Jack Howard came agonisingly close to a spot in Lahinch this week, the Fota Island golfer was just one shot away from making the Irish Open field. Playing alongside 130 of Ireland’s top professionals and amateurs in Moy Valley, Howard shot a three under par 69 in his opening round. Five birdies and two bogies saw him reach the halfway point in fifth place and in with a great shot of claiming one of the four passes to Lahinch. David Ryan was also in on -3 while Conor Coyne was the next best Cork golfer on level par. While several golfers completed their first rounds on Sunday morning, the leaders had to wait to start their second rounds. Although Howard opened with two bogies in Sunday’s second round he recovered before the turn. A birdie on the 13th and an eagle two on the 15th put him back in a positive position but a bogey on the second last hole meant that he missed out on the playoff by one shot. A four under total, with two under par rounds is a strong performance, and given the quality of the field Howard’s top ten finish is impressive. David Ryan carded a second round 75 to finish in 23rd place and Conor Coyne finished down the field after a disappointing 86. Davey Barry, Shane Irwin, Cian McNamara, Ronan Collins and Shane Livesey all finished down the field.
Although disappointing, it’s another very positive step for the PGA Trainee. Back in May he finished in second place in the PGA Irish Club Professional Tournament in Dromoland, after losing out to Damien McGrane in a play-off. That earned Howard a nice cheque but also entry into several tournaments including guaranteed entry to the DDF Irish Open Qualifier. With over 20 more events on the Irish Region PGA Calendar, Howard will have many more chances to compete at the top level this season. Next up is a trip to Portlaoise for the PGA Challenge at the Heritage next week.