Ten players advance to Round 3 at a stormy South

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Ten players advance to Round 3 at a stormy South

TJ Ford (Co.Sligo) on the 5th tee during the Connacht Men's Stroke Play, Portumna Golf Club, Portumna, Co. Galway, Ireland. 12/06/2021 Picture: Golffile | Thos Caffrey

12 players will return to Lahinch GC on Saturday morning to complete Round 2 at the South of Ireland Matchplay. Bad light stopped play, with players returning to action at 7.30pm, having left the course just before 4pm due to the threat of thunder and lightning in the west Clare area.

10 players are safely into Round 3 after coming through two rounds, despite the weather delay and late evening darkness. Top seed Max Kennedy will meet clubmate Richard Knightly on Saturday morning after the Royal Dublin duo were two of the first players to advance.

Kennedy defeated Carton House’s Eoin Sullivan by 2 holes, while Knightly defeated fellow Royal Dublin player Hugh Foley on the 18th green.

“I had a couple of battles today. It was really tough,” Kennedy admitted after his Round 2 win. “I didn’t think we would get finished tonight after the delay. I went to the house, had a sleep, changed and reset to come back to the course.

“I definitely feel that I’ve been through matches that have gone wire-to-wire. I learned a lot at the North of Ireland Open last week. Hopefully I can take that into the next few days.”

“Myself and Hugh are very good mates,” Knightly admitted after his win over Foley. “We played in Portugal together over the winter. I’d know his family well. We’re very close.”

“I was 2 down through 2 holes, so I was happy to come back after a shaky start. It was nice to be 1 up coming up the 18th, so I was happy to get my second shot on the green. It doesn’t feel like I’m playing well, but I’m getting the scores and the results. It’s a nice feeling.”

Co. Sligo’s TJ Ford advanced to Round 3, beating Castletroy’s Dean McMahon 4&3 before darkness fell on Lahinch.

“It’s brilliant to get in. I’m not envious of the lads in the bottom half going straight back out. I played pretty well, and it’s all about seeing what happens tomorrow. I just need to play my own game, and play what’s in front of me.”

Galgorm Castle’s Jordan Hood advanced after a 4&3 win over Castleknock’s Cathal Nolan. Hood has taken inspiration from clubmate Michael Reid, after his run last week to the North of Ireland Final.

“I play with Michael every week. I didn’t get to see him in the Final, but for everyone to have that belief in the club is massive. Looking at what Michael did last week, I believe that if he can do it, then why can’t I? We’re progressing as a club. 

“From playing in these events, it keeps the flow going, having two rounds of Matchplay each day, instead of having to worry about weather delays.”

The remaining Round 2 matches will return to the course at 7am, before Round 3 begins as scheduled at 8am.

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