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.

News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own