Dara Lernihan (pic by Gordon Adair)Castle’s Dara Lernihan was the only Irish player to qualify for the matchplay stages of the Spanish Amateur Open at La Cañada near Sotogrande in Cadiz.

The Dubliner followed his first round 73 by carding a one-over par 72 in showery conditions to finish 22nd after 36 holes of medal qualifying and make the top 32 with two strokes to spare on three over par.

Lernihan will  face Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen in Friday morning’s first round as the 32 survivors begin battle for the King’s Cup.

The cut fell at five-over 147 with English Walker Cup player Matthew Haines the leading qualifier by two shots on four under par 138 after rounds of 66 and 72.

Greystones Paul Dunne (77, 73) and Newlands’ Cian Curley (75, 75) missed out by three strokes on eight over par 150.

Rathmore’s Alan Dunbar chopped 10 strokes off his first round effort with a respectable 72 for 154 while Andrew Hogan added a 76 to his opening 81 for 157. Paul Cutler was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the first round on Wednesday.

The championship was scheduled to be played at nearby La Reserva but torrential rain forced a move to La Cañada. 

Organisers feared that they might not finish the championship due to the weather and considered making it a strokeplay affair.

But with good weather expected, the matchplay format has been maintained with the final scheduled for Sunday. The first and second rounds will be played on Friday with the quarter and semi-finals on Saturday.

Qualifying results

Matchplay draw