McNamara heads five Irish qualifiers in Spanish Amateur
Rory McNamara. Picture Pat Cashman

Rory McNamara. Picture Pat Cashman

Headfort's Rory McNamara led a quintet of Irishmen into the matchplay stages of the Spanish International Amateur Open at La Reserva in Sotogrande.

The reigning West of Ireland champion shot a second successive 72 to qualify with ease in eighth place on level par 144, five strokes behind Spain's Victor Pastor.

Strokeplay qualifying scores

Nations Cup

Spanish Amateur Matchplay draw

He was joined in the top 32 who will do combat in Friday's opening round of matchplay combat by Stackstown left-hander Richard Bridges, who shot a fine 70, and Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan (71).

Bridges and Lenehan finished 16th on two over 146 and will face each other in the opening round with the winner to take on Pastor (73-66) or Irish Close champion Cormac Sharvin, who was the 32nd and final qualifier on 149 after rounds of 74 and 75.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy qualified in 12th place as he added a 71 to his opening 75 and will play Sigot López of Spain in round one.

McNamara will take on another Spaniard in Carlos Leandro and could end up playing Sharvin, Bridges or Lenehan in the third round.

Naas' Jack Hume (73-79/152), defending champion Reeve Whitson of Mourne (75-75/152), Tullamore's Stuart Grehan (76 77/152) and Lucan's Richard O'Donovan (84-77/161) failed to qualify.

Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond retired while Robbie Cannon was forced out by a back injury after just three holes of the first qualifing round.

The Spanish Amateur has a long list of prestigious winners such as José María Olazábal (1983 and 1984), Darren Clarke (1990), Sergio García (1998) and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño (2003).

In the Nations Cup, France C prevailed from Italy B with the Ireland A side of McElroy, Hume and Sharvin coming home seventh.