James Fox extended his three shot overnight lead to four in the East of Ireland Amateur Open in Baltray. Picture by Pat CashmanJames Fox can follow in the footsteps of his brother Noel if he takes advantage of a four-stroke overnight lead and wins the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray tomorrow.

But having shared the lead with Paul Cutler with 36 holes to go in 2009 only to finish ten shots behind the Portstewart man, the 29-year old Portmarnock player is taking nothing for granted this time.

Having avoided the horrific morning conditions that forced officials to delay the start by 70 minutes, the  Leinster interprovincial was happy to add a one over 73 to his opening 66 to lead from Co Sligo’s Gary McDermott (69) on five under par 139.

“I’d have taken that on the first tee,” said Fox, who believes he’s a better player than the he was when he jointly led at halfway in 2009 before fading to 10th. “I am three years older and three years more experienced. That said, I bet nobody remembers who was leading at halfway last year.”

Fox bogeyed the first but after birdies at the third and fifth left him on seven under, he bogeyed the eighth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th and was pleased to pick up shots at the 14th, 16th and 18th coming home.

He was still only marginally happier than 30-year old bank official McDermott who narrowly escaped disqualification on Saturday when he arrived late for his tee time and was handed a two stroke penalty before eventually carding a 74.

Believing he was off at 9.33 am instead of 8.33, he realised his error just in time, screeched to a halt in the nearest parking space to the 10th tee, grabbed a three wood and opened with a two over 74 that left him eight shots behind Fox starting the day.

“I could have been going home without playing,” McDermott said with a grin. “I was happy to take the two shots. It’s never happened to me before but I will have a couple of looks at the time sheet tonight.”

If McDermott was lucky to escape disqualification, he was doubly blessed by the draw which saw him avoid driving rain and high winds that sent scores soaring in the morning and card a best-of-the-day 69 to get to one under

“We definitely got the best of the weather,” said McDermott, who was second to Cian Curley at Baltray two years ago. “The tees were up and the wind died. I played well yesterday but I played great today.”

After starting with a bogey at the first, McDermott got up and down for birdies at the second and third, birdied the short fifth from four feet and picked up another shot at the par-five sixth to go three under for the day.

Gary McDermott is hoping to go one better than 2010, when he was second to Cian Curley.Another birdie at the 10th left him flying high at two under for the championship but after a double bogey six at the 11th, he was happy to par his way at the 18th, where he hit a five iron to 15 feet and saw his eagle putt die on the lip.

The Irish international is no stranger to contending at Baltray, where he was second behind Cian Curley two year ago.

Fox also knows what it’s like to walk up tjhe 18th a winner. But that was on the bag of his brother Noel in 2002, when he older of the two Portmarnock men captured the last of his three East of Ireland titles.

Noel has since joined the professional ranks but James has no plans to follow in his footsteps, having gotten the bug out of his system a few years ago.

“I went to the Q-School three times,” said the 29-year old financial analyst. “I figured if you’re not in you can’t win and if you are playing well you should have a go. But I am a married man and settled down now and just starting a career.”

McDermott’s fellow Co Sligo man, 20-year old Michael Durcan, is lurking just five shot off the pace after a second successive 72 while Matt McAlpin (72), Colm Campbell (72), Geoff Lenehan (72) and Dessie Morgan (75) are just six back on one over.

Having seen Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan win from the back of field last year thanks to closing 66, anyone who made the 152 cut will feel they have a chance.

West Waterford’s Gary Hurley (72) and Belvoir Park’s Harry Diamond (71) are in a six-man group tied for eighth on two over par with Irish Close champion Chris Selfridge just eight behind Fox on 147 after an excellent 73 in the worst of the morning conditions.

Like many in the morning wave, the 20-year old from Moyola Park felt the Leinster Branch could have delayed the start until closer to midday given the wind, cold and driving rain.

“I didn’t think it should have been played and maybe they could have waited another hour but I can see why they played because they wouldn’t have finished today,” said Selfridge, who had five birdies and six bogeys in his 73.

Galway’s Eddie McCormack was grateful to escape with a 77 that left him on 148 with the likes of defending champion O’Donovan, yet he too felt the start could have been delayed a little longer.

“It was very, very tricky,” said the Cavan native, who lost a ball off the tee at the second and took eight. “At the first I hit a driver and a two iron and was 20 yards short of the green. The 12th was a driver and three wood, whereas yesterday was it was a two-iron and a six-iron.

“The 13th was a driver and a two-iron. Yesterday it was a drive and a six iron. It was a tricky downwind as it was into the breeze. They should have called it off until around midday in my opinion.”

The home stretch. The view across the rough to the 18th green and the clubhouse at County LouthEast of Ireland 2012

County Louth Golf Club, Baltray, June 2-5, Par 72

Final day tee-times

1st tee/10th tee

(7.0/12.0) Anderson, Kane, Shanahan;

(7.10/12.10) McBride, Kenny, Bridges;

(7.20/12.20) O’Connor, Gribben, Sinclair;

(7.30/12.30) Grehan, Smyth, Carvill;

(7.40/12.40) Dunne, Whitson, Ryan;

(7.50/12.50) Coyle, Small, Weldon;

(8.0/1.0) Bohill, Casey, Moynihan;

(8.10/1.10) Ashby, Rafferty, Cannon.


10th tee/1st tee

(7.0/12.0) McKnight, Murray, Whelan;

(7.10/12.10) McGrane, O’Rourke, O’Donovan;

(7.20/12.20) McCormack, O’Connor, Hume;

(7.30/12.30) O’Hara, Selfridge, Doherty;

(7.40/12.40) Hogan, Molloy, Kiernan;

(7.50/12.50) Ward, Dwyer, Hurley;

(8.0/1.0) Grant, Diamond, Morgan;

(8.10/1.10) Lenehan, Campbell, McAlpin;

(8.20/1.20) Durcan, McDermott, Fox.


After 36 holes

Qualifiers (Rd 2 SSS 72, CSS 75)

139 J Fox (Portmarnock) 66 73

143 G McDermott (Co. Sligo) 74 69

144 M Durcan (Co. Sligo) 72 72

145 M McAlpin (Royal Portrush) 73 72, C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 73 72, G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 73 72, D Morgan (Mullingar) 70 75

146 H Diamond (Belvoir Park) 75 71, N Grant (Knock) 74 72, G Hurley (West Waterford) 74 72, S Dwyer (Lucan) 72 74, S Ward (Co. Louth) 71 75, A Kiernan (Forrest Little) 70 76

147 C Molloy (Ardee) 75 72, A Hogan (Newlands) 75 72, S Doherty (Ballyliffin) 74 73, C Selfridge (Moyola Park) 74 73, S O’Hara (Co. Sligo) 73 74

148 J Hume (Rathsallagh) 73 75, S O’Connor (Skerries) 72 76, E McCormack (Galway) 71 77, R O’Donovan (Lucan) 71 77, C O’Rourke (Naas/NUIM) 71 77, G McGrane (The Royal Dublin) 70 78

149 J Whelan (Newlands) 76 73, P Murray (Limerick) 72 77, M McKnight (LPGA International, Fla.) 72 77, R Cannon (Balbriggan) 71 78, C Rafferty (Greenore) 69 80

150 L Ashby (Killerig) 75 75, G Moynihan (The Island) 75 75, B Casey (Headfort) 75 75, G Bohill (Co. Louth) 74 76, R Weldon (Killeen Castle) 71 79, P Small (Bangor) 70 80

151 D Coyle (Co. Louth) 75 76, S Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 75 76, R Whitson (Mourne) 74 77, G Dunne (Seapoint) 74 77, J Carvill (Banbridge) 74 77, S Smyth (Co. Louth) 73 78, S Grehan (Tullamore) 71 80

152 M Sinclair (Knock) 79 73, R Gribben (Warrenpoint) 78 74, T O’Connor (Athlone) 77 75, R Bridges (Stackstown) 75 77, R Kenny (Naas/NUIM) 74 78, P McBride (The Island) 74 78, M Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 74 78, M Kane (Whitehead) 73 79, B Anderson (Co. Sligo/NUIM) 71 81


153 B Daly (Edmondstown) 80 73, A Grant (Dundalk) 79 74, R Young (Rosslare) 78 75, C Sharvin (Ardglass) 78 75, J Hopkins (Skerries) 77 76, D McCusker (Moyola Park) 76 77, K Crowley (Lee Valley) 76 77, R McKinstry (Cairndhu) 75 78, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 74 79, A Condren (Greystones) 74 79, S Bryan (Delgany) 74 79, N Gorey (Muskerry) 73 80, C Fairweather (Knock) 71 82

154 C McGrogan (Newbridge) 80 74, B Ronan (Co. Louth) 79 75, S Carter (Stackstown/NUIM) 78 76, S Healy (Claremorris) 76 78, T O’Leary (Wexford) 76 78, J Pierse (Grange) 76 78, T McLarnon (Massereene) 76 78, R Farrell (New Ross) 76 78, D O’Donovan (Muskerry) 75 79, J Lyons (Birr) 74 80

155 K Stack (Dungarvan) 80 75, G McGee (Cypress Point) 79 76, D Coghlan (The Royal Dublin) 79 76, P Coughlan (Moate) 78 77, A Dowling (Hermitage) 77 78, I O’Rourke (Cork) 75 80, R McNamara (Headfort) 75 80, W Hanna (Kilkeel) 73 82, D Downie (Sutton) 73 82

156 J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) 80 76, D Corfee (EL Macero Country Club) 79 77, G Mungovan (Headfort) 79 77, A Kelly (Muskerry) 76 80, J Richardson (Royal Portrush) 74 82, C Doran (Banbridge) 74 82, G O Flaherty (Cork) 71 85

157 N McGlynn (Carton House) 82 75, G Collins (Rosslare) 79 78, Q Carew (Edenderry) 78 79, N Steedman (Courtown) 78 79, D Murray (Skerries) 77 80, S McGlynn (Carton House) 77 80, M Brett (Portmarnock) 76 81, P McKeever (Castle) 76 81, M Mullen (Wexford) 76 81, M O’Rourke (Royal Tara) 75 82, J Hanby (Castle) 73 84, J Yates (Naas) 73 84, P O’Kane (Moyola Park) 72 85

158 K Purcell (Dun Laoghaire) 80 78, B Corfee (EL Macero Country Club) 79 79, S McConnell (Ballyclare) 78 80, D O’Neill (Carton House) 76 82

159 D Holland (Castle) 79 80, J Hickey (Cork) 79 80, M Richards (Carton House) 79 80, S Walsh (Portmarnock) 79 80, C Glynn (Carton House) 78 81, T Coffey (Slieve Russell) 78 81, P Cullen (Royal Tara) 77 82, T Kelly (Balcarrick) 76 83, N Beirth (Co. Louth) 76 83, B Walton (The Island) 74 85

160 P McCrudden (Royal Portrush) 77 83, S Brady (Co. Sligo/NUIM) 76 84

161 A Lynch (Royal Tara) 82 79, R O’ Dwyer (Callan) 81 80, R Connolly (Rathsallagh) 81 80, S Crowe (Dunmurry) 81 80, M Wylie (Belvoir Park) 78 83, E Smith (Ardee) 78 83

162 D Byrne (Athenry) 79 83, M Collins (Mahon) 76 86, C Carroll (Shandon Park) 75 87, I Brennan (Greenore) 72 90

163 C Martin (Kilkenny) 81 82, E Murphy (Cork) 79 84, S Cannon (Loughrea) 74 89

164 B Fennelly (The Royal Dublin) 87 77, G Walsh (Mount Juliet) 83 81, D Lally (Mullingar) 81 83, D Loftus (Castlebar) 78 86, R Neville (The Links Portmarnock) 75 89

165 K Nolan (Charlesland) 82 83, M Reck (Lucan) 81 84, S Egan (Castle Barna) 80 85

166 G Smyth (Clonmel) 79 87

168 D O’Connor (Athlone) 83 85

169 B McCormack (Castle Barna) 85 84

170 G McAuley (Dunmurry) 86 84, N Foley (The Island) 82 88

NR M Buggy (Castlecomer) 74 NR, M O’Toole (Lucan) 74 NR, S Coulter (Warrenpoint) 75 NR, C McKenna (Mallow) 80 NR

RTD R Burke (Castle) 80 RTD, A Kearney (Castlerock) 80 RTD


First round (SSS 74; CSS 74)

66 J Fox (Portmarnock)

69 C Rafferty (Greenore)

70 D Morgan (Mullingar), P Small (Bangor), G McGrane (The Royal Dublin), A Kiernan (Forrest Little)

71 E McCormack (Galway), S Ward (Co. Louth), R Cannon (Balbriggan), G O Flaherty (Cork), B Anderson (Co. Sligo/NUIM), R O’Donovan (Lucan), R Weldon (Killeen Castle), C O’Rourke (Naas/NUIM), S Grehan (Tullamore), C Fairweather (Knock)

72 M McKnight (LPGA International, Fla.), I Brennan (Greenore), S O’Connor (Skerries), P Murray (Limerick), P O’Kane (Moyola Park), M Durcan (Co. Sligo), S Dwyer (Lucan)

73 M McAlpin (Royal Portrush), N Gorey (Muskerry), J Hume (Rathsallagh), D Downie (Sutton), J Yates (Naas), J Hanby (Castle), S O’Hara (Co. Sligo), W Hanna (Kilkeel), M Kane (Whitehead), G Lenehan (Portmarnock), S Smyth (Co. Louth), C Campbell (Warrenpoint)

74 G Bohill (Co. Louth), A Condren (Greystones), G Dunne (Seapoint), E Arthurs (Forrest Little), M Shanahan (Castlemartyr), C Doran (Banbridge), G Hurley (West Waterford), C Selfridge (Moyola Park), B Walton (The Island), R Whitson (Mourne), J Richardson (Royal Portrush), J Lyons (Birr), R Kenny (Naas/NUIM), P McBride (The Island), G McDermott (Co. Sligo), M O’Toole (Lucan), S Doherty (Ballyliffin), J Carvill (Banbridge), S Cannon (Loughrea), S Bryan (Delgany), M Buggy (Castlecomer), N Grant (Knock)

75 G Moynihan (The Island), L Ashby (Killerig), C Molloy (Ardee), R McKinstry (Cairndhu), S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), I O’Rourke (Cork), C Carroll (Shandon Park), D Coyle (Co. Louth), R McNamara (Headfort), H Diamond (Belvoir Park), S Coulter (Warrenpoint), R Bridges (Stackstown), B Casey (Headfort), A Hogan (Newlands), M O’Rourke (Royal Tara), R Neville (The Links Portmarnock), D O’Donovan (Muskerry)

76 T O’Leary (Wexford), P McKeever (Castle), J Whelan (Newlands), M Mullen (Wexford), A Kelly (Muskerry), D O’Neill (Carton House), R Farrell (New Ross), T McLarnon (Massereene), D McCusker (Moyola Park), T Kelly (Balcarrick), S Brady (Co. Sligo/NUIM), K Crowley (Lee Valley), S Healy (Claremorris), J Greene (Portmarnock), M Brett (Portmarnock), J Pierse (Grange), M Collins (Mahon), N Beirth (Co. Louth)

77 J Hopkins (Skerries), D Murray (Skerries), P Cullen (Royal Tara), S McGlynn (Carton House), A Dowling (Hermitage), P McCrudden (Royal Portrush), T O’Connor (Athlone)

78 C Glynn (Carton House), S McConnell (Ballyclare), D Loftus (Castlebar), R Gribben (Warrenpoint), E Smith (Ardee), M Wylie (Belvoir Park), Q Carew (Edenderry), N Steedman (Courtown), C Sharvin (Ardglass), R Young (Rosslare), T Coffey (Slieve Russell), P Coughlan (Moate), S Carter (Stackstown/NUIM)

79 D Byrne (Athenry), A Grant (Dundalk), G Collins (Rosslare), G McGee (Cypress Point), B Ronan (Co. Louth), D Coghlan (The Royal Dublin), M Sinclair (Knock), G Smyth (Clonmel), M Richards (Carton House), G Mungovan (Headfort), S Walsh (Portmarnock), B Corfee (EL Macero Country Club), J Hickey (Cork), E Murphy (Cork), D Corfee (EL Macero Country Club), D Holland (Castle)

80 S Egan (Castle Barna), C McGrogan (Newbridge), R Burke (Castle), A Kearney (Castlerock), J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle), K Purcell (Dun Laoghaire), K Stack (Dungarvan), B Daly (Edmondstown), C McKenna (Mallow), K McDonagh (Athlone)

81 M Reck (Lucan), K Dunne (New Ross), R Connolly (Rathsallagh), S Crowe (Dunmurry), C Martin (Kilkenny), D Lally (Mullingar), R O’ Dwyer (Callan)

82 A Lynch (Royal Tara), K Egan (Carton House), N McGlynn (Carton House), K Nolan (Charlesland), N Foley (The Island)

83 G Walsh (Mount Juliet), D O’Connor (Athlone)

85 B McCormack (Castle Barna)

86 G McAuley (Dunmurry)

87 B Fennelly (The Royal Dublin)

RTD G Lawlor (Newbridge)


Tee-times (Saturday/Sunday)  

1st Tee/10th Tee

(7.30/12.30) N Grant (Knock) G McGrane (Royal Dublin) P McKeever (Castle);

(7.39/12.39) J Hopkins (Skerries) G Walsh (Mount Juliet) M Richards (Carton House);

(7.48/12.48) S O’Connor (Skerries) G Bohill (Co. Louth) T Coffey (Slieve Russell);

(7.57/12.57) M Durcan (Co. Sligo) S Bryan (Delgany) P McBride (The Island);

(8.06/1.06) R Whitson (Mourne) R Connolly (Rathsallagh) D Coyle (Co. Louth);

(8.15/1.15) D Corfee (El Macero CC, US) T McLarnan (Massereene) R Young (Rosslare);

(8.24/1.24) P Murray (Limerick) R Bridges (Stackstown) L Ashby (Killerig);

(8.33/1.33) D Coghlan (Royal Dublin) R Cannon (Balbriggan) C Rafferty (Greenore);

(8.42/1.42) B Casey (Headfort), G Lenehan (Portmarnock) D McCusker (Moyola Park);

(8.51/1.51) A Dowling (Hermitage) C Sharvin (Ardglass) B Corfee (El Macero CC, US);

(9.00/2.00) R Gribben (Warrenpoint) S Carter (Stackstown/NUIM) G Mungovan (Headfort);

(9.09/2.09) J Hume (Rathsallagh) S Ryan (Royal Dublin) M McAlpin (Royal Portrush);

(9.18/2.18 A Grant (Dundalk) J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) N McGlynn (Carton House);

(12.30/7.30) M Buggy (Castlecomer) M Brett (Portmarnock) D Murray (Skerries);

(12.39/7.39) J Greene (Portmarnock) C Doran (Banbridge) P Cullen (Royal Tara);

(12.48/7.48) E Smith (Ardee) G Smyth (Clonmel) K Egan (Carton House);

(12.57/7.57) C Glynn (Carton House) I O’Rourke (Cork) P McCrudden (Royal Portrush);

(1.06/8.06) R O’Donovan (Lucan) S Crowe (Dunmurry) D O’Donovan (Muskerry);

(1.15/8.15) E McCormack (Galway) P O’Kane (Moyola Park) S Walsh (Portmarnock);

(1.24/8.24) C Fairweather (Knock) B Anderson (Co. Sligo/NUIM) M Hammond (Moyola Park);

(1.33/8.33) M McKnight (LPGA Int., US) B Walton (The Island) J Lyons (Birr);

(1.42/8.42) G Moynihan (The Island) J Carvill (Banbridge) K Nolan (Charlesland);

(1.51/8.51) P Small (Bangor) C O’Rourke (Naas/NUIM) J Hickey (Cork);

(2.00/9.00) K McDonagh (Athlone) J Yates (Naas) M Mullen (Wexford);

(2.09/9.09) S Brady (Co. Sligo/NUIM) C Martin (Kilkenny) Dermot O’Connor (Athlone)

(2.18/9.18) K Stack (Dungarvan) K Purcell (Dun Laoghaire) B Fennelly (Royal Dublin)

10th Tee/1st Tee

(7.30/12.30) C Molloy (Ardee) E Murphy (Cork) J Whelan (Newlands);

(7.39/12.39) D O’Neill (Carton House) D Holland (Castle) K Crowley (Lee Valley);

(7.48/12.48) A Kiernan (Forrest Little) B Daly (Edmondstown) B Ronan (Co. Louth);

(7.57/12.57) A Lynch (Royal Tara) R Kenny (Naas/NUIM) M Kane (Whitehead);

(8.06/1.06) E Arthurs (Forrest Little) T O’Connor (Athlone) R O’Dwyer (Callan);

(8.15/1.15) H Diamond (Belvoir Park) J Fox (Portmarnock) D Byrne (Athenry);

(8.24/1.24) M Shanahan (Castlemartyr) N Gorey (Muskerry) S O’Hara (Co. Sligo);

(8.33/1.33) D Morgan (Mullingar) G McDermott (Co. Sligo) S Doherty (Ballyliffin);

(8.42/1.42) G Hurley (West Waterford/NUIM) A Hogan (Newlands) R Farrell (New Ross);

(8.51/1.51) C Campbell (Warrenpoint) G Lawlor (Newbridge) K Dunne (New Ross);

(9.00/2.00) P Coughlan (Moate) G McGee (Cypress Point) C Carroll (Shandon Park);

(9.09/2.09) Q Carew (Edenderry) R Weldon (Killeen Castle) S Smyth (Co. Louth);

(9.18/2.18) N Steedman (Courtown) S Dwyer (Lucan) C McGrogan (Newbridge);

(12.30/7.30) N Beirth (Co. Louth) M Collins (Mahon) N Foley (The Island);

(12.39/7.39) I Brennan (Greenore) S Grehan (Tullamore) M Wylie (Belvoir Park);

(12.48/7.48) R McKinstry (Cairndhu) D Loftus (Castlebar) G Dunne (Seapoint);

(12.57/7.57) D Downie (Sutton) G O’Flaherty (Cork) M O’Toole (Lucan);

(1.06/8.06) R McNamara (Headfort) C McKenna (Mallow) G McAuley (Dunmurry);

(1.15/8.15) A Condren (Greystones) G Collins (Rosslare) S Coulter (Warrenpoint);

(1.24/8.24) S Healy (Claremorris) M Sinclair (Knock) M O’Rourke (Royal Tara);

(1.33/8.33) A Kearney (Castlerock) S Ward (Co. Louth) T Kelly (Balcarrick);

(1.42/8.42) C Selfridge (Moyola Park) S McConnell (Ballyclare) J Hanby (Castle);

(1.51/8.51) W Hanna (Kilkeel) S McGlynn (Carton House) A Kelly (Muskerry);

(2.00/9.00) D Lally (Mullingar) S Cannon (Loughrea) J Richardson (Royal Portrush);

(2.09/9.09) M Reck (Lucan) J Pierse (Grange) R Burke (Castle);

(2.18/9.18) B McCormack (Castle Barna) S Egan (Castle Barna) T O’Leary (Wexford).