EUROPEAN TOUR

Gavin Moynihan slips back as Miguel Ángel Jiménez rolls back the years at the Austrian Open

By Nitanti Alur

Round two of the Austrian Open kicked off today at the Diamond Country Club and Gavin Moynihan did not have the day he would have wanted. The 25 year old, played his front nine steadily, with the exception of a bogey on the 2nd. His back nine was a little different, after a rocky start - double bogey on the 10th. He came back smoothly parring the next two. A birdie on the par 4, 13th changed his round and he finished with two birdies on his last three holes. Moynihan fell 42 places from yesterday, finished two over and is tied 61st.

Fellow Dubliners, Niall Kearney and Robin Dawson had a solid second rounds at the Austrian Open. Dawson had a birdie on the first and parred the next eight holes. The 24 year old started his back nine with bogey’s on the 10th and 11th. He came back with a birdie on the 13th and a spectacular eagle on the par 5, 15th. He climbed 30 spaces and finished two under.

Nail Kearney started off with a bogey on the first and a birdie on the second. The 32 year old birdied the 4th and 6th with a bogey in the middle on the par 4, 5th. Finishing his front nine one under. Kearney had a strong back nine, with three birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th. He finished his round three under and is tied 102nd. Although, Kearney and Dawson both had a good rounds, it was nit enough to make the cut.

Marc Warren continued to carry his own bag after his caddy, Ken Herring, had his mandatory pandemic test results delayed. The 39 year old sunk four birdies to finish his round three under. He is currently tied in 2nd place along with fellow Scotsman, Craig Howie, who made a brilliant eagle on the sixteenth and finished three under.

Marc Warren has not claimed a title since the 2014, Made in Demark, where he reached his best ranking of 64th. Warren who is currently 1258th in the world is looking to change that and is on the right course. “The course was calm and you could make a few birdies early on so overall, it was a pretty solid day, nothing overly spectacular but pleased with a solid round again. So, with no caddy this week there’s no one to moan at if you get a club wrong. It’s trying to keep on top of the other stuff, making sure there’s water in the bag – especially in conditions like today – which I’ve been taking for granted over the last 15 or so years. Next time I’ve got a caddie on the bag I might go a little easier on him (laughing).” He added.

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Craig Howie. Photo by Golffile

Craig Howie, the former Scottish amateur Champion played a smart round, starting off with a birdie on the first, and consecutive birdies on the 4th, 5th and 6th. After an unfortunate bogey on the 7th, he finished his front nine three under. Howie started his back nine steadily parring every hole along with a fantastic eagle on the par 5, 16th. He ended his round with a bogey on the 18th and is currently tied second, just two shots off the lead.

The 25 year old added “I have zero expectations this week, I still do. My game isn’t really amazing, if I’m honest. It’s not as sharp as I’d hope to be expected but then I’m putting the ball really well.  So, we’re doing well and it must have something to do with doing quarantine right in Scotland.”

Overnight leader Joost Luiten kicked his front nine off with birdies on the 1st and the 4th. He had an unfortunate triple bogey on the par four, 7th, to finish his front nine one over. He came back strong in his back nine, birdieing the 12th, 13th and 14th holes. Dutchman Joost Luiten, who won his second European Tour title on this course in 2013, finished his round two under and fell one place to tie for second. 

34 year old Joost Luiten said “ I had 17 good holes and just one bad hole. I had a seven on the seventh, that didn’t help. I felt back and made some nice birdies on the back nine. It could have been a couple more - two under with a seven is not bad but there was more in there. I made a seven, it should have been a bogey at the worst. But you make a seven and have to accept it. You have to remind yourself that you’re playing well and there will be more chances to come. Luckily I made three on the bounce on the back nine. It’s just staying patient – it’s only day two and you need to keep yourself in there and try to make some birdies.” 

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Miguel Ángel Jiménez. Photo by Golffile

But the day belonged to 56 year old, Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who spent the lockdown in the Dominican Republic. He skilfully played his way into contention with a spectacular second round. After a first round 68, Jiménez started the round with a brilliant birdie. He parred the 2nd and birdied the 3rd and 4th holes. The Spaniard dropped a shot on the 5th only to come back with birdies on the 6th, 8th and 9th. His back nine was filled with birdies and bogeys and ultimately finished the round seven under, his lowest round on the European Tour.

Affectionately known as the ‘The Mechanic’ and the oldest Tour winner, after winning the Open de Espana in 2014 at the age of 50. He said “It’s relaxing being here. I lived here for a few years, my wife is from here. Now we live in the Dominican but I’ve been a resident here for four years, now on the Champions Tour I moved my base, but I love the place. I love Austria and Vienna. We have a house in Bad Waltersdorf. When I’m not competing, we’re in this part of the world; we spend time here, time in Malaga, I’m a world citizen (smiling).”

Jiménez is making his 705th appearance of the European Tour and is currently two shots clear. He shared the moment with his son, who is carrying his bag for him "It’s nice having my son with me. It’s been a few months since I last saw him. He has to go back to the States to finish University. This is our chance to spend time together. He’s with me this week, I’m going to play the first three tournaments in the UK, but he has to go back to the States at that time to study. My official caddie is having a week off, so to spend time like this with my son is nice.”

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