Downpours dampen Dredge's day

European Open acquires a crowded leaderboard as torrential rain threatens to flood Smurfit Course

Keeping your head above water was not just a metaphorical necessity here yesterday as the Liffey threatened to burst its banks and the European Open threatened to float away into the land of farce. If Co. Kildare is this wet in July, then what will it be like come the end of September for the Ryder Cup? Message to Tiger Woods: bring the waterproofs, bring the wellies, and bring the bloody canoe if the private jet can accommodate it.

Before then, there's this £2.4 million extravaganza to sort out, and if yesterday's frenetic scoreboard activity is anything to go by then it will sure take some sorting. By the end of the third round, Spain's Jose Manuel Lara, on nine under, might have enjoyed a one-shot lead over England's Anthony Wall after a seven-birdie 67, but the afternoon had just proved that nothing seems to last for long on the Smurfit Course. Except for the rain, of course.

Just ask Bradley Dredge, who after six holes had a five-shot advantage but then ran backwards after promising to run away. The Welshman went 42 holes without a bogey but had five of the blighters in the next nine holes. Dispiriting? Perhaps. Disastrous? Not quite. Despite a 75, thanks to acompetitive leaderboard he is still within three shots and has a squeak.

As are Darren Clarke (two behind), Paul Casey (three behind), Tom Lehman (four behind) Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood (five behind), and any number of competitors who can only dream of joining this cast list back here on the adjoining Palmer Course in the autumn.

Clarke would naturally be today's most popular winner, though with the field bunching up there are so many possibles. A bizarre weather pattern and an equally strange decision by the officials made certain of it.

In fairness, the dire forecasts had cajoled them into moving the tees forward, which was helpful to the pacesetters but more so to the backmarkers, who were, in effect, being invited to make headway as the sun shone. Nobody did it more eagerly than Paul McGinley, whose 67 shifted him into the red at three under and on to the outskirts of contendership.

That was infinitely more than he could have hoped for on Friday evening as he sat in the departures lounge at Dublin Airport, head in hands, waiting for his flight back to Sunningdale and yet another weekend to reflect on yet another missed cut. "I was 91st when I left the course and only 65 plus ties were staying," he explained. "There was no way I was making it. My kid's sports day was on today and I was going back for that."

Then the board flashed up that his 5pm flight was delayed by 45 minutes and his misery seemed complete. When his wife's name flashed up on his mobile he probably feared for yet more bad news. "Good that you're coming back, there's some painting to be done," or something of that ilk. But it was something else. Something else entirely.

"Alison told me, 'You'd better hang around there, the scores are tumbling'," said McGinley, whose two-over inadequacy incredibly became good enough. One problem. His luggage was by now on the plane, and that included his clubs; with an earlier bomb scare throwing the airport into chaos, getting them taken off was not really feasible.

Unless you're an Irish Ryder Cup hero, that is. "Aer Lingus were brilliant," he said. "They made it top priority to track down my clubs. And if their plane hadn't been delayed I would have gone home."

As would the chance of a round that may just represent the turning point in a season that has gone decidedly miserable since his annus mirabilis of 2005. The Ryder Cup berth that appeared so stable a matter of weeks ago has begun to look extremely shaky. "Hopefully now I'm entering a peak after the trough, as I need it," he said, looking at the scoreboard and praying the scores would work out for him just as they had the night before.

Ian Woosnam, Europe's captain, would have had his hands clasped, too. He needs the Dubliner in his ranks in three months' time. Always assuming the K Club has not joined Atlantis by then.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform