You can’t win if you’re not in and despite finishing seven shots behind leading qualifier Simon Ward, Rory McIlroy was not too stressed about shooting a four over par 75 in the second qualifying round of the Radisson-SAS West of Ireland Amateur Open at Rosses Point.

Summer conditions have made the famous County Sligo links fast and bouncy and while there was no rough and little wind to trouble the 144 players bidding for a place in today’s 64-man first round draw, scoring was far from spectacular on greens described by one inter-provincial representative as “crusty”.

Bidding for a hat-trick of titles, 17-year-old McIlroy admitted that his concentration let him down as birdies at the 10th and 11th failed to make amends for bogeys at the first and eighth and a nasty pair of double bogeys on the par three fourth and 13th holes.

The crowds still turned up in their hundreds and even Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley, en route to Donegal, made the effort to catch something of the boy wonder as he stopped off at the scene of his 1989 Irish Close victory to support his brother Michael Jnr.

The cut fell at five over par 147 with 61 year old Barry Reddan (76) one of seven unlucky players eliminated on that mark as County Louth’s Simon Ward led the qualifiers on five under par 137 after adding a solid 70 to his opening 67.

But that number was of no real concern to McIlroy, who is hoping that he’ll be up for it when he sees the white’s of his opponent’s eyes today after qualifying comfortably though not impressively with a two round total of two over par 144.

“I should really go out with the mindset of winning the qualifying but I just lost a bit of concentration,” McIlroy confessed. “Tomorrow it will be okay because it is matchplay but this is strokeplay and you just have to make the top 64. It would be nice to be the leading qualifier but as they say, the leading qualifier never wins.

“I hit a couple of loose drives early on but I got it back on the back nine and hit a few really good irons shots and few nice drives. Everything else seems pretty good and If I can hole a few putts, which you usually do in matchplay, I will be okay I think.”

Reigning South of Ireland champion Ward has the game to trouble McIlroy and the motivation too after losing out too him in the final the Irish Close and also in a play-off for the Mullingar Scratch Cup last year.

The 20-year-old Carrickmacross native took the silver medal by a stroke from 18-year-old English Boys International Andrew Johnston and Esker Hills’ Shane Lowry, who both shot 70 on a day when the best score was a three under par 68 by Galway’s Eddie McCormack and overnight leader Stephen Grant followed his course record 64 with a 75

Radisson-SAS West of Ireland Amateur Championship

Qualifiers
137 S Ward (Co Louth) 67 70
138 A Johnston (North Middlesex, UK) 68 70, S Lowry (UCD/Esker Hills) 68 70
139 S Grant (Birr) 64 75
140 L Lennox (Moyola Park) 71 69, N Kearney (Royal Dublin) 70 70, A McCloy (Ballymena) 70 70, R Leonard (Banbridge) 68 72
141 R Kilpatrick (Banbridge) 71 70, C O’Connor (UCD/Athlone) 71 70, T McGowan (Strandhill) 71 70, R Boal (Scrabo) 70 71, R McNamara (Headfort) 69 72, P Sheehy (Limerick) 66 75
142 D Crowe (Dunmurry) 73 69, A Condren (Greystones) 73 69, D Kelleher (Portmarnock) 71 71, G McDermott (Co Sligo) 71 71, B Cashman (Belvoir Pk.) 70 72
143 K O’Neill (Strandhill) 73 70, C Curley (Newlands) 73 70, P Errity (Delgany) 72 71, J Hurst (Shaw Hill, UK) 72 71, D Downie (Sutton) 71 72, P Murray (Limerick) 68 75
144 E McCormack (Galway) 76 68, C Doran (Banbridge) 75 69, M Crowe (Elm Park) 75 69, D Sutton (Lockerbie, UK) 75 69, D Lernihan (UCD/Castle) 73 71, H Diamond (Holywood) 72 72, J Lyons (Galway) 72 72, D Vaughan (Ardglass) 71 73, D Scully (Galway) 71 73, W McCully (Donaghadee) 70 74, R McIlroy (Holywood) 69 75, A Hogan (Newlands/UCD) 69 75, P McGrath (Dromoland) 69 75
145 E O’Sullivan (The Island) 76 69, A Dunbar (Rathmore) 74 71, M Hammond (Moyola Park) 74 71, P Cutler (Portstewart) 74 71, P Connolly (Clontarf) 74 71, G Boyd (Donaghadee) 74 71, D Coyle (Co Louth) 70 75
146 D Kneafsey (Sudbury, UK) 77 69, P Killeen (Claremorris) 76 70, C Hughes (Royal Portrush) 75 71, N Gorey (Lee Valley) 75 71, E Saxel (Petersfield, UK) 74 72, D Morgan (Mullingar) 73 73, D Finn (Mallow) 73 73, G O’Flaherty (Cork) 72 74, R McCarthy (Island) 72 74, G O’Connor (Malahide) 72 74, G Hall (Edenderry) 70 76, N Grant (Knock) 69 77
147 E Kennedy (Strabane) 76 71, M Lavelle (K Club) 76 71, D Coyne (Tuam) 75 72, J Hughes (Douglas) 75 72, T Walsh (Claremoris) 75 72, J Moore (Laytown & Bettystown) 75 72, B Walton (UCD/Island) 75 72

Non-qualifiers
147 C Cannon (East Sussex National, UK) 74 73, P Higgins (Mullingar) 74 73, R Durnin (Laytown & Bettystown) 73 74, S Crowe (Dunmurry) 73 74, S Doherty (Malone) 72 75, K McCarthy (Kinsale) 72 75, B Reddan (Co Louth) 71 76
148 M Thistleton (Hayling, UK) 78 70, G Carew (Edenderry) 74 74, A McCormick (Scrabo) 74 74, D McNeill (Ballybofey) 72 76, P O’Hanlon (Curragh) 72 76
149 D Carroll (Grange) 78 71, D McInerney (Lahinch) 75 74, R Branigan (Co Louth) 75 74, J Toner (Woodbrook) 74 75, S Loftus (Ennis) 74 75, D Lally (Tuam) 73 76, A Wilson (Cairndhu) 73 76, A Dowling (Hermitage) 72 77
150 D O’Brien (Laytown & Bettystown) 77 73, M Sinclair (Knock) 76 74, S Healy (Claremorris) 74 76, D Boyle (Cruit Island) 74 76, S Paul (Tandragee) 74 76, S Courtney (The Chase, UK) 72 78
151 P O’Kane (Moyola Park) 82 69, M Buggy (Castlecomer) 79 72, I Keane (Malahide) 78 73, G Managh (Knock) 78 73, S Dwyer (Newlands) 77 74, G Nugent (Kilkenny) 77 74, P Graham (Galgorm Castle) 75 76, R McGee (Spain) 73 78, M Rowe (Glasson) 73 78
152 N O’Connor (Elm Park) 78 74, M McGinley Jnr (Grange) 78 74, R Maher (Nenagh) 75 77, D McNamara (Connemara) 75 77, T Burden (Hayling, UK) 75 77, J Waldron (Muskerry) 74 78, D Leathem (Lisburn) 72 80
153 D King (Tramore) 80 73, J Patterson (Knock) 79 74, A Dooley (NUIG/Glasson) 79 74, M Horan (Birr) 78 75, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 78 75, J Mulready (Castle) 77 76, J McIntyre (City of Derry) 75 78, M Poucher (Limerick) 75 78, J McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown) 74 79, K Condren (Greystones) 73 80
154 J Turner (Royal Portrush) 78 76, R Cannon (Laytown & Bettystown) 78 76, G Hamill (Ardglass) 75 79, J Gannon (Seapoint) 75 79
155 T O’Neill (Rathsallagh) 80 75, L Butler (West Waterford) 77 78, K Kennedy (Co Tipperary) 77 78, J Timony (Headfort) 77 78, D Cantrell (Woodbrook) 77 78, D Ruddy (Thurles) 77 78, S Miskelly (Knock) 75 80, R Williams (Baltinglass) 75 80
156 T Cleary (East Clare) 81 75, J Coey (Clandeboye) 80 76, M Kemmy (Limerick) 77 79, B Galway (Cairndhu) 74 82
157 C Martin (Kilkenny) 83 74, G Mallon (North West) 80 77, T McClements (Holywood) 75 82
158 B Christie (Skerries) 83 75
159 D Branigan (Seapoint) 80 79, À Meharg (Scrabo) 78 81
161 D Hogan (Killeen) 79 82
162 A Wynne (Strandhill) 81 81, J McNicholas (Ballyhaunis) 80 82

RT E McAnoy (Knock) 82 RT, N Lavin (Royal Dublin) 76 RT