Colm Campbell stays relaxed in pursuit of Jack Hume
WARRENPOINT'S Colm Campbell is prepared to be patient and use his experience as he trails title favourite Jack Hume by just one stroke after the opening round of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.
The 22-year old Hume, from Naas, holed a 60-yard lob wedge for eagle three at the sixth and added five birdies against just two dropped shots in a career-best, five-under 67 around the Bull Island links to lead by one from Campbell, Waterford’s Eanna Griffin and Sam Whitaker from Blankness Golf Club in Lincolnshire.
Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell, Edmondstown’s Barry Daly and Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon, from Massereene, are in a five-way tie for fifth with the Isle of Man’s Tom Gandy and England’s Adam Chapman after three-under 69s.
But Campbell reckons that Hume is the man to beat and he’s prepared to bide his time and play sensible golf as he seeks to add another “major” to his 2014 East of Ireland triumph.
“He just doesn’t give you a break, does he?” said Campbell of Hume after a 68 that featured an eagle, three birdies and just one bogey.
“He is just so consistent. He is playing great golf and has been since the Walker Cup last year.”
In contrast to recent, weather-battered stagings of the championship, a mild 15mph southwest wind made for ideal scoring conditions at a course measuring 7,160 yards — 137 yards shorter than the card.
With tees pushed up by an average of 25 yards at the seventh, 10th 12th, 13th and 17th, it proved no obstacle to the world’s number nine-ranked amateur Hume, who is chasing his third title this year.
Out in the 10th group of the day, the Kildare man got off to a flying start by following birdies at the second, third and fifth with that hole-out for an eagle three at the sixth putting him five-under-par.
He then completed a “mad” front nine of four-under 31 with a bogey-birdie-bogey run from the seventh becoming coming home in one-under 36 with eight pars and a lone birdie at the par-five 14th.
“I think I played well enough to be a couple lower but I’m happy with that,” said Hume.
“It was so much more enjoyable just to be able to swing freely and not have to feel like you almost have to balance yourself over the ball.”
Campbell birdied the 18th thanks to a rescue to five feet and he was happy with his career low round at Royal Dublin.
“The conditions were perfect,” he said. “When we teed off it was only a one club wind. Ideal for links golf
“I chipped in for eagle at the sixth to go three-under, bogeyed the seventh, missed a few chances and then holed a good second putt for par from 10 feet at the 10th to keep the momentum going.”
Campbell then birdied the 13th thanks to an four iron to eight feet before finishing with a fine three.
“I am playing a lot more consistently than I was this time last year,” said Campbell.
“I am a lot more patient. I am not forcing it as much and I am just sticking to a good game plan and if I hit it in trouble I don’t try to hit a spectacular shot, I just take my medicine and try to make par.”
Irish Close champion McLarnon birdied the 14th, 16th and 18th for an excellent 69 in the tougher afternoon conditions but it was a disappointing day for some stars.
West of Ireland winner Jonathan Yates, East and South champion Stuart Grehan, Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy, Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith and Tramore’s Robin Dawson all signed for 75s.