Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell was left buying the after-round drinks in the Algarve yesterday after his superb hole-in-one during round two of the Portugal Masters.
The Clandeboye ace drained his tee shot on the 209-yard par-three sixth at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club, cutting a four-iron on the perfect line and seeing it roll in for the hole-in-one.
It was Caldwell’s first ever hole-in-one in a professional event and it was the highlight of another day where he remained in contention for a strong finish heading into the weekend.
The round as a whole wasn’t as good as he would have liked, five bogeys and two birdies contributing to a one-over-par 72 which dropped him back to five under overall, but the 36-year-old is still just four shots behind second-placed Sihwan Kim (USA).
Both Caldwell and Kim will have plenty of work to do to reel in the leader, however, with France’s Julien Guerrier five shots clear with two rounds to play after a five-under 66 on day two took him to 14 under overall and into a commanding lead.
There was disappointment for Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass), though, as he could only card a five-over 76 in his second round and missed the cut at four over.
Caldwell and Sharvin will be back on local shores in a couple of weeks, however, with both players signed up to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle, starting on September 24, as expected.
The event will also see European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington play his first event in six months having agreed to compete at the Co Antrim course, with Open champion Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne also signed up.
Other notable names included on the European Tour’s provisional entry list are former Ryder Cup players Thorbjorn Olesen, Nicolas Colsaerts, Stephen Gallacher and Chris Wood.
At the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, Stephanie Meadow (Galgorm Castle) is still in contention going into the weekend at the second women’s Major of the year.
The Jordanstown ace shot a one-under-par 71 in her second round to take her to three under par overall, however that is eight shots adrift of leader Nelly Korda (USA), who is 11-under.
At the Conor O’Dwyer Charity Pro-Am at Kilkea Castle in Co Kildare, Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) and Simon Thornton (Tulfarris) both finished as joint winners as two of six players tied at the top on two under par.
Kilpatrick also finished second in the team event, beaten only by the team of Tim Rice (Limerick).