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Carton House Golf Club, Maynooth, Golf Courses in County Kildare ...

Tough test awaits at Montgomerie's course

Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington have raised fears about the difficulty of the Colin Montgomerie-designed Carton House course being used at the Irish Open in County Kildare.

Northern Irishman Clarke, the world number 13, said the winning score would be no better than one or two-under-par if Wednesday's heavy squalls persisted for most of the week.

Clarke has carded a European Tour record-equalling 60 at the nearby K Club, which will host next year's Ryder Cup, but he did not envisage similar scoring at the 7,301-yard, par-72 layout west of Dublin which is peppered with large pot-bunkers.

"(The course is) stunningly difficult, very, very tough, very severe and very demanding, very penal," Clarke told reporters.

"Monty wanted to set up a links course inland but if you go and play all the great links courses, you always have one or two holes which are almost 'let-up' holes...whereas this one definitely doesn't.

"If you miss one of the bunkers, you'll catch another one. Every shot is going to be precious this week, you've got to be very switched on.

"This week is going to test everybody's mental game."

World number nine Harrington, the highest ranked player in the field, also described the course as "penal" and said accurate driving would be paramount.

"Anybody who drives the ball well here is going to have a tremendous advantage and it doesn't take much working out who designed it," he said referring to the straight-driving Scot Montgomerie.

Australian Brett Rumford is the defending champion this week.


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