ISPS Handa World Invitational: Daniel Brown two clear as Gabriella Cowley shares women’s lead | Golf News


Solheim Cup stars Leona Maguire and Georgia Hall four off the lead in the women’s event; Daniel Brown two clear in the men’s competition; Watch the second round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational live on Friday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 17/08/23 7:50pm

Highlights of the opening round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational from Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Northern Ireland.

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Highlights of the opening round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational from Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Northern Ireland.

Highlights of the opening round of the ISPS Handa World Invitational from Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Northern Ireland.

England’s Daniel Brown claimed a two-shot lead after the opening day of the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland, while compatriot Gabriella Cowley shared a lead of the women’s event.

Brown carded an eagle and six birdies in an opening seven-under-par 64 at Castlerock Golf Club, one of two courses used for an event sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour which sees male and female players compete at the same time.

Compatriots Alex Fitzpatrick and Callan Barrow were part of a four-strong group on five under, with Italy’s Gregorio de Leo the only player in the chasing quartet to compile his score at Galgorm Castle.

In the women’s event, Cowley shared the lead on four under par with Karis Davidson, Kim Metraux and Ellinor Sudow.

England's Georgia Hall is four off the lead in the women's event

England’s Georgia Hall is four off the lead in the women’s event

Fitzpatrick, who finished 17th in the Open at Royal Liverpool and won his first Challenge Tour title at St Mellion two weeks later, continued his fine form with a 66 which included five birdies in succession.

The 24-year-old, the younger brother of 2022 US Open winner Matt, said: “I just kept hitting greens and made a couple of putts and just went on a bit of a run, which was nice. The wind started to pick up a lot which made it harder to hit greens and give yourself chances. I stuck in well and ground out a decent score.

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Ryder Cup hopeful Robert MacIntyre, who holds the last available automatic qualifying place on the European Points List, returned a one-under-par 69 at Galgorm Castle, where Victor Perez – who is seventh in the standings – struggled to an opening 74.

This week’s event is one of three left on the DP World Tour in the Ryder Cup qualification campaign, with Luke Donald naming his six captain’s picks on September 4, while the women’s event is the last tournament in the race to qualify for Team Europe’s Solheim Cup team.

European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen gives an insight in to the potential make-up of her team as she prepares to choose her four captain's picks.

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European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen gives an insight in to the potential make-up of her team as she prepares to choose her four captain’s picks.

European Solheim Cup captain Suzann Pettersen gives an insight in to the potential make-up of her team as she prepares to choose her four captain’s picks.

2019 winner Bronte Law is a shot off the early lead as she tries to force her way into contention for Suzann Pettersen’s team, while Georgia Hall and Leona Maguire – both already qualified for Team Europe – both sit in the group on level par.

Ruuska fires historic 59 round on Challenge Tour!

Lauri Ruuska wrote his name into the record books by posting just the fourth sub-60 round in Challenge Tour history on his way to opening up a four-shot lead at the Vierumaki Finnish Challenge.

Ruuska carded an eagle and 10 birdies on his way to a bogey-free 59, seeing him join Adrien Mork (2006 Moroccan Classic), Nicolo Ravano (2016 Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana) and Alejandro Del Ray (2021 Swiss Challenger) to break 60 on the Challenge Tour.

“It feels quite amazing to shoot 59,” Ruuska said. “It sounds pretty amazing to be part of the 59 club. Honestly, I knew it was going to be a low scoring week and I saw myself being able to do it, but I didn’t quite believe it.”

Watch the ISPS Handa World Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the best golf and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.