Cutler in last eight at Spanish Amateur

Portstewart's Paul Cutler can follow in the footsteps of 1990 champion Darren Clarke after cruising into the last eight of the Spanish Amateur Championship in Girona.

The 19-year-old Irish international, who beat Rory McIlroy en route to a place in last year's West of Ireland final, will face Johann López Lázaro of France in the quarter-finals at Pals.

Cutler defeated England's Billy Henstock at the 19th in the first round before cruising to a 5 and 4 victory over Austria's Hans Peter Bacher.

However, it was a disappointing day for the rest of the Irish as Co Louth's Simon Ward and Esker Hills' Shane Lowry bowed out of the race for the prestigious King's Cup in the first matchplay round.

Ward was beaten 3 and 2 by Spanish hope Pedro Oriol while Lowry, who tied for seventh after two rounds of strokeplay qualifying, lost 2 and 1 to England's Dale Whitnell.

Cutler is on course for a semi-final showdown with England's Danny Willett, who was a revelation in the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup side that lost to the United States at Royal County Down last September.

If Cutler goes on to win the title, he will join fellow Ulsterman Clarke (1990) on a list of former champions that also includes José María Olazábal (1983 y 1984), Sergio García (1998) and Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño (2003).

The winner of tomorrow's (Sunday) final will earn a place in the field for the European Tour's Spanish Open, which will be played at the Real Club de Golf in Seville from May 1-4.

Spanish Amateur Championship (King's Cup)
At Pals, Girona

1st rd
Johann López Lázaro (FRA) bt Paul Betty (SCO) 3/2
Federico Colombo (ITA) bt Eduard Dubois (FRA) 19th
Paul Cutler (IRE) bt Billy Hemstock (ENG) 19th
Hans Peter Bacher (AUT) bt Sam Hutsby (ENG) 6/5
Pedro Oriol (ESP) bt Simon Ward (IRE) 3/2
Daniel Willett (ENG) bt Gordon Yates (SCO) 8/7
Gavin Dear (SCO) bt Borja Etchart (ESP) 1up
Benjamin Hebert (FRA) bt Sean Einhaus (GER) 1up
Edward Richardson (ENG) bt Pontus Widegren (SWE) 7/6
Tuomas Pollari (FIN) bt Jonathan Hurst (ENG) 3/2
Chris Wood (ENG) bt Michael Bush (ENG) 3/2
Jordi García Pinto (ESP) bt Juan Francisco Sarasti (ESP) 4/3
Dale Whitnell (ENG) bt Shane Lowry (IRE) 2/1
Eddie Pepperell (ENG) bt David Antonelli (FRA) 19th
Guillaume Cambis (FRA) bt Glenn Campbell (SCO) 4/3
Neil Chaudhuri (ENG) bt Victor Dubuisson (FRA) 19th

2nd rd
J López Lázaro (FRA) bt F Colombo (ITA) 5/4
P Cutler (IRE) bt HP Bacher (AUT) 5/4
D Willett (ENG) bt P Oriol (ESP) 2/1
B Hebert (FRA) bt G Dear (SCO) 2/1
E Richardson (ENG) bt T Pollari (FIN) 5/4
J García Pinto (ESP) bt C Wood (ENG) 3/2
E Pepperell (ENG) bt D Whitnell (ENG) 2/1
G Cambis (FRA) bt N Chaudhuri (ENG) 4/2

Quarter-finals (Saturday)
(7.30) López Lázaro v Cutler
(08.38) Willett v Herbert
(08.46) Richardson v Garcia Pinto
(08.54) Pepperell v Cambis