Inicio News Hebert and Im keep Rahm at bay in Portstewart

Hebert and Im keep Rahm at bay in Portstewart

Daniel Im. © Getty Images
Daniel Im. © Getty Images

Benjamin Hebert and Daniel Im maintained their shared lead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation after day two, with the World Number 11 John Rahm still ominously placed a shot back and Ryan Fox – the son of an All Blacks legend – also in pursuit.

It was as you were at the top of the leaderboard in Portstewart Golf Club as the two first round leaders Hebert and Im, as well as the second-placed Rahm, all carded five under rounds of 67 to move to 13 under and 12 under respectively.

Spaniard Rahm – who played alongside tournament host Rory McIlroy as his title defence faltered, the Northern Irishman missing the cut – had six birdies and an eagle to thank as he continued the stunning form which has seen him earmarked as one of the most promising talents in the game.

Fox, meanwhile, will be hoping for a weekend of New Zealand success as he cheers on his home nation in the final test of rugby’s Lions series on Saturday before vying for a maiden European Tour title.

A six under 66 moved him to 11 under alongside Englishmen Oliver Fisher and Matt Southgate (both 68), while World Number Two Hideki Matsuyama was two shots further back on a nine under total after the Japanese also signed for a 68.

Player quotes:

Daniel Im

“I didn’t really know how many putts I had today. The weather was definitely a factor. It was cold, I was first one out and it was cold and rainy, so I just kind of plodded along and just kind of kept hitting balls and putting and ended up with 22 putts.

!”I’ve actually been struggling with my putting the last few weeks. And then I just kept working on it, and tried to read the greens a little bit better. Tried to get the pace right. You know, just putt.

“I’m pretty comfortable. I’m pretty chilled. It’s no stress. I’m from California and that’s just how it is. I don’t try to fight the links golf too much. If it’s windy, I just ride the wind, and don’t try to force it too much. I’m really excited about the weekend. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Benjamin Hebert

“Today was a bit tougher, especially in the morning because it was cold and a bit rainy, and also windy. But after that it became quiet, not so much wind. I just try to focus on the par fives, because I think the key here is to get some birdies and that’s what I did, so I’m very happy.

“My driving is very solid, I hit a lot of fairways. It’s very important here because it’s quite narrow. When you miss the fairway, it’s not so easy because you can have some bad lies on the rough.

“I think I hit a lot of fairways and that’s the key, and also my putting – it was solid. You need to hole putts to make birdies. So that’s important, too.”

Jon Rahm

“Warming up today it seemed like the day was going to be absolutely awful. The closer we got to the round, the weather cleared up.

“Just like yesterday, I kept the positive mindset going. It helps when you hit two perfect shots to two feet for birdie on the first hole, but I just kept it going.

“Even the birdie on the par five 13th, then a couple of really good shots from 14 and making that putt, it just got me going and I took a lot of confidence out of that eagle and kept playing well.

“I did have a couple of mistakes today that I didn’t have yesterday, a couple of missed putts, three-putts and a couple of missed iron shots but I kept focussed and I knew I was going to make some putts and just gave myself opportunities.”

Ryan Fox

“The secret was holing some putts to be honest. I’ve seen three or four over 30 foot go in, and I made pretty much everything inside ten foot, which is nice.

“I hit a lot of good shots out there and rode my luck a little bit when I missed one. Thankfully there have been enough people out here to trample down the rough and you get some better lies than you did Monday and Tuesday. So I’m enjoying it so far.

“I guess last week took a little bit of pressure off the rest of the season. It was by far my biggest pay cheque as a professional.

“I played really nice the whole week in France. I sort of struggled a little bit this year, so nice to take the confidence from that and be able to free wheel it a little bit more this week. I guess it showed in the scores.

“I’m very happy I get to watch the Lions All Blacks match. I missed out on the last half an hour last week and didn’t see any of the first test.

“I’m going to be a bit biased here and say that I think the Lions might have poked the bear a little bit. The All Blacks are generally pretty good about fronting up after they have been beaten and Eden Park is their fortress. I’m hoping for an All Blacks win tomorrow. I might be the only one hoping that but I’ll be wearing my All Blacks jersey for sure.”

Rory McIlroy

“I’m really disappointed. The last two times the Irish Open has been in Northern Ireland, I’ve not been playing at the weekend – it’s obviously not where I want to be.

“It’s been a really frustrating year. It just hasn’t really gone the way I wanted it to. And it’s been tough but I felt like I was playing well coming in here.

“I played a lot of links golf last week. I was shooting good scores, I was confident. Just when I needed to play well and shoot the scores that I was shooting last week, it wasn’t quite there. So it’s just back to the drawing board and practise a bit and get ready for next week in Scotland.

“It’s definitely not a normal week for me but I’m proud to be part of this tournament and I’m proud to say that we started with a 2.5 or 3 million Euro prize fund and now it’s up to 7 million and it’s part of the Rolex Series.

“So the tournament has become a much bigger tournament, not just because of my involvement, but the European Tour’s and everyone else that’s been involved at Dubai Duty Free. It has become a bigger tournament. I just wish I could be a part of it over the weekend.

“It will still be a great week for the Foundation and it will be a success no matter what. Disappointing individually for me but we’ll probably raise – even with no prize money from me – the guts of half a million, maybe more, so we’ll still be able to do that and it’s for a great cause.”


131 D Im (USA) 64 67, B Hebert (Fra) 64 67,
132 J Rahm (Esp) 65 67,
133 R Fox (Nzl) 67 66, M Southgate (Eng) 65 68, O Fisher (Eng) 65 68,
134 P Peterson (USA) 67 67,
135 D Drysdale (Sco) 66 69, H Matsuyama (Jpn) 67 68, H Tanihara (Jpn) 70 65, A Wall (Eng) 67 68,
136 P Uihlein (USA) 69 67, J Donaldson (Wal) 66 70, D Horsey (Eng) 67 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 67 69, P Dunne (Irl) 67 69, F Zanotti (Par) 67 69, S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 68,
137 A Dodt (Aus) 71 66, H Porteous (RSA) 71 66, A Otaegui (Esp) 68 69, B Dredge (Wal) 68 69, P Harrington (Irl) 68 69, T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 67, J Rose (Eng) 67 70, W Ormsby (Aus) 67 70, L Slattery (Eng) 69 68, A Chesters (Eng) 70 67, D Burmester (RSA) 70 67,
138 R Ramsay (Sco) 68 70, J Quesne (Fra) 70 68, H Li (Chn) 68 70, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 66 72, G Moynihan (Irl) 67 71, F Aguilar (Chi) 67 71, M Fraser (Aus) 71 67, J Smith (Eng) 69 69, R Karlsson (Swe) 69 69, R Karlberg (Swe) 68 70, C Shinkwin (Eng) 68 70, G Bourdy (Fra) 70 68, M Manassero (Ita) 72 66, T Detry (Bel) 70 68, I Poulter (Eng) 68 70,
139 S Jamieson (Sco) 70 69, D Stewart (Sco) 67 72, A Romero (Arg) 68 71, S Hend (Aus) 71 68, S Lee (Kor) 68 71, M Jiménez (Esp) 69 70, S Lowry (Irl) 68 71, P Hanson (Swe) 68 71,
140 S Brazel (Aus) 70 70, J Luiten (Ned) 71 69, M Armitage (Eng) 71 69, N Kimsey (Eng) 72 68, S Dyson (Eng) 68 72, T Olesen (Den) 71 69, E De La Riva (Esp) 70 70, A Sullivan (Eng) 72 68, M Hoey (Nir) 68 72, R Langasque (Fra) 69 71, S Walker (Eng) 69 71, M Pavon (Fra) 71 69, C Hanson (Eng) 70 70,
141 J Stalter (Fra) 72 69, M Siem (Ger) 70 71, P Waring (Eng) 68 73, D Brooks (Eng) 70 71, R Sterne (RSA) 73 68, P Larrazábal (Esp) 68 73, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 70, R Gouveia (Por) 69 72, R Bland (Eng) 68 73, G Stal (Fra) 68 73, D Perrier (Fra) 72 69, D Higgins (Irl) 69 72, A Cañizares (Esp) 70 71, S Manley (Wal) 69 72, A Knappe (Ger) 72 69,
142 R Paratore (Ita) 70 72, D Lipsky (USA) 71 71, D Frittelli (RSA) 71 71, G McDowell (Nir) 67 75, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 69 73, T Bjørn (Den) 73 69, V Dubuisson (Fra) 69 73, L Jensen (Den) 73 69, B Stone (RSA) 73 69, J Fahrbring (Swe) 69 73, M Kieffer (Ger) 70 72, P Lawrie (Sco) 69 73, H Otto (RSA) 70 72,
143 R Finch (Eng) 72 71, S Khan (Eng) 72 71, J Campillo (Esp) 73 70, M Foster (Eng) 73 70, C Paisley (Eng) 75 68, L Bjerregaard (Den) 69 74, A Wu (Chn) 72 71, A Levy (Fra) 73 70, F Fritsch (Ger) 75 68, J Lagergren (Swe) 69 74, R Jacquelin (Fra) 69 74,
144 A Björk (Swe) 74 70, D McElroy (Nir) 70 74, N O’Briain (Irl) 72 72, J Olazábal (Esp) 72 72, M Carlsson (Swe) 72 72, J Morrison (Eng) 71 73, N Elvira (Esp) 72 72, R Rock (Eng) 70 74, B Ritthammer (Ger) 71 73, T Aiken (RSA) 71 73, M Wallace (Eng) 71 73, M Warren (Sco) 69 75, D Howell (Eng) 74 70,
145 E Molinari (Ita) 70 75, R Wattel (Fra) 71 74, M Ilonen (Fin) 69 76, S Thornton (Irl) 73 72, G Storm (Eng) 73 72, G Hurley (Irl) 69 76, R McIlroy (Nir) 72 73, J Carlsson (Swe) 70 75, T Hatton (Eng) 75 70, D McGrane (Irl) 76 69, A Johnston (Eng) 71 74,
146 R Kilpatrick (Nir) 74 72, J Walters (RSA) 74 72, N Fasth (Swe) 73 73, S Chawrasia (Ind) 75 71, G Coetzee (RSA) 72 74, T Pieters (Bel) 73 73,
147 N Bertasio (Ita) 69 78, S Heisele (Ger) 73 74, J Scrivener (Aus) 70 77, K Broberg (Swe) 72 75,
148 C Moriarty (Irl) 71 77, P Angles (Esp) 76 72, B Rumford (Aus) 74 74, G Havret (Fra) 74 74,
149 A Quiros (Esp) 75 74, J Wang (Kor) 76 73, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 74 75, S Chan (Tpe) 71 78, N Colsaerts (Bel) 72 77, D Fichardt (RSA) 75 74, L Westwood (Eng) 76 73, T Immelman (RSA) 73 76,
150 J Lima (Por) 76 74,
152 P McGinley (Irl) 76 76, D Clarke (Nir) 74 78,
154 S Gros (Fra) 82 72,
** J Van Zyl (RSA) 71 WD, D Willett (Eng) 71 RT,