Hill (Eng) 67 69

137 J McMahon (Eng) 72 65, J Bolton (Eng) 67 70

138 J Wright (Sco) 69 69, E Walker (Sco) 66 72

139 A Hietala (Fin) 71 68, M Roberts (Wal) 71 68, E Murphy (Dundalk) 71 68, C Purcell (Portmarnock) 70 69, J Burnage (Eng) 69 70, G Cullen (The Links Portmarnock) 69 70, B Chamberlain (Wal) 69 70

140 C Butler (Kinsale) 75 65, J Wilson (Sco) 73 67, M Hirmer (Ger) 73 67, S Roger (Sco) 72 68, L Sanges (Wal) 72 68, R Brazill (Naas) 71 69, B Dietzel (Ger) 70 70, B Firth (Eng) 69 71, L Moolman (RSA) 69 71, K Cantley (Sco)  68  72,  J Hull (Eng)  67  73

141 O Huggins (Eng) 71 70, H Byers (Eng) 71 70, M Boucher (Carton House) 71 70, M Honkala (Fin) 71 70, R Cannon (Balbriggan) 70 71, A Herrmann (Ger) 70 71, M Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 70 71, J Johnston (Sco) 69 72, R Muir (Sco) 66 75

142 R Foley (Switzerland) 74 68, D Langley (Eng) 74 68, W Porter (Sco) 73 69, T Vahlenkamp (Ger) 73 69, P McKeever (Castle) 73 69, R Williamson (Holywood) 71 71, A McCormack (Castletroy) 71 71, S MacPherson (Sco) 70 72, T McLarnon (Massereene) 67 75

143 J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 73 70, H Islam (Eng) 73 70, P Coughlan (Castleknock) 71 72, M Naysmith (Sco) 71 72, E McCormack (Galway) 71 72, O Brown (Wal) 70 73, H Foley (Royal Dublin) 70 73, G Burns (Sco) 70 73, J Sugrue (Mallow) 70 73, R McNelis (Fintona) 68 75

144 C Knipes (Eng) 74 70, S Doyle (Black Bush) 73 71, E Mcintosh (Sco) 73 71, M Markovits (Ned) 73 71, C Woollam (RSA) 71 73, A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 71 73, J Cass (Eng) 71 73, G Collins (Rosslare) 71 73, M Lamb (Eng)  70  74,  D Kitt (Athenry)  70  74

145 C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 77 68, J Walsh (Castle) 74 71, A Marshall (Lisburn) 74 71, S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 74 71, C Thornton (Eng) 73 72, M Scowsill (Eng) 73 72, S Walsh (Portmarnock) 73 72, M McClean (Malone Golf Club) 73 72, J Cooper (Eng) 73 72, C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 72 73, P Poate (USA) 71 74, L O'Neill (Connemara) 67 78

146 J Biggs (Eng) 77 69, J Davies (Wal) 77 69, W Dodds (Eng) 76 70, M Essam (Eng) 74 72, G Dunne (Co. Louth) 73 73, J Rowe (Tandragee) 73 73, M Deasy (Lee Valley) 72 74, D Antonisse (Ned) 69 77

147 F van Dijk (Ned) 76 71, D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 76 71, J Byrne (Baltinglass) 74 73, D Howie (Sco) 72 75, H Goddard (Eng) 72 75

148 M Harris (Wal) 78 70, R Lyons (Olympic) 77 71, P O'Keeffe (Douglas) 76 72, M McKinstry (Cairndhu) 75 73, E Smith (The Links Portmarnock) 74 74, M Power (Kilkenny) 73 75, M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 71 77,  M Farr (Eng)  69  79

149 C Salter (Eng) 78 71, J Hawksby (Eng) 74 75, L Irvine (Sco) 72 77, L Owen (Eng) 72 77, J Whelan (Newlands) 71 78

150 C Wilson (Sco) 76 74, F O'Sullivan (Tralee) 75 75, J McCarthy (Grange) 75 75, L Hinton (Eng) 74 76, I Lynch (Rosslare) 73 77

151 M Norton (Belvoir Park) 76 75, R Latimer (Knock) 75 76, J Hapgood (Wal) 75 76

152 J Temple (Portmarnock) 77 75, M Herrmann (Ger) 75 77, P Connolly (Killeen Castle) 74 78

153 J Stokes (Eng) 78 75, Z Karkaletsos (Eng) 78 75, C Morris (Wal) 77 76, T Tetak (Slo) 77 76, C Wilson (Canada) 77 76, C Barrow (Eng) 75 78, R O'Connor (Co. Sligo) 74 79, S Turner (Eng) 73 80, S Desmond (Monkstown) 71 82

155 T O'Connor (Athlone) 79 76

157 J Fox (Portmarnock) 80 77, K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire) 79 78

159 W Small (Tandragee) 82 77, D West (Eng) 77 82, C Otten (Ger) 77 82

RTD M McCormack (The Island), R Dutton (Tandragee), R Black (Hilton Templepatrick)