Unsung Parry happy to hand out some driving lessons of his own

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The Independent Online

When Rory McIlroy won his first Tour title 20 months ago, he bought himself a Ferrari. When John Parry won his first Tour title two weeks ago he bought himself a Vauxhall Astra.

That might best sum up the wildly contrasting paths these two young men have taken since playing together on the 2007 Walker Cup team.

Except the teenager who was forced to trundle along on the scenic route now has golf's most dreamy destination on his Satnav. Parry is four shots clear at the halfway point of the Dunhill Links Championship, with a victory stroll up the 18th at the Home of Golf on a Sunday evening beckoning. Not to mention £503,000. A second success in as many starts for the Yorkshireman would just go to prove that the prediction game is utterly futile on the fairways.

You certainly would have been granted huge odds for Parry prevailing on this hallowed turf before his wunderkind team-mate. On turning pro straight after the defeat to America at Royal County Down, McIlroy took three events to earn his full card, while for Parry his wait was rather longer – three years. He scratched around on the EuroPro Tour, the golfing Rymans League.

"I struggled," he admitted here yesterday. "If I did win any money it wasn't very much. I had to pay to enter the events, about £270 a time and didn't have any money at all. No, it wasn't a great feeling knowing you had been on the same team and just six months later they were competing in the top European events."

Parry, however, stuck it out and ignored the season-earning charts, which showed him labouring towards the £10,000 mark and McIlroy crashing through the so-called £1m glass ceiling. In November, he advanced through the qualifying school and from there the realisation of potential finally began to play itself out. In Paris a fortnight ago the breakthrough arrived.

As the golfing world was preparing itself for the Ryder Cup, so Parry lifted the Vivendi Cup. The £180,000 prize saw him take the by now traditional trip down to the showrooms. But he walked past the almost compulsory Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis.

"I bought a Vauxhall Astra with an 09 plate," he said. "I would have bought something a bit nicer, but I've only just past my test and the insurance companies don't seem to like me at the minute."

In truth, this naturally modest 23-year-old does not trust himself behind the wheel, so was relieved to be first off here yesterday. "I was first in the players car park," he said. "My parking's not very good, so I'm in the middle."

An ensuing 65 put him nowhere near of the middle of the leaderboard; instead on 12 under he is clear of Martin Erlandson in second and a group on seven under including Martin Kaymer. Of course, the German was one of the Celtic Manor heroes who enraptured a continent at the start of this week. Not that Parry noticed. "I didn't really see much of it," he said. "I was driving up here on Sunday and had to play a practice round on Monday."

He put the reconnaissance to fine use here on a bleak day. A first-round 67 was little better than impressive on a calm Thursday at Kingsbarns but this seven-under round was way, way better, bettering the next best by three strokes. While most were surprised to see his name up there, McIlroy merely smiled and shrugged.

"He was good mate of mine in the amateur days and, while it might have taken him a little bit longer to develop than some of the other guys, he's a very, very solid player," said the Ulsterman after a 74. "Of that Walker Cup team you would have reckoned he would have been one of the ones who would do very well. And he is now."

Lee Westwood, meanwhile, is 10 shots back and simply hoping to get through the next two days in as little pain as possible. The Englishman will then take a protracted break to recover completely from the ruptured calf muscle. "I talked to Michael Vaughan [former England cricket captain] last night and he said that whenever you get something like this you just need to take the time off and make sure it's 110 per cent when you get back," said the world No 2.

Second-round scores

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, St Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Scotland: (GB & Irl unless stated, par 72): St Andrews: 132 J Parry 67 65. 137 R Fisher 69 68, M Kaymer (Ger) 68 69, A Quiros (Sp) 68 69. 138 G McDowell 70 68. 139 F Zanotti (Par) 67 72, S Dyson 69 70, P Harrington 71 68. 140 A Coltart 69 71. 141 F Molinari (It) 72 69, D McGrane 72 69, S Webster 70 71, A Da Silva (Br) 69 72, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 70, M Laird 66 75, R Davies 71 70. 142 S Kjeldsen (Den) 67 75, R Coles 68 74, D Howell 69 73, L Westwood 70 72. 143 D Vancsik (Arg) 68 75, R Karlsson (Swe) 77 66, G Coetzee (SA) 73 70, D Clarke 76 67, A Hall (Aus) 75 68, P Larrazabal (Sp) 71 72. 144 J Luiten (Neth) 73 71, C Montgomerie 72 72, E Els (SA) 70 74, A Dodt (Aus) 74 70, V Dubuisson (Fr) 69 75, M Hoey 71 73. 145 C Cevaer (Fr) 72 73, A Haig (SA) 73 72, R McIlroy 71 74, R Goosen (SA) 73 72, P Gustafsson (Swe) 72 73, G Bourdy (Fr) 69 76, R Cabrera Bello (Sp) 74 71, T Pilkadaris (Aus) 73 72, P McGinley 74 71, E Molinari (It) 73 72. 146 S Hend (Aus) 71 75, P Lawrie 70 76, S Khan 72 74. 147 P Hanson (Swe) 74 73, C Wood 73 74, A Forsyth 75 72, N Dougherty 72 75, S Thornton 73 74. 148 O Wilson 72 76. 149 J-F Lucquin (Fr) 76 73. 150 C Scott (Aus) 73 77, K Horne (SA) 76 74. 151 J Daly (US) 75 76. 152 S Kapur (India) 74 78.

Carnoustie: 136 M Erlandsson (Swe) 68 68. 139 T Bjorn (Den) 66 73. 140 R Bland 68 72, R Gonzalez (Arg) 66 74, M Siem (Ger) 69 71, D Willett 67 73. 141 G Boyd 69 72, S Gallacher 69 72, A McLean 68 73, G Storm 68 73. 142 P Waring 68 74, T Levet (Fra) 70 72, J Edfors (Swe) 70 72. 143 A Butterfield 72 71, P Lawrie 71 72, R McEvoy 72 71. 144 F Aguilar (Chile) 69 75, S Dodd 68 76. 145 O Henningsson (Swe) 71 74, P Hedblom (Swe) 70 75, C Carranza (Arg) 68 77. 146 J Elson 71 75, R J Derksen (Neth) 71 75, M Warren 70 76. 147 M Lundberg (Swe) 69 78, J-F Lima (Por) 70 77, S Lowry 69 78, R Echenique (Arg) 72 75, K Ferrie 67 80, J Quesne (Fr) 71 76. 148 M Wiegele (Aut) 72 76, R Rock 70 78, G Murphy 73 75, M Ruiz (Par) 72 76, P Martin (Sp) 69 79, S O'Hara 71 77, C Coetzee (SA) 68 80. 149 G Lockerbie 72 77, D Drysdale 73 76, D McKenzie (Aus) 69 80, J Huldahl (Den) 74 75, P Whiteford 76 73, M Both (Aus) 73 76, J Donaldson 68 81, R McGowan 70 79. 150 A Canete (Arg) 70 80, M Brown (NZ) 72 78, G Havret (Fr) 73 77, J Morrison 73 77. 151 T Fisher Jnr (SA) 73 78. 152 M Jonzon (Swe) 73 79. 153 J Geary (NZ) 76 77. 155 K Mcnicoll 77 78, O Fisher 72 83. 157 M Foster 75 82.Kingsbarn: 140 P Price 70 70. 141 J-B Gonnet (Fr) 70 71, M Lafeber (Neth) 66 75, R Jacquelin (Fr) 69 72, T Wilkinson (NZ) 67 74. 142 A Wall 73 69, H Otto (SA) 72 70, D Lynn 69 73. 143 T Aiken (SA) 69 74, A Noren (Swe) 72 71, A Hansen (Den) 71 72, R Finch 68 75, P Archer 72 71. 144 B Dredge 73 71. 145 A Kang (US) 69 76, J Kingston (SA) 69 76, S Hansen (Den) 72 73, A Canizares (Sp) 70 75. 146 J Norris (Aus) 72 74, P Sjoland (Swe) 75 71, D Dixon 69 77, M Manassero (It) 75 71, M Brier (Aut) 72 74, D Horsey 74 72, M Griffin (Aus) 70 76. 147 R Ramsay 69 78, R Green (Aus) 71 76, G Fdez-Castano (Spa) 72 75. 148 G Maybin 72 76, R Kulacz (Aus) 72 76, T Goya (Arg) 73 75, J Kamte (SA) 71 77. 149 S Hutsby 73 76, B Barham 72 77, P O'Malley (Aus) 74 75, J Randhawa (India) 77 72. 150 J Sandelin (Swe) 73 77, G Bhullar (India) 75 75, S Little 74 76, F Andersson Hed (Swe) 74 76. 151 D Garza (US) 76 75, N Fasth (Swe) 76 75, S Strange (Aus) 73 78, N Colsaerts (Bel) 73 78, I Garrido (Sp) 71 80, J M Lara (Sp) 75 76. 152 F Delamontagne (Fr) 79 73, P Edberg (Swe) 78 74, T Van Aswegen (SA) 77 75. 153 L Mckechnie (Aus) 77 76. 154 B Rumford (Aus) 80 74, M Campbell (NZ) 74 80. 155 C Muniyappa (India) 77 78, S S P Chowrasia (India) 77 78. 159 B Pieters (SA) 77 82. 161 J Van de Velde (Fr) 82 79.

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