North West’s Kyle McCarron pipped Naas’ Jonathan Yates on countback to the honour of leading qualifier as the Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open moved into the Match Play stages at Rosses Point.
The pair headed the 36-holes strokeplay qualifier on five-under-par with the finalised top-64 advancing to the knockout stages starting this morning.
2014 Irish Youths champion McCarron fired an eagle and four birdies amongst his second round 69 while 2016 West of Ireland winner Yates returned four birdies and just the two dropped shots to post the same score.
It was McCarron’s birdie on 18, however, that proved decisive in landing him the coveted silver medal prize.
The duo finished one shot clear of overnight leader, Robin Dawson, who struggled to replicate his opening day heroics but added a three-over-par 74 to his stunning 64 on day one to sail through to the weekend regardless.
The magic number fell at plus eight to determine the 64 leading qualifiers with Tandragee’s William Small snatching the final spot on countback over Baltinglass teenager, Joseph Byrne.
It was a sound couple of days for those competing from the Irish panel as all eight made the grade ahead of the match play meetings.
Big-hitting Peter O’Keeffe returned a best of the day 67 to qualify in 6th place on two-under-par. The Douglas bomber nailed four birdies in a blemish-free round of golf to qualify just one shot behind Kilkenny’s Mark Power, the 17-year-old adding a 72 to his sizzling 67 start.
The Castle’s Alex Gleeson was in imperious form with his 69 seeing him comfortably through to the business end of proceedings while
Carton House’s Keith Egan fired a 68 to take 10th spot on the qualifying table.
Defending Champion, Barry Anderson’s hopes of retaining his title remain intact as he coasted into the match play on plus two for his 36-holes. He’ll face 2010 South of Ireland champion, John Greene in one of the round’s standout matches.
With the cream rising to the top, the draw looks to have thrown up some intriguing contests as the race to become the king of the west intensifies. One thing’s for sure, whoever comes out wearing the crown after the match play battles will have earned the right to it.
WEST OF IRELAND – FIRST ROUND DRAW:
- 07:30 Kyle McCarron (North West) v William Small (Tandragee)
- 07:39 William Russell (Clandeboye) v Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene)
- 07:48 Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) v John McCarthy (Stackstown)
- 07:57 Robert Moran (Castle) v Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth)
- 08:06 Alex Gleeson (Castle) v Jack Doherty (Carton House)
- 08:15 Jake Hapgood (Southerndown) v Thomas Neenan (Lahinch)
- 08:24 Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) Paul Coughlan (Castleknock)
- 08:33 Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) v Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud)
- 08:42 Peter McKeever (Castle) v Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay)
- 08:51 Andrew McCormack (Castletroy) v Shane McDermott (Co. Cavan)
- 09:00 TJ Ford (Co. Sligo) v Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin)
- 09:09 Gary McDermott (Carton House) v James Fox (Portmarnock)
- 09:18 Mark Power (Kilkenny) v Paul O’Hanlon (Carton house )
- 09:27 Jack Walsh (Castle) v Robbie Hynes (The Royal Dublin)
- 09:36 Thomas O’Connor (Athlone) v Aaron Marshall (Lisburn)
- 09:45 Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) v Charlie Denvir (Elm Park)
- 09:54 Jonathan Yates (Naas) v Allan Hill (Athenry)
- 10:03 Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell) v Robert Brazill (Naas)
- 10:12 Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) v John Greene (Portmarnock)
- 10:21 Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) v Michael Jnr Ryan (New Ross)
- 10:30 Paraic Connolly (Killeen Castle) v John Brady (Rosslare)
- 10:39 Aaron Kearney (Castlerock) v Niall Hearns (Mountrath)
- 10:48 Keith Egan (Carton House) v Fergal Kennedy (The Island)
- 10:57 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) v Dwayne Mallon (Dungannon)
- 11:06 Robin Dawson (Tramore) v Marc Nolan (Dun Laoghaire)
- 11:15 Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) v Fraser Carr (Kirkistown Castle)
- 11:24 Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) v David McAleenon (Edenmore)
- 11:33 Sean Flanagan (Co. Sligo) v Gavin Smyth (Clonmel);
- 11:42 Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) v Sean Ryan (The Royal Dublin)
- 11:51 Luke O’Neill (Connemara) v Rory Williamson (Holywood)
- 12:00 Jake Whelan (Newlands) v Jack Madden (Royal Portrush)
- 12:09 Gary Collins (Rosslare) v Michael Sinclair (Knock).