O'Hara has the wind in his sails
PAUL O'Hara harnessed the strong winds sweeping over the Old Course yesterday to keep his challenge for the St Andrews Links Trophy on track. With scores soaring in the testing conditions, the 22-year-old from Colville Park carded a battling level-par 72 for a three-under aggregate of 140 to move into a two-shot lead over Welshman Rhys Enoch.
O'Hara, who won the Edward Trophy order of merit event earlier this season, illuminated a tidy round by holing his third shot from 15 yards at the fifth for an eagle three as his bid to emulate the 2001 Links Trophy success of his older brother Steven gathered pace.
"It was always going to be a battle in the conditions so I just set out to hit fairways and greens and do the basics well," said O'Hara, a member of the GB&I Walker Cup elite training squad. "Despite the wind I still made some decent chances and it could've been a couple of shots better. But I'm happy with the way I played and this was a day to dig in and keep myself in it."
Welsh cap Enoch, making his return to the amateur circuit just a month after the death of his younger brother and fellow Walker Cup squad member Ben, reeled off four birdies in a one-under 71 to keep the pressure on O'Hara while Lancashire's former British Boys' champion Matthew Nixon posted 16 pars and two birdies in a neatly assembled 70 to sit on the 143 mark with Kent's Matt Haines.
Overnight leader Ross Kellett slipped off the top with a 77 for 144 but, after finding the water with his opening tee-shot, the 21-year-old was still in the mix on a 144 with 36-holes to play.
Caprington's Steven McEwan, last year's SGU No.1, carved out a level-par 72 and finished on the 148 mark alongside Eisenhower Trophy winner Wallace Booth.
But Carnoustie's defending champion Keir McNicoll made an early exit from the contest as he slithered to an 80 and missed the cut with a 151.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North