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Irish Open: Sergio Garcia's smile gets turned upside down

By Steven Beacom

The Royal County Down course chewed them up and spat them out with some of the biggest names in golf falling like skittles on the opening two days.

All eyes may have been on Holywood hero Rory McIlroy in his second round, as he tried manfully to make the cut only for those hopes to be dashed, but he wasn't the only superstar swept away by the wind and rain on the famous Newcastle links.

Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer won't be playing at the weekend either.

The Spaniard had a Friday to forget. Prior to the tournament starting he was loving it in here.

There was a constant smile on his face on Tuesday night as, along with McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, he entertained a select gathering at a fundraising evening for the Cancer Fund for Children at Daisy Lodge. On Wednesday, when he played the course for the first time in a practice round, he was cheered by the support he received.

Once the serious business started, though, the 35-year-old, whose first European Tour win was the 1999 Irish Open, found it tough going.

He battled to a four over par 75 on day one, but yesterday he couldn't cope with the tricky conditions, hitting an eight over par 79, leaving him at +12 for the opening two rounds, so far away from the +5 cut line that he could barely see it.

The only bright spot in between too many showers for Garcia was a birdie at the second. Five bogeys and two double bogeys, however, made it irrelevant.

By the close of his round, one of the Ryder Cup's finest was just happy to get into the clubhouse, but not before he threw his ball to a delighted young boy, who was on a school trip.

Kaymer, who holed that unforgettable putt to win the Ryder Cup for Europe at Medinah, didn't hole too many yesterday.

The two-time major winner, in the marquee group alongside McIlroy and Fowler, actually scored an impressive two under par 69, which included four birdies. His problem was that he had a terrible first round, hitting a 79, which left him +6 overall, missing out by a single shot.

Other notable failures included French favourite Victor Dubuisson, who played in last year's victorious European Ryder Cup winning team, and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts.

Dubuisson was only three over entering the second round, but shot a terrible 13 over par 84 taking his total to +16. Two eights and a seven clearly didn't help.

Colsaerts was a little unlucky just missing out on six over after a 75 in his second round followed up his earlier 73. Peter Lawrie (Ireland) +8, David Howell (England) +6, Peter Hanson (Sweden) +9 and France's Alexander Levy (+6) also missed the cut.

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