Gary McDermott remained on course to end County Sligo’s 63-year wait for a home-grown winner when he beat Knock’s Nicky Grant 3 and 2 to reach the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland Amateur Open at a bitterly cold Rosses Point.
The 31-year old Sligo man will face his former international foursomes partner, Niall Gorey of Muskerry, at the course where they excelled for Ireland in the 2011 Home Internationals.
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“We won two points out of three that week but that goes out the window this afternoon,” said McDermott, who estimated he was “a couple under” for the 16 holes played in his 3 and 2 win over Nicky Grant this morning.
Carton House player Shane McGlynn, 25, will take on Mourne’s Reeve Whitson in the opening quarter-final while 17-year old debutant Robin Dawson of Faithlegg faces defending champion Harry Diamond.
Leading qualifier Rory McNamara survived a tremendous battle with former champion Rory Leonard, beating the Banbridge man by one hole to set up a last eight tie with
Arguably the coldest day of the championship so far with an east-southeast wind gusting well over 30 mph at time, the final match of the morning session between West Waterford’s Gary Hurley and Rathsallagh’s Jack Hume went to extra holes.
Hurley was two down after 11 holes but fought back to win the 18th and force sudden-death. The 19th was halved in par.
Quarter-final line up
1330 Shane McGlynn (Carton House) v Reeve Whitson (Mourne)
1345 Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) v Niall Gorey (Muskerry)
1400 Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) v Robin Dawson (Faithlegg)
1515 Rory McNamara (Headfort) v Jack Hume (Rathsallagh)
Third round - Monday, April 1
Shane McGlynn (Carton House) bt Paul McBride (The Island) 5/4
McGlynn won the first and second, lost the third and halvd the fourth to be one up. The Carton House man then raced five up before McBride won the 12th and 13th to get back to three down. However the Irish Boys international lost a ball on the 14th to four down with four to play and shook hands on the next.
Reeve Whitson (Mourne) bt Henry Featherstone (Ringway, UK) 5/4
Two up through six, Whitson was never in any trouble against the English visitor and after going four up through eight holes he was taken back to five up when Featherstone birdied the 13th before closing out the match at the next.
“It was better again,” Whitson said. “The swing appears to be getting better and better and I am holing out well.”
Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) bt Nicholas Grant (Knock) 3/2
Having lost the first two holes, the Co Sligo man eagled the third to get back to one down. They were all square through the turn but McDermott when two up through 14 and then took the 15th in par to go two up before closing out the match at the next.
Niall Gorey (Muskerry) bt Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park) 2/1
Three down with six to play despite putting brilliantly, Irish Boys champion Lappin won the 13th and 15th to reduce the deficit to one hole. Ater driving into an unplayable lie on the 16th, he recovered to 30 feet and holed the putt for par but Gorey followed him in from eight feet to go two up and closed out the victory at the next.
Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt Andrew Hogan (Newlands) 3/2
The 28-year old defending champion has yet to go beyond the 16th green and while he does not enjoy the conditions, they appear to bring out the best in the Belvoir Park player.
“It’s been steady,” Diamond said. “Just half-swings all the way. It’s brutal out there and I don’t like it but I seem to play okay. Today is the coldest it’s been but it was almost unplayable. The greens were quicker today and it was windier and balls starting to blow a little. I don’t enjoy playing in bad weather but I seem to play okay. I probably forget about technique and just concentrate on getting it round.”
Bidding to become the first player since pal Rory McIlroy to retain the title, he said: “Rory just sent a text last night to say ‘Well done, good luck.’”
Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little) 4/2
A 17-year old Irish Boys international and a dual member of Faithlegg and Tramore, Waterford native Dawson continued his remarkable debut in ‘the West’ with a convincing 4 and 2 win over former East of Ireland champion Arthurs.
Having knocked out South of Ireland champion Pat Murray in the second round, Dawson is drawing on good memories of Co Sligo from the 2011 Boys Interpros, when he was a member of the winning Munster side.
A fifth year student at De La Salle, he represented Ireland in last year’s Boys Home Internationals and the European Boys Team Championship and made his Senior Championship debut in the Irish Close at Royal Portrush.
Rory McNamara (Headfort) bt Rory Leonard (Banbridge) 1 hole
While there was never more than a hole in the match, McNamara was never behind and edged one up after 12 before Leonard took the 13th to level matters.
McNamara won the 14th to go one up and had to hole a tricky four footer on the 17th just to remain in front after Leonard holed a great 20 footer to apply some pressure. While McNamara missed the green at the last and bogeyed, Leonard couldn’t take advantage to force extra holes when he also failed to save par.
Jack Hume (Rathsallagh) bt Gary Hurley (West Waterford) at 22nd
Hurley did well to take the match into extra holes but after halves in par at the 19th and 20th, and in birdie at the 21st, it all ended at the par-three fourth.
Playing with the stiff right to left crosswind, Hurley ended up at the bottom of the hill short of the green. Hume’s tee shot finished through the back on the left and he putted to around eight feet as Hurley left himself a 40 footer from the left fringe. The West Waterford player putted up to three feet but after Hume missed for the match, Hurley lipped out with his bogey putt.