Lowry's title hopes go belly up

By Brian Keogh

Brendan Walton left Shane Lowry's title hopes belly up as he wielded the long putter like a wand in the South of Ireland at Lahinch.

The Dubliner - who is a nephew of Ryder Cup legend Philip Walton - copied his famous uncle's long-putting style to grab a surprise 3 and 2 win over the Irish Close champion.

After cruising into the last 16, Walton confessed that he has been using the belly putter since he was just EIGHT year old.

But he also took a leaf out of his uncle's matchplay bible to carve out a shock victory over his close pal and UCD team mate.

Walton, 20, said: "I started watching my uncle Philip with the long putter when I was a kid and I just copied him. You get a nice roll on the ball with the long putter on these greens.

"I play with Philip nearly every week and he gives me bits of advice. In matchplay he told me, 'You have to bite them, don't show any mercy.'

"I knew I had to do that against Shane because he is the kind of player that can hit you with four birdies in a row"

One down after three holes, Walton birdied the long fourth to level the match and was never headed after going one up at the tough sixth.

Pars at the 10th, 11th and 13th put him four up and while he lost the 14th after driving into a bunker, he closed out the match in style.

He explained: "Coming up the last four holes, Shane is capable of throwing four birdies at you and I was only three up after making a mess of the 14th.

"So I decided I just had to get a half on 15 to go dormie and then try to hit a good tee shot into the 16th."

Walton did exactly that, rifling a three-iron into the heart of the 15th green to halve in par before two-putting for a par three at the short 16th after Lowry had missed the green.

The Malahide man will now face The Curragh's Paul O'Hanlon in today's fifth round.

O'Hanlon, 22, was four down after 11 holes to Lahinch expert Declan McInerney but hit back to level the match by the 17th.

He then blasted a three wood into the heart of the 18th to set up a winning birdie four.

Defending champion Simon Ward had to battle to beat Kilkenny's Graham Nugent 3 and 1 but Dunmurry's Darren Crowe cruised to a 4 and 3 win over James Monaghan to remain on course for his third final in a row.