Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Northern Irish amateur golfer Paul Cutler showing professionals how it’s done at Irish Open

Paul Cutler
Paul Cutler

Amateur star Paul Cutler has his sights set on causing a major upset at the Irish Open Championship.

While big names like Open champions Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington bit the dust, the 21-year-old Walker Cup candidate is riding high in Killarney.

Cutler, who plays out of Portstewart, fired a brilliant 67 and is six under par going into today's third round.

Shane Lowry won the event at Baltray two years ago before turning professional and Cutler is thinking along the same lines.

Asked if he could win he replied: "Yeah, why not."

"I've just got to keep playing away.

"You have to try and win every tournament you play or else you wouldn't play.

"I've played well in Ireland this year, struggled a little in Britain, but hopefully making an impression this week.

"Obviously winning is not impossible, but won't be easy.

"I'll just try and do the same thing over the next two days.

"If I do that then it will be fine."

But Cutler, who disappointed in last year's event, insists he has learned a lot from the experience.

"Last year I was too hyped up and was trying too hard," he said. "This time I'm just trying to play my own game.

"It's so easy to get caught up in the crowds and stuff, but this time I'm just focusing on my own game and it's working so far.

"I had no expectations really when I came, my only aim being to make the cut."

Cutler is no stranger to success. Last year he won the Lytham Trophy, the big amateur stroke play championship.

And already this year he has triumphed at the West of Ireland Amateur Open and the Irish Amateur Close Championship.

So he sure has the right temperament.

Meanwhile, a visit to his hotel steam room ironed out Graeme McDowell's back trouble and let him shine in the Killarney sunshine yesterday.

G-Mac was haunted by back pain as he laboured to an opening 72 on the testing Killeen course.

But after cancelling an important dinner date for his steam session, the Portrush hero turned on the style.

A welcome return to form for the maligned former US Open title winner, who was becoming a target for snipers, some of whom were ready to write him off as a spent force.

But he has responded in the best way possible, keeping his counsel and biting back on the golf course.

McDowell has been accused of losing the golden touch, which carried him to the historic victory in America, the Celtic Manor Wales Open and also the Andalucia Valderrama Masters and that sensational play-off win over Tiger Woods at the Chevron World Challenge.

Suddenly he's back in the mix in the event which has attracted record crowds to County Kerry thanks to a sizzling 66 which included six birdies and only one bogey.

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