Royal Birkdale

Mulligan and Kerr qualify in British Boys

County Louth’s Thomas Mulligan and Royal Portrush’s Peter Kerr were the only Irish qualifiers for Thursday’s matchplay stages of the British Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Birkdale and Southport and Ainsdale.

Mulligan and Kerr qualify in British Boys

Harrington retains the Open and joins the greats

It will rank up there with the greatest achievements in Irish sporting history but as he cradled the old Claret Jug for the second year in succession, new world No 3 Padraig Harrington preferred bask in the glory of an imperious victory rather and reflect on where it might place him in the pantheon of Irish sporting greats.

Zulu dawn for McGrane

Debut boy Damien McGrane reckons there could be Zulus hiding in the rough at Royal Birkdale.

The grass is waist high in places at the Southport track and the Meath man want to avoid it at all costs when he tees off in the 'Zulu Dawn' patrol with Jerry Kelly and Darren Fichardt at 7.03am.

Anxious to make his Major debut at last, McGrane said: "It is a tough track. There are a lot of tough holes out there and you have to hit long, straight tee shots.

"If you play well, you will do well and if you don't you will get hammered, especially by the rough.

"I haven't lost the bag in it yet and I haven't see any Zulus out there yet either.

Harrington's hole by hole guide to Royal Birkdale

Royal Birkdale has reduced some of golf’s superstars to quivering wrecks but Padraig Harrington still wishes the course was even harder.

Vulnerable to gale force winds from the Irish Sea, the Merseyside links is a fearsome beast when the weather gets rough.

Padraig feeling good for Birkdale

Padraig Harrington is feeling good about his chances of hanging on to the Claret Jug for another year after retaining his Irish PGA title by four shots at The European Club.

The Dubliner grabbed his first win for more than eight months when he closed with a 72 to finish four shots clear of surprise Open qualifier Philip Walton on one-over par.

And while he spotted a flaw in his set up that he hopes to sort out before Thursday's opening round at Royal Birkdale, he arrived on Merseyside yesterday with an extra spring in his step