Portmarnock’s John Greene put Paui McBride to sword at the 20th and insisted he was fed up being regarded as a one hit wonder.
The Carlow kingpin — a man with a keen eye for horseflesh as a shareholder in an animal that managed to etch out a surprise win in Limerick on Thursday — produced some magic on the greens to advance to the last 16 at Lahinch.
Now 30 and working full time for a private equity fund, the 2010 winner is back on his old stomping ground with a determined look in his eye and matchplay murder in his heart.
The bearded marauder is living every minute of his trip west like a mission of destiny and even Thursday night’s win by An Caisteal Nuadh in its maiden bumper was a cause from joy.
“I was so excited I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.” Greene confessed of his equine adventures. “I was so happy coming back from the track I had my head out the window of the car like a dog, yelping with joy.”
Greene would not class himself in McBride’s class as a thoroughbred but he is certainly a stayer and he holed a clutch eight footer at the 18th to match McBride’s birdie and force extra holes and keep alive his hopes of proving he no one-hit wonder.
After halves in par at the first, Greene looked in trouble at the par-five second when he came up short and right in the rough with McBride putting from short left of the green.
But Greene refused to go quietly, pitched to eight feet from the cabbage and watched McBride came up nine feet short with his third from the apron.
When the Wake Forest kid grazed the hole with his birdie try, Greene turned the screw and holed out for the win.
Asked if he playing enough golf to deal with a field full of young, ambitious youngsters (bar Arthur Pierse, aged 65), Greene adopted his game face.
“I am playing enough,” he said. “I am trying to cruise in under the radar. My game is plenty good enough to win again. It’s aways plenty good enough. It is the six inches between the two ears that are the problem.”
Putting his finger to his head, he added: "It’s in a good place this week.”
Even though he’s a former winner, the pride of Carlow is not boasting about his record despite cruising to a 3 and 2 win over Ted Higgins in the morning.
“I haven’t done anything here since I won,” said Greene, who was playing out of Carlow in 2010. “I’ve gotten through a few rounds but I haven’t covered myself in glory. I don’t really enjoy being a one hit wonder so I want to prove it to a few people.”
Asked who he wanted to prove things to, he reflected for a split second and said: “”Mainly just to Geoff.”
He meant Geoff Lenehan, his Portmarnock clubman, who fell by two holes to Jordan Hood in the second round, denying the aficionados what could have been an epic showdown with Greene in Sunday afternoon’s final.
Greene now faces Laytown and Bettystown’s David Foy with the winner taking on Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon or Rowan Lester in a clash that could attract the interest of the Irish selectors.
McLarnon overcame a shoulder injury to beat Nils Conway and Evan Farrell, both by 2 and 1 and insisted he just has to stick to his conservative game plan.
“I have to play to my strengths more so than I have ever done,” McLarnon said. “It is about course management and getting it around in the least number of shots possible.
“Rowan is a great player so it will be a good match and the best man will win.”
The winner of the clash between the dogged Daniel Holland and Pierse will meet leading qualifier Jake Whelan from Newlands, an underrated player, or North of Ireland winner Sean Flanagan.
Whelan beat irish Seniors champion Eamonn Haugh and former South of Ireland champion Stuart Bleakley while Flanagan edged out Liam Grehan 2 and 1, then came from behind to beat Limerick’s Michael Reddan 2/1,
The bottom half of the draw is a minefield with Irish Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell Jnr facing the classy James Fox, who beat East of Ireland champ Paul O’Hanlon 4 and 2.
The winner of that duel will take on the dangerous Hood or Robin Dawson, who made a nine footer on the 18th to end Robbie Cannon’s dream of a second South of Ireland win.
Mulligan had two good wins over the American Cole Madey and Eanna Griffin and now takes on in form Conor Purcell with the winner down to meet US based Stephen Watts or Alex Gleeson, who is almost a local.
Watts beat Cathal Butler, the man who came from behind to bet Pat Murray on the 18th with a stunning bunker shot in the morning, while Gleeson beat the Pierse brother Robbie (2/1) and Jack (3/2) to leave uncle Arthur as the last of the clan standing.