Ireland slip eight shots behind leaders at International Team Championship in Greece

Team Ireland (L-r) Joe Dillon, Damian Mooney and Colm Moriarty
Team Ireland (L-r) Joe Dillon, Damian Mooney and Colm Moriarty

Ireland slipped eight shots behind the leaders at the close of play on day two of the International Team Championship in Greece.

The prestigious 30-year old tournament is a 72-hole team stroke play event with the two best scores from a team of three to count in each round.

Damian Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), Joe Dillon (Headfort) and Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) posted a combined second round score of 147 (+5) at the Dunes Course, Costa Navarino

“It’s a proper test of golf,” said Ireland captain Mooney, who carded the team’s low round of the day, a two over par 73.

“The wind was from a totally different direction than on day one and was also a bit stronger. We will keep at it tomorrow and hopefully get a run of scoring going to give us a chance going into the final day.”

Ireland, the defending champions, are now tied for ninth on five over par with Belgium leading the way on three under and Germany tied with Spain in second on one under par.

Scoring proved difficult yesterday with only Germany, Spain and South Africa posting under-par rounds. The round one leaders, Sweden, lost ground with a score of 150 (+8).

Meanwhile, over in Turkey, David Higgins (Waterville) and Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) made strong starts at the PGA Play-offs.

David Dixon, who is attached to Enmore Park Golf Club in Somerset, posted a four-under-par round of 67 to lead the 24-strong field in the chase for the £3,500 first prize.

Higgins is one shot back following a bogey-free, three under par round of 68 with Thornton a shot further back in a tie for fifth following a 69.

The PGA in Ireland’s third representative, Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) opened his campaign with a one over par 72 to tie for 13th.

The occupants of the first three places will play in the GB&I PGA Cup team charged with recording an historic hat-trick of victories over the USA in Texas next year.

And places in two European Tour events are also up for grabs: the top two will also qualify for the 2019 British Masters and the first four the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next September.