West of Ireland — Easter Sunday as it happened

Reeve Whitson (in green) lines up his par putt on the 17th. He went on to beat Eddie McCormack on the 19th to reach the last 

20.09 — Mourne's Reeve Whitson dodged a bullet to beat Galway's Eddie McCormack on the 19th and set up a last 16 clash with Royal Dublin's Jeff Hopkins in the Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo.

The leading qualifier was two down with two to play but holed a crucial 10 footer for a winning par at the 17th, hit the pin with a 67-yard pitch to win the 18th in birdie and then captured the first extra hole with a par four.

Reeve Whitson hits the pin from 67 yards at the 18th to make birdie and force extra holes. He went on to beat Eddie McCormack with a par at the 19th. 

"The putt on the 17th was the first good putt I holed all day," Whitson said. "I missed a good chance for a half on 16, underhit it. I had quite a few putts like that.  All I wanted to do was go down 18 with a chance.

"It was nice to get a result on the 19th. I've lost a few matches in championships in extra holes and it was nice to do it here after losing here on the 19th in the semi-finals last year."

Whitson will face Royal Dublin's Jeff Hopkins, who beat Tom Gandy from the Isle of Man by one hole, with the winner of the Whitson-Hopkins match schedule to meet Co Sligo's Steffan O'Hara or Stackstown left-hander Richard Bridges in the quarter-finals.

Bridges beat Jake Whelan by one hole after the Dublin schoolboy had caused the first shock of the week by beating defending champion Rory McNamara 2 and 1 in the first round.

Bridges, who got up and down from the water hazard at the 13th en route to a 2 and 1 win over Colin Fairweather in the morning, was one down with three to play against Whelan but won the 16th and 17th in par to go one up and closed out the match at the last when Whelan overshot the green.

Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) watches his tee shot on the 13th. It ended up in the hole for an ace. Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ie

Irish Amateur Open champion Robbie Cannon hit every green, racking up four birdies before an eagle three at the 12th put him four up and on the road to a 4 and 3 win over close friend Dessie Morgan.

"It was good to play well after losing a little bit of rhythm this morning," said Cannon, who will now face Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith in his first appearance in the last 16. "I had to birdie the last to beat Ian Lynch this morning and that was tough match against Dessie. I'm a Man Utd. fan but as Steve Gerrard says, 'We go again.'"

Lucan's Richie O'Donovan continued his return to form with two big wins over Kieran Lovelock of the UK and Co Sligo's Declan Reidy to set up a mouth-watering last 16 meeting with Ballymena's Dermot McElroy.

"I was around three or four under in the morning and four under in the afternoon," O'Donovan said. "I just played solid. I put in a lot of work over the winter.

"Myself and Jeff Hopkins went to the Jason Floyd Golf Academy in Spain and we were there for a month and a half and spent all our time getting a little bit better. I think this is the first time I've been through the first day so I'm happy so far." 

One of the pre-tournament favourites, McElroy aced the 13th with an seven-iron in the morning as he beat Fota Island's Keith Crowley 3 and 2. The 21-year old then beat Castle's Alex Gleeson 3 and 2 in the afternoon.

"I was lucky in the match with Keith because he was coming back at me," McElroy said. "I was four up after eight and then he started birdying holes. He won 12 to get back to one down so the hole in one got me back to two up again. It's the second one I've had in competition. The first was in the European Boys in 2010.

County Sligo's David Brady putts from behind the 18th against Conor O'Rourke. He lost the hole to a par and then drove into a bunker on the 19th to lose the match. It was nevertheless a wonderful performance from the 17-year old, who set a course record 64 in the first qualifying round and beat interpro John Greene of Portmarnock 3 and 2 in the first round of matchplay.

County Sligo's David Brady putts from behind the 18th against Conor O'Rourke. He lost the hole to a par and then drove into a bunker on the 19th to lose the match. It was nevertheless a wonderful performance from the 17-year old, who set a course record 64 in the first qualifying round and beat interpro John Greene of Portmarnock 3 and 2 in the first round of matchplay.

"This afternoon was a bit of a struggle on the front nine when the wind picked up and the greens got firmer. But I finished with three birdies in a row to beat Alex, who is always a tough opponent. And Richie will be a good match tomorrow." 

McElroy is thoroughly enjoying the sunny weather too.

"I honestly can't believe I am wearing a tee-shirt out there at Rosses Point. We are used to 40 mph winds with hailstones hitting you. It's 18 degrees! I can't believe it."

Naas' Jack Hume saw off Michael Buggy on the 18th in the morning before beat Balmoral's Matthew McClean 5 and 4 in the afternoon to set up a last 16 meeting with Dungarvan's Kevin Stack, who beat Rosslare's Gary Collins 3 and 1.

"I played better in the afternoon," said 20-year old Hume. "I didn't putt well this morning and was lucky to come through. But I holed a few more putts this afternoon. I was up from the start and pretty comfortable for the most part. It was pretty breezy this afternoon but I'm pleased with the way it's gone so far."

Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond, the 2012 champion, putted brilliantly to see off Kieran McCarthy by one hole in the morning before beating Greenore's Caolan Rafferty 2 and 1 in the afternoon.

He now faces fellow Ulster Interprovincial team mate Colm Campbell of Warrenpoint, who had a brace of 4 and 3 wins over Lahinch's Stephen Loftus and Luttrellstown Castle's Shaun O’Connor respectively.

"I've broken my duck" said Campbell, who turns 27 next week. "I haven't got past the second round in four years so that's good. I've hit the ball really well from tee to green — 15 greens this morning and 12 greens this afternoon in 15 holes. I've just been really steady and played par golf.

"The best I've done in the championships was third behind Chris Selfridge in the East in 2012. I three putted the last to miss out on a play-off. So Harry tomorrow and there's nothing easy about that game."

Naas' Conor O'Rourke drives on the 19th against David Brady. He won the match and now plays Joe Lyons.

Naas' Conor O'Rourke drives on the 19th against David Brady. He won the match and now plays Joe Lyons.

Joe Lyons, 41, beat good friend Pat Murray by one hole in a tight match to set up a last 16 meeting with 22-year Conor O'Rourke of Naas.

"Pat minded me playing Home Internatjonals when I played for Ireland. We played foursomes and he was the senior partner. I played super golf this morning [to beat Eugene Smith] but it was a bit scrappy this afternoon when the breeze got up and it got more difficult.

"I struggled a little in the  breeze considering I won here before but it was flat calm that week in 2007 so hopefully it will stay fine. Every match is a bonus. 

"I made a very bad three-putt on the 15th to go back all flat and made a great up and down on the 16th to stay square. We both missed the 17th green left, Pat pitched to six feet and I chipped to 15 feet above the hole and rolled in the putt - the same exact same putt I holed the putt to give Connacht the Interpros here for in 2011 to break a 28 year gap."

Is age a handicap? 

"Over 18 holes you have a chance against anyone. I’m a bit stuff and sore but beware the injured golf. Remember, Pat won the South after playing the Interpros the week before."

O'Rourke, who beat Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan 2 and 1 in the first round, was three up after seven against 17-year old course record-holder David Brady from the home club but lost the pace of the greens and found himself one down playing the 18th.

He two-putted it from the apron to win with a par and force extra holes and then repeated the feat for a winning par on the 19th after Brady drove into sand and was forced to play out sideways.

"I missed the bulk of last season with injury," said 22-year old O'Rourke, who tore tendons and ligaments in his hands. "I came back for the East but that was probably a bit too early. I've been second in the Irish Youths and made the last eight in the South a couple of years ago. Today, I was cruising, three up through seven and just lost the pace of the greens.

"I had a couple of three-stabs, the first of the week and made two good pars on 18 and 19 to win. Joe Lyons tomorrow? Brilliant, I love playing with Joe. I played well this morning and again this afternoon even though I struggles over the last few holes.

"I did a lot of good work with my coach Gavin Lunny last night, who also coaches Jack Hume, and it's going well so far."

West Waterford's Gary Hurley had an impressive 3 and 2 win over Co Louth's Gareth Bohill and will now face Portmarnock's James Fox, who had a tight one hole won over Warrenpoint's William Hanna.

Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship, County Sligo GC

Third round draw - Monday

(8.00) John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) v Robert Cannon (Balbriggan)

(8.10) Richard O’Donovan (Lucan) v Dermot McElroy (Ballymena)

(8.20) Steffan O’Hara (Co Sligo) v Richard Bridges (Stackstown)

(8.30) Jeff Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) v Reeve Whitson (Mourne)

(8.40) Jack Hume (Naas) v Kevin Stack (Dungarvan)

(8.50) Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) v Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint)

(9.00) Conor O’Rourke (Naas) v Joe Lyons (Galway)

(9.10) Gary Hurley (West Waterford) v James Fox (Portmarnock) 


Second round

First quarter

John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) bt Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) 1 hole

Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) bt Des Morgan (Mullingar) 4/3

Richard O’Donovan (Lucan) bt Declan Reidy (Co Sligo) 4/3

Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) bt Alex Gleeson (Castle) 3/2

Second quarter

Steffan O’Hara (Co Sligo) bt Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 3/1

Richard Bridges (Stackstown) bt Jake Whelan (Newlands) 1 hole

Jeff Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) bt Tom Gandy (Rowmany, IoM) 1 hole

Reeve Whitson (Mourne) bt Eddie McCormack (Galway) 19th

Third quarter

Jack Hume (Naas) bt Matthew McClean (Balmoral) 5/4

Kevin Stack (Dungarvan) bt Gary Collins (Rosslare) 3/1

Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt Caolan Rafferty (Greenore) 2/1

Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) bt Shaun O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle) 4/3

Fourth quarter

Conor O’Rourke (Naas) bt David Brady (Co Sligo) 19th

Joe Lyons (Galway) bt Pat Murray (Limerick) 1 hole

Gary Hurley (West Waterford) bt Gareth Bohill (Co Louth) 3/2

James Fox (Portmarnock) bt William Hanna (Warrenpoint) 1 hole 


First round

First quarter

Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) bt Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 3/2

John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) bt Gary McDermott (Co Sligo) 1 hole

Des Morgan (Mullingar) bt Mark Morrissey (Mount Wolseley) 1 hole  

Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) bt Ian Lynch (Rosslare) 1 hole

Declan Reidy (Co Sligo) bt Daniel Holland (Castle) 4/3

Richard O’Donovan (Lucan) bt Kieran Lovelock (Hindhead, UK) 5/4

Alex Gleeson (Castle) bt Shaun Carter (Stackstown) 1 hole 

Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) bt Keith Crowley (Fota Island) 3/2

Second quarter

Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) bt Barry Daly (Edmondstown) 2/1

Steffan O’Hara (Co Sligo) bt Sean Maloney (Dunmurry Springs) 7/5

Richard Bridges (Stackstown) bt Colin Fairweather (Knock) 2/1

Jake Whelan (Newlands) bt Rory McNamara (Headfort) 2/1

Tom Gandy (Rowmany, IoM) bt Eoghan Murphy (Cork) 20th

Jeff Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) bt Greg Mungovan (Headfort) 3/2

Eddie McCormack (Galway) bt John Hickey (Cork) 5/4 

Reeve Whitson (Mourne) bt Jonathan Breen (Knock) 5/4

Third quarter

Jack Hume (Naas) bt Michael Buggy (Castlecomer) 2 holes

Matthew McClean (Balmoral) bt Stephen Walsh (Portmarnock) 3/2

Gary Collins (Rosslare) bt Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo) 1 hole

Kevin Stack (Dungarvan) bt Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) 5/4

Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt Kieran McCarthy (Castlemartyr) 1 hole

Caolan Rafferty (Greenore) bt Sean Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 2/1

Shaun O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle) bt Stuart Grehan (Tullamore) 1 hole

Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) bt Stephen Loftus (Lahinch) 4/3

Fourth quarter

Conor O’Rourke (Naas) bt Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock)  2/1

David Brady (Co Sligo) bt John Greene (Portmarnock) 3/2

Joe Lyons (Galway) bt Eugene Smith (Ardee) 5/4

Pat Murray (Limerick) bt David Sutton (Lurgan) 1 hole 

Gary Hurley (West Waterford) bt Conor Doran (Banbridge) 1 hole

Gareth Bohill (Co Louth) bt Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 4/3

William Hanna (Warrenpoint) bt Rory Leonard (Banbridge) 3/1

James Fox (Portmarnock) bt Simon Bryan (Delgany) 6/4.

A happy Pat Murray following his one hole win over Lurgan's David Sutton at Rosses Point. Picture © Brian Keogh

1515 — The first round of the Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open produced a handful of shocks under a clear blue sky at County Sligo. 

Defending champion Rory McNamara was beaten 2 and 1 by 18-year old debutant Jake Whelan of Newlands while local hope Gary McDermott also fell at the first hurdle to Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith by one hole.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy aced the 13th to set up a 3 and 2 win over Keith Crowley as leading qualifier Reeve Whitson cruised to a 5 and 4 win over Knock's Jonathan Breen.

Harry Diamond, the winner in 2012, putted superbly to see of Castlemartyr's Kieran McCarthy by one hole while course record holder David Brady, the 17-year old qualifier from Co Sligo, had a 3 and 2 win over Portmarnock interprovincial John Greene.

Brady will now face Naas' Conor O'Rourke, who surprised Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan 2 and 1. 

Veteran Joe Lyons will face another experienced campaigner in Pat Murray in the second round while West Waterford's Gary Hurley came back from one down with two to play to beat Banbridge's Connor Doran on the 18th. 

Hurley faces County Louth's Gareth Bohill in this afternoon's second round with William Hanna facing James Fox of Portmarnock.

Fox despatched Simon Bryan 6 and 4 as Hanna held off the combative Leonard by 3 and 1 on a stunning day at Rosses Point. 

The legendary Fred Perry is officiating at his 38th Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo, Rosses Point.

The legendary Fred Perry is officiating at his 38th Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at County Sligo, Rosses Point.

1300 — Defending champion Rory McNamara crashed out in the first round of the Radisson Blu sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open to Newlands' Jake Whelan at Co Sligo.

Rory McNamara (in white on the right) watches Newlands' Jake Whelan recover from the rough on the 17th. Whelan made a bogey five to close out a 2 and 1 win over the defending champion. Picture © Brian Keogh

Suffering with a cold putter on a sun kissed day, the Headfort man lost 2 and 1 to the 18-year old debutant, who will now face Stackstown's Richard Bridges in this afternoon's second round.

McNamara went two up after two but Whelan fought back, eventually winning the 11th  in par and the 12th in birdie to go one up. The sixth year student at Coláiste Chilliain in Clondalkin then birdied the 14th to go two up.

Newlands' Jake Whelan following his first round win over defending champion Rory McNamara. © Brian Keogh

McNamara holed a rare putt, a 30 footer at the 16th to keep the match alive. But with Whelan in trouble right of the 17th in two, he took three to get down from the apron of the 17th, missing a slick six footer down the hill for a par that would have taken the match to the 18th after Whelan had missed a 15 foot par putt for the match.

Elsewhere, leading qualifier Reeve Whitson recovered from a three-putt bogey at the first to beat Knock's Jonathan Breen 5 and 4 and will face Galway's Eddie McCormack, who also had a 5 and 4 first round win over Cork's John Hickey.

County Sligo's Steffan O'Hara had a big win in the first round of the Radisson Blu West of ireland at Rosses Point. Picture © Brian Keogh

County Sligo's Steffan O'Hara had a big win in the first round of the Radisson Blu West of ireland at Rosses Point. Picture © Brian Keogh

11:57am — Stunning sunshine greeted the 64 qualifiers for the matchplay stages of the Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland Championship at County Sligo and it wasn't long before the surprises started coming through.

Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith was the first giant-killer on the scene, beating Co Sligo's Gary McDermott by one hole to set up a second round meeting with Warrenpoint's Stephen Coulter, who beat Eanna Griffin 3 and 2.

Dessie Morgan and Robbie Cannon both won on the 18th to set up a meeting of "veterans" this afternoon while Co Sligo's Declan Reidy continued his fine form from the strokeplay qualifying with a 3 and 2 win over Mullingar Scratch Trophy winner Daniel Holland of Castle and now takes on Lucan's Richie O'Donovan, who continued his return to form with a 5 and 4 win over Hindhead's Kieran Lovelock.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy had a hole in one at the 13th to go two up en route to a 3 and 2 win over Fota Island's Keith Crowley while in the second quarter, big Steffan O'Hara from the home club had three birdies and no mistakes in a whopping 7 and 5 victory over Dunmurry Springs' Sean Maloney.