Rock in a hard place after signing blunder

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The Independent Online

England's robert Rock opened the Irish Open with a six-under 65 here yesterday – and was then disqualified for signing for a wrong score.

Rock, seventh in The Open two weeks ago, did not spot that his card had him down for a par on the 14th and birdie at the 15th instead of the other way around. Rock, who finished second to the amateur Shane Lowry in the same tournament last year, was quick to accept the blame and commendably did not rail against a rule some will find petty.

"It's my fault," he said. "I checked it, but didn't see it and it's my job to do that. I don't think I've been disqualified for anything before. I'd have preferred it to be after an 80."

Rock was the joint-clubhouse leader when he finished, although minutes later compatriot David Howell completed a 64 to go top of a leaderboard which also features Darren Clarke on five-under. Yet most of the talk inevitably centred on the Dqs.

Amazingly last year's first-round leader Francesco Molinari was later also disqualified for signing for a wrong score. This could yet have implications on the Ryder Cup as the Italian currently holds on to one of the automatic qualifying positions. Like Rock, Molinari was last night cursing his own sloppiness.

"What else can you do?" added Rock. "I've gone through the same process I always do and I've done a lot over eight years, but this time I just missed it. I didn't have a clue until it was pointed out to me the scores were different."

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