Niall Kearney shoots seven-under 65 to take early lead at Dutch Open
Ireland’s Niall Kearney carded a flawless 65 to set the pace on day one of the Dutch Open at Bernardus Golf.
Kearney covered his first 10 holes in four under par and then birdied three of his last four to finish seven under, a shot ahead of Denmark’s Martin Simonsen and Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer.
Rhys Enoch, Euan Walker and Sam Horsfield were part of a large group on five under, with Ryder Cup vice-captain Graeme McDowell returning a 71 and two-time winner and home favourite Joost Luiten shooting level par.
Kearney was ranked 1,592nd in the world at this time last year, but has climbed inside the top 500 thanks to top-10 finishes in the Canary Islands Championship and Hero Open.
“This year has been positive for me,” the 33-year-old said. “I have had a lot of good finishes and put myself in the right spaces and I have grown in confidence from it. I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable, which is great.”
Bernardus Golf only opened in 2018 and is hosting a European Tour event for the first time, although Kearney still managed to glean some local knowledge before play got under way.
“The course superintendent is an Irish guy and he grew up not far from me at home, so I had a good chat with him the other morning,” Kearney added.
“The course is fantastic, it’s only three or four years old but looks like it has been here for 50 years, so they have done a great job. It’s in really good condition.
“I found it really enjoyable, it’s got a real links feel to it. I play links golf at home, so I felt right at home, and I have been at home the past three weeks, so I feel rested somewhat and really enjoyed it.”
Simonsen was delighted with his opening 66 but wary of looking too far ahead as he bids to claim a first European Tour title.
“It has been a while since I have shot 66 in the opening round, usually I get off to a poor start and I am having to scramble, so happy with a good start,” Simonsen said.
“Last year I was in contention quite a bit going into the weekend and then on Sunday I wasn’t finishing it off. It is way too early to talk about now, there is so much golf left to be played, but it would be nice to play four good days in a row, and that is what we are all trying to do out here.”
Billy Horschel sets out to double prize money at event aimed at boosting diversity
The 34-year-old American hosted the inaugural Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational at Sawgrass in July.
Rory McIlroy claims 20th PGA title with victory in CJ Cup
The Northern Irishman put his Ryder Cup torment behind him to win by a stroke from Collin Morikawa.
Matt Fitzpatrick responds to Ryder Cup disappointment with Andalucia Masters win
The Yorkshireman was bogey-free in the final round at the notoriously difficult Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy two shots off the lead after sizzling 62 in Las Vegas
The Northern Irishman shot his lowest score since 2019 to take second place heading into the final round.
Rory McIlroy looking to kick on after emotional Ryder Cup
McIlroy broke down in tears in a rare show of emotion in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm keen to win at Valderrama for ‘historic reasons and nostalgia’
The Spaniard is hoping to perform on home soil.
‘Stupid is as stupid does’ – Phil Mickelson criticises club length restriction
The R&A and USGA have brought in a ‘model local rule’ to limit all clubs other than putters to a maximum of 46 inches.
Top-level golf tournaments to be given option of imposing limit on club length
This could curb the big-hitting likes of Bryson DeChambeau in their continual quest for greater length off the tee.
THE CJ CUP: Vegas links that could help us hit the jackpot this week
The PGA Tour remains in Las Vegas this week and several players in the field have some home advantage which could prove significant.