Minkyu Kim hits an eagle to take lead at NI Open

Early leader Minkyu Kim
Early leader Minkyu Kim

Minkyu Kim eagled his final hole of the day take a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the Galgorm Resort and Spa NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf.

Kim had started brightly with four birdies over his opening nine holes, and despite a double-bogey at the par three fifth, his late flourish saw him sign for a 67 and take a one-shot advantage ahead of France’s Victor Perez, Denmark’s Mark Flindt Haastrup, Wales’s Stuart Manley and home favourite Cormac Sharvin who carded a bogey-free six under par 65.

“Six under is never bad on any course. I got off to a good start, hit a good shot into the first and holed it across the slope. I had a two-putt birdie on two. Then I was pretty steady from there,” said Sharvin.

“I hit a couple of loose shots but kind of scrambled well. It wasn’t totally flawless out there, I managed myself very well around the golf course.”

Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell moved into a share of ninth on eight under par on the back of an excellent five under par 66.

“Everything’s kind of going well. I’m driving it well, my irons are good and I’m making some putts, which you have to do to make birdies, so everything’s pretty good at the minute,” said Caldwell.

“I started working with Gareth (Maybin) here about a month back and things took some time to bed in but they’re starting to pay off now.”

The cut fell at level par which cost Michael Hoey and 2017 champ Robin Sciot-Siegrist a place in the weekend. Unfortunately for the Tournament Ambassador is was his fifth missed cut in six visits to the NI Open.

“I wasn’t swinging it well. It’s a cruel game, that’s what happens. I pulled it long left into the water on six. I had water on the club face on the eighth and it went straight left,” said Hoey.

“It’s fine margins. It’s really annoying because I wasn’t even thinking about the cut.”