The race to be crowned the 2018 West of Ireland champion is down to the final four after a thrilling day’s play at Rosses Point and while a lot is still to be determined one thing is for sure, it’ll take a lot to top the drama of today’s rounds.
Castle’s Alex Gleeson was the first man through to the semi-finals after Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse was forced to concede their match on the 10th hole because of injury.
Pierse was three down at the time but was clearly aggravated as he hobbled around the turn. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Pierse who had ironically been handed a pass into the quarter-final after leading qualifier, Kyle McCarron, was also forced to withdraw after an old wrist injury flared up just three holes into their match.
Gleeson will face off against Portmarnock’s James Fox tomorrow after he safely negotiated his two matches in the wind and rain in County Sligo.
Fox proved too strong for Co. Cavan’s Shane McDermott, eventually getting the better of his man 2&1 before taking down Athlone’s Thomas O’Connor by the same score – the result made all the more impressive considering O’Connor had earlier beaten Kilkenny’s teenage sensation, Mark Power, 4&3 in their last-16 match-up.
In the other semi-final, Naas’ Robert Brazill will take on Royal Portrush’s Jack Madden after both men came out on the right side of some nerve tingling encounters.
Having earlier put paid to Barry Anderson’s hopes of becoming the first man since Rory McIlroy in 2006 to defend the title (2&1), Brazill stood on the 18th tee in his quarter final match with a one hole lead.
In confident fashion, he duly found the center of the green in two to defeat Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell 2UP while Madden needed an extra hole to finally get the better of lowest handicapper in the field, Robin Dawson (+4), who had earlier defeated local favourite, Sean Flanagan 1UP.
With Dawson missing the fairway right, his approach shot to the 19th came up short left, with Madden safely aboard in two. It was still Dawson’s turn after a disappointing chip shot and it was a putt he missed, leaving Madden two putts to win from 12 feet. He only needed one.
With two super looking semi-finals set for the morning ahead of the championship decider in the afternoon, anyone with time on their hands should make the trip to Rosses’ Point tomorrow as some of the finest amateur talents in the country vie for one of the game’s most illustrious titles, and this year’s opening Major.
- Alex Gleeson (Castle) –v- James Fox (Portmarnock)
- Robert Brazill (Naas) –v- Jack Madden (Royal Portrush)