Pat Murray (Limerick) plays from the rough at the 14th during his second round matchplay of the AIG sponsored Irish Amateur Close Championship at Connemara Golf Club. Picture by Pat CashmanOn a day when gale force winds almost got the better of players in the AIG sponsored Irish Close Championship in Connemara, former Close champion Pat Murray from Limerick marched on into the last sixteen unabated, seeing off Irish international Alex Gleeson and close friend Eoin Arthurs in the process, writes the GUI.

Murray, who lifted the Close title in Enniscrone four years ago, eased past Gleeson comfortably, ending the match on the fourteenth with a five-hole winning margin, but Arthurs proved a sterner test in the afternoon.

Having edged into a two-hole lead after six holes, Arthurs clawed one back on Murray at the eighth hole before winning fourteen and fifteen to take a slim lead over the reigning South of Ireland champion in conditions not suited to free flowing golf.

As the wind strengthened and swirled around, Arthurs found trouble off the tee on the sixteenth, and when Murray found the centre of the green in two and Arthurs failed to get up and down, the match was level.

A 359-yard drive and a wedge was all Murray needed to find the penultimate green.

“I nailed my driver down seventeen. I had 140-yards to the flag and hit a wedge in under the flag. Eoin missed it short but hit a great pitch stone dead.”

With the match all-square heading down the last, both players were left with three-foot putts for par, Murray would have taken his chances in extra holes, but the offer from Arthurs didn’t come.

“I was half expecting a call.” Murray confessed afterward. “If he had said come on we’ll walk on, I would have said okay.”

Murray held his nerve to hole-out and when Arthurs’ putt horse-shoed out, his fate was sealed.

Ryan McKinstry of Cairndhu is Murray’s next test after the Ulsterman accounted for Simon Ward.

Galway’s Eddie McCormack takes on the silver medal winner Cormac Sharvin this morning after the Galwayman saw off Eugene Smith of Ardee and Greenore’s Ian Brennan.

The East of Ireland champion Paul Dunne from Greystones is also through to the last sixteen today, after wins over David Carey & Liam Ashby, both by a margin of 5/4.

One of the pre-tournament favourites Jack Hume is out after losing to Waterford’s Eanna Griffin in the first round by a one-hole margin while the defending champion is also out. Last year’s winner Chris Selfridge lost to Jonathan Yates of Naas 3/2.

Irish Amateur Close Championship, Connemara Golf Club
Monday 10 June


First round

P Murray (Limerick) bt A Gleeson (Castle) 5/4
E Arthurs (Forrest Little) bt S Coulter (Warrenpoint) 6/5
R McKinstry (Cairndhu) bt D Brennan (Shannon) 5/3
S Ward (Co Louth) bt M McKnight (Lisburn) 7/5
E McCormack (Galway) bt E Smith (Ardee) 1 hole
I Brennan (Greenore) bt S McCarthy (Killeen Castle/NUIM) 5/4
B Anderson (Royal Dublin) bt D Loftus (NUIM/Castlebar) 3/2
C Sharvin (Ardglass) bt S McGlynn (Carton House) 3/1
D Holland (Castle) bt P McBride (The Island) 19th
J Hopkins (Royal Dublin) bt G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 4/3
N Gorey (Muskerry) bt J Greene (Portmarnock) 4/3
G McDermott (Co Sligo) bt J Richardson (Royal Portrush) 20th
S Flanagan (Co Sligo) bt A Purdy (Ballyclare) 2/1
K Egan (Carton House) bt C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 3/1
D Byrne (Greystones) bt M Morrissey (Mt Wolseley) 4/3
E Griffin (Waterford) bt J Hume (Rathsallagh) 1 hole
C Selfridge (Moyola Park) bt K Crowley (Fota Island) 1 hole
J Yates (Naas) bt T McLarnon (Massereene/UUJ)
S Loftus (Lahinch) bt S Bleakley (Shandon Park) 4/2
S O’Hara (Co Sligo) bt D Morgan (Mullingar) 1 hole
S Healy (Claremorris) bt R Pierse (Grange) 19th
M McAlpin (Royal Portrush) bt E Haugh (Castletroy) conceded
D Coyne (Tuam) bt A Thomas (Dungarvan) 2/1
G Lenehan (Portmarnock) bt P Coughlan (Moate) 1 hole
P Dunne (Greystones) bt D Carey (Carton House) 5/4
L Ashby (Killerig) bt J Whelan (Newlands) 2 holes
S Walsh (Portmarnock) bt T Cleary (Dromoland) 5/4
K Lynch (Skibbereen/NUIM) bt R Bridges (Stackstown) 3/1
C McKenna (Mallow) bt S Grehan (Tullamore) 19th
S Bryan (Delgany) by J Lyons (Galway) 1 hole
J Sugrue (Mallow) bt M Collins (Killeen Castle) 1 hole
D Coghlan Portmarnock) bt R Dawson (Faithlegg) 2/1.

Second round

P Murray bt Arthurs 1 hole
R McKinstry bt S Ward 2/1
E McCormack bt I Brennan 2 holes
C Sharvin bt B Anderson 4/3
J Hopkins bt D Holland 4/2
G McDermott bt N Gorey 1 hole
K Egan bt S Flanagan 3/1
D Byrne bt E Griffin 6/5
J Yates bt C Selfridge 3/2
S Loftus bt S O’Hara 3/2
S Healy bt M McAlpin 1 hole
G Lenehan bt D Coyne 5/4
P Dunne bt L Ashby 5/4
K Lynch bt S Walsh 5/3
S Bryan bt C McKenna 5/4
J Sugrue bt D Coghlan 3/2

Tuesday 11 June

Third round tee times

0830 P Murray (Limerick) v Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu)
0840 E McCormack (Galway) v C Sharvin (Ardglass)
0850 J Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) v G McDermott (Sligo)
0900 K Egan (Carton House) v D Byrne (Greystones)
0910 J Yates (Naas) v S Loftus (Lahinch)
0920 S Healy (Claremorris) v G Lenehan (Portmarnock)
0930 P Dunne (Greystones) v K Lynch (Skibbereen/NUIM)
0940 S Bryan (Delgany) v J Sugrue (Mallow)

1400 Quarter Finals