DAMIEN FLEMING WINS IRISH OPEN

The inaugural Irish Open has concluded in superb weather at Royal Meath. Damien Fleming of the Deerpark club in Killarney, Co. Kerry shot a fantastic final round of 42 to win by a single shot from Bryan Delaney from E.S.B. in Cork. Damien Fleming holed a two footer on the final green to post the 54 hole clubhouse target of 27 under par 135. Playing in the final group, Bryan Delaney had reached 26 under par with five holes to play. However, the reigning Irish Strokeplay champion couldn't find the elusive birdie that would have forced a play-off. Sean Downes, who tied for the overnight lead with Bryan Delaney, shot a final round 47 for third place. Holland's Patrick Luning was best non-Irish player on -17. In a closely fought finish to the ladies open, Chrissie Byrne's closing 53 gave the St. Bridget's player a one shot win on 10 under par. Tied on nine under were Royal Meath's own Ann Hall and current Irish Strokeplay and Matchplay champion Tracey McGrath (Erry). Tracey's last round 50 gave her second slot on the tiebreaker.

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SEAN DOWNES AND BRYAN DELANEY LEAD OVERNIGHT

36 holes are complete at Royal Meath. Joint first round leader Sean Downes still holds the advantage in the inaugural Irish Irish Open but he now has different company on top of the leaderboard. Reigning Irish Strokeplay champion Bryan Delaney (E.S.B.) shot a phenomenal second round of 42 to post a seventeen under par aggregate of 91. Five time Irish champion Sean Downes returned a second round 47 and the pair lead by a single stroke overnight. Tied third are Frank Dineen (St. Anne's), who was ultra consistent - 46+46 - and Eoin Walsh of Collins, who scored 44+48. There are eleven players within three shots of the lead. Leading non Irish players are Steve Deeble (Britain) and Holland's Patrick Luning, both on 97. Chrissie Byrne and Ann Hall are still locked together at the head of affairs in ladies on 9 under par 99. Ireland's Liz Quinn is on 7 under.

FOUR TIE FOR FIRST ROUND LEAD

Royal Meath is bathed in beautiful sunshine for the inaugural Irish Open. Scoring was superb in the first round and four Irishmen share the 18 hole lead on ten under par. Sean Downes of Stackallen, who has won two Irish championships on this course, fired a fabulous 44 in the ideal conditions. Downes' tour de force was matched by Darren Kane (Lucan), Eoin Walsh (Collins) Damien Fleming (Deerpark). Best visiting player is Dutchman Patrick Luning on 47. Chrissie Byrne (St. Bridget's) and Ann Hall (Royal Meath) hold the first round ladies lead on 47.

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