Upsets galore as big guns fall at quarter-final stage at the West

Mark McGowan

David Brady on the 15th tee at County Sligo Golf Club

Mark McGowan

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The quarter-finals of the Connolly Motor Group West of Ireland Championship at County Sligo Golf Club didn’t exactly play out as scripted, but the locals don’t care as they’ve got one of their own to cheer on in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Having taken down his cousin Aodhagan in the morning round, David Brady squared off against Matthew McClean in the afternoon, amazingly, with Aodhagan now playing the role of caddie. It’s been a fairytale week for Brady who is seeking to become the first qualifier to win the tournament proper after shooting +2 in Wednesday’s Qualifier and then overcoming a two-stroke penalty, issued by his father who was the starter, when a tee-time mix up saw him scrambling to the first tee in Saturday’s second round, arriving just late but not late enough to be disqualified.

McClean took the lead early and looked primed for a comfortable victory when he won the opening two holes and got as far as three ahead through 13. But Brady birdies at 14 and 15 gave the large galleries hope, and even though McClean would pull two clear again on 16, the momentum continued to shift and a two-putt par on 17 for Brady took them up the 18th.

Brady had ended the round of 16 tie with his cousin in dramatic fashion on 18, holing a 30-footer for birdie with his opponent roughly six feet away for a birdie of his own that he’d miss to settle the encounter. This time, needing birdie to extend the match, he’d given himself around half that distance but on a very similar line and just as he’d done some five-and-a-half hours previous, he poured it right in the middle.

So up 19 they went, and McClean, perhaps suffering a little from shellshock, was a little wide off the tee and the same on approach, leaving Brady the task of two-putting for par and to send the partisan crowd wild with delight.

“Aodhagan lined that one up nicely for me there on 18,” Brady said afterwards, “and he made a couple of good reads earlier on. I was like: ‘Oh, here. You just read the puts for me.

“So yeah, happy out, rolled it in the middle and went on to take victory on the 19th hole.

“Aodhagan lined up the one on 15 as well. He convinced me not to go with the line I thought on 15, and I trusted him and it went in the middle, so I definitely would’ve missed it if I went on my own line.”

Standing between Brady and a second successive Rosses Point native featuring in the West of Ireland final after Barry Anderson made the final match in 2023, is Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan.

Coughlan, who is coached by Gordon Smyth at Raflewski Golf Ireland, took down Elm Park’s Robert Galligan in the quarter-finals, overcoming a two-hole deficit through 10 to pull two clear after 16. Any hopes of an early finish were quashed when Galligan struck back on 17, but after finding the greenside bunker with his approach, Coughlan splashed to three feet and sank the putt to secure a maiden West of Ireland semi-final appearance.

Carton House’s Keith Egan continues to move menacingly through the field, however, and has only trailed a match for a total of two holes over the four matchplay rounds he’s completed thus far. He took control of his quarter-final after the turn and back-to-back hole wins on 14 and 15 were enough for him to close out Evan Farrell of County Louth 4&3.

The final quarter-final saw Colm Campbell take on Ross Lattimer who’d survived a 23-hole marathon with Eddie McCormack earlier in the day, but came out firing in the afternoon and birdied two of the opening five and built up a three-hole lead after six.

But Campbell is among the grittiest competitors on the Irish amateur circuit and a win on the 10th sparked a comeback that wouldn’t be complete until he rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th, taking the match into extended holes yet again for Clandeboye’s Lattimer.

And just like he had against McCormack earlier, he again prevailed, this time as Campbell uncharacteristically drove the ball out-of-bounds on the first and wasn’t able to recover.

“I’m absolutely shattered,” said Lattimer afterwards, having played 42 holes in one day. And his reward is a semi-final match against Egan, who, with the exits of McClean and Campbell, has emerged as the tournament favourite as he seeks to capture his maiden men’s championship title.


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One response to “Upsets galore as big guns fall at quarter-final stage at the West”

  1. Paul sweeney avatar
    Paul sweeney

    Great coverage of the west of Ireland, well done👏

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