Walshe takes up chase in Dubai

[caption id="attachment_68714" align="alignright" width="600" caption="Alison Walshe"]


Alison Walshe has pretty much counted on chasing Yani Tseng during her professional career; the Galway native can now add the name Lexi Thompson as another roadblock to professional success, a fact that was reinforced in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club last week.

Thompson, all of 16 years old, stormed off to a 4-length triumph in the Middle East. Walshe shared seventh place with Julieta Granada, having shot 7-under-par 281, which was eight strokes off Thompson’s number. She shot rounds of 70, 74, 68 and 69.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

The second round made all the difference in the margin between Walshe and Thompson, the medalist shooting 66, while Walshe put 74 on her card, due to five bogeys. That was one more bogey than she suffered over the rest of the 54 holes combined. In fact, after going bogey-bogey at the sixth and seventh holes in the third round, she played bogey-free until the 16th in the final round.


That Lee Westwood; he’s quite the guy. Why tease any of his rivals into thinking that they might have a chance at grabbing some early Christmas loot in last week’s Thailand Golf Championship? No, sir; Westwood went right out and shot an opening-round 60 en route to an easy 7-stroke victory, leaving the likes of Darren Clarke well in the dust.

Clarke was the lone Irishman to go the distance, Rory McIlroy having begged off after the previous week’s European Tour finale in Dubai, and Damien McGrane and Niall Turner failing to make the cut. Clarke gave us more of the Jekyll and Hyde that has characterized his play since winning the British Open. He issued rounds of 71, 76, 73 and 77 to finish the event nine strokes over par at 297, which was good for a share of 58th place. Westwood’s 72-hole score was 266.

Clarke’s game spun from bad to brilliant and back again faster than the head on Jerry Mahoney’s shoulders. That became apparent in the first round, when he went out in 40 and came in with 31 for the back nine. He solved his frontside problems on Friday, shooting 35, but got sloppy on the backside, where he took 41. He was even for Sunday’s round through 12 holes, but then bid the Far East adieu with bogeys over five of the six finishing holes.


None of the four Irish aspirants at last week’s Qualifying Tournament in Spain reached the big time; in fact, none of them made the 72-hole cut in this 108-hole marathon.

David Higgins looked like he might be on course for a return trip to the European Tour after needing only 65 strokes over PGA Catalunya’s Tour Course in the first round. He ballooned to 72 the next day over the Stadium Course. A return to the Tour Course in the third round yielded a score of 74. All appeared to be going well on the Stadium Course in the fourth round, as he was three strokes under par through 15 holes, until he took bogey at two of the three finishing holes. He missed the cut, set at 280, by one stroke, having shot 281 (65-72-74-70).

Chris Devlin saved his best for last, a bogey-free round of 68 in the fourth round, but that was too late to save him. His numbers added up to 285 (73-71-73-68).

Jonathan Caldwell and Cian McNamara were up against it from the get-go, when they both came in with rounds of 78. They finished with identical scores of 293. McNamara shot 78, 73, 73 and 69, while Caldwell’s cards read 78, 68, 76 and 71.

All four golfers earned status on the 2012 Challenge Tour by virtue of advancing to the final stage.