Fisher falls short of first 59 in Europe

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England's Ross Fisher missed a golden chance to shoot the European Tour's first ever 59 in the Irish Open here yesterday.

After six successive birdies in a front-nine 29 and then four more in a row from the 11th, the 29-year-old needed a further two over the closing stretch – which included a reachable par five. But Fisher missed from six feet at the 15th, could only par the 519-yard 16th and closed with two more pars for a 10-under 61.

What then became important for the Volvo World Match Play champion was that on 12-under at halfway – and with the lowest round of his Tour career under his belt – he led the tournament by three strokes from the Italian Francesco Molinari, with home hopes Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy in a group two shots further back.

"Not until I got on to the 14th did I think, 'If I knock this in I've got a chance', so I was a bit annoyed when I missed the putt on 15 and after the 16th I thought I've got to do it the hard way," said Fisher. "It didn't happen, but I'll take 61. It's been coming for a while – that's as good as I've putted since the Match Play and that's all I've been struggling with."

Fisher has the opportunity to reignite his challenge for a Ryder Cup debut on Colin Montgomerie's team in October. He lies 13th on the points table, but could leap to sixth with victory tomorrow.

"It's been a frustrating year," he said. "The Ryder Cup was one of the goals I set myself and I want to be on that team. I want Monty to be looking at me and, if I still need a pick at the end, then hopefully I will be one of the fortunate ones."