Irish winds a birthday treat for Warren

Warren Abery favours the wind, which gave him an edge at Royal Portrush Golf Club on Thursday, where he shot a birthday 67 to begin the Irish Open in a share of 12th.

“I’m really happy. I’ve been battling the last couple of weeks with three missed cuts. This is the type of golf course that I like and I like the wind. It feels like such a massive event. I’m hitting the ball well, putting well and it’s my birthday, so I deserve something to go right,” he said.

The 39-year-old earned his European card through QSchool last year and looked right at home on Thursday when he signed-in at five-under-par, just two strokes shy of leader Gregory Bourdy.

“I’d like to have a couple more rounds like this,” said Abery. “It’s a fantastic place, and we had so many different elements of weather, and I hope it’s good tomorrow morning as well.”

The weather played a few tricks on the golfers, and play was suspended due to a risk of lightning. But once the storm had passed it was back to business as usual.

“It’s always difficult to come back after a break, because I felt like I had a good rhythm going. I dropped the first hole coming back, but I still think we got lucky with the weather today,” he said.

Also pleased with the weather and joining Abery in a share of 12th was Keith Horne. With six top-10 finished on the European Tour, and having finished tied 12th at the BMW International Open a week ago, Horne shot an impressive 67 at Royal Portrush.

“I’m very happy. I didn’t know what to expect out there today, because I haven’t played links golf in a while and there were so many unknowns – the weather, the course. I’m very happy with five-under and it was nice to take advantage of relatively benign conditions.

“I’m playing well, and I was glad to get off to a good start. I didn’t have a good day on Sunday last week, but I think I learnt quite a lot in the bad weather last week and that certainly helped me out on the golf course today.”

The 41-year-old takes advantage of every chance he gets to play links golf, and Thursday was no exception.

“You do have to make some changes – hitting the ball lower, playing softer shots and shaping the ball to keep it on fairways. This is my favourite; I really enjoy playing links golf,” he said.

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