Galbraith keen on another Close encounter
 John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) driving during the second stroke play round of the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Ballyliffin Golf Club today (17/08/2016). Picture by  Pat Cashman

John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) driving during the second stroke play round of the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Ballyliffin Golf Club today (17/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith claimed the leading qualifier’s silver medal at Ballyliffin and insisted he’s aiming to maintain his 100 percent record in the AIG Irish Amateur Close by winning it for the second time.

The 22-year old international recovered from a double bogey on the second at the  stunning and testing Glashedy Links in Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula, firing six birdies and dropping just one more shot as he added a 69 to his opening 71 to lead the qualifiers on four under par 140.

The Co Antrim star, one of Ireland’s Home Internationals heroes at Nairn last weekend, finished a stroke ahead of Tramore’s Robin Dawson (70-71) with overnight leader Thomas Mulligan (69-73) from County Louth the only other player to finish the 36-hole qualifying race in the red on two under par.

“I’ve only played the Close once and won it once!” joked Galbraith, who triumphed at Seapoint in 2014 and hopes one day to become a professional.

“I’m just being a wee bit more professional about things, playing in a few pro events has taught me a lesson, how the boys go about their business. 

“I’ve really tried to implement that in my game, more practice, doing everything a bit more in control, I’m just trying to get a bit more professional about my golf. 

“You have to do that if you want to get somewhere in this game. I’m going to stay amateur next year and try to push for Walker Cup.”

The “cut” fell at 12 over par 156 and exactly 64 players on that mark or better, avoiding the need for playoffs after the countback condition was abandoned in favour of sudden-death for this year’s ”West” and “Close” championships.

Following slow play difficulties in the first round, the GUI implemented a “Ready Golf” policy for the first time yesterday.

Round times were reduced by up to 45 minutes on round one, averaging around four hours and 15 minutes, which was 12 minutes quicker that the “time par” set out by the Championship director.

“Ready golf” is a commonly used term which indicates that players should play when they are ready to do so, rather than adhering strictly to the “farthest from the hole plays first” stipulation in the Rules of Golf.

Dawson said: “Ready golf is good when you’re hitting into the greens but for me if I make a birdie, I like to have the honour at the next tee. It’s nice to get the reward for it.

“Pace of play has improved a huge amount this year. Referees are being a lot stricter on it and players are aware that they have to go around in a decent time, which helps.”

Dawson is hoping to break his own championship duck having lost to Alex Gleeson in the semi-finals on the 19th at his home club 12 months ago.

“Hopefully I can go two matches more this year,” said Dawson, who lost to Colm Campbell in the q-quarter-finals of the South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch. 

“I was playing really well at the South and I came up against a very hot Colm Campbell. You just need to get your opportunity and take it.”

Do you know what "ready golf" means? Check out the GUI's guide:

  • Hitting a shot when safe to do so if a player farther away faces a challenging shot and is taking time to assess their options
  • Shorter hitters playing first from the tee or fairway if longer hitters have to wait
  • Hitting a tee shot if the person with the honour is delayed in being ready to play
  • Hitting a shot before helping someone to look for a lost ball
  • Putting out even if it means standing close to someone else’s line
  • Hitting a shot if a person who has just played from a greenside bunker is still farthest from the hole but is delayed due to raking the bunker
  • When a player’s ball has gone over the back of a green, any player closer to the hole but chipping from the front of the green should play while the other player is having to walk to their ball and assess their shot
  • Marking scores upon immediate arrival at the next tee, except that the first player to tee off marks their card immediately after teeing off.

Irish Amateur Close 2016

Sponsored by AIG, Ballyliffin GC (Glashedy Links, Par 72)

August 16-20

Match Play – Round One, August 18

  1. 07:15 Mark Morrissey v Gary Collins
  2. 07:23 Michael Ryan v Aaron Grant
  3. 07:31 Robbie Pierse v Aaron Kearney
  4. 07:39 Jack Pierse v Michael McCormick
  5. 07:47 John Cleary v Eanna Griffin
  6. 07:55 Jonathan Yates v Cathal Butler
  7. 08:03 Paul Murphy v Alan Fahy
  8. 08:11 Jake Whelan v Stefan Greenberg
  9. 08:19 Ronan Mullarney v John Hickey
  10. 08:27 Richard Knightly v Matthew Fitzsimons
  11. 08:35 Marc Nolan v  William Russell
  12. 08:43 Paul Doherty v Marc Norton
  13. 08:51 William Small v Philip Kelly
  14. 08:59 Caolan Rafferty v Anthony McDaid
  15. 09:07 Cathal Nolan v Ross Dutton
  16. 09:15 John-Ross Galbraith v Owen Crooks
  17. 09:23 Robin Dawson v Shane O'Connor
  18. 09:31 Colm Campbell Jnr v Ben Best
  19. 09:39 Alan Lowry v Alan Doherty
  20. 09:47 Alex Gleeson v Graeme Arthur
  21. 09:55 Jordan Hood v Sean Broe
  22. 10:03 Jack Mc Donnell v Colin Fairweather
  23. 10:11 Peter Cummins v Eugene Smith
  24. 10:19 James Sugrue v Tiarnan McLarnon
  25. 10:27 Thomas Mulligan v Stephen Barker
  26. 10:35 Conor O’Rourke v Rory Williamson
  27. 10:43 Robert Cannon v Geoff Lenehan
  28. 10:51 Gavin Fitzmaurice v David Foy
  29. 10:59 Gareth Lappin v Tony Cleary
  30. 11:07 John Murphy v Rob Brazill
  31. 11:15 Kyle McCarron  v Joe Lyons
  32. 11:23 Peter Kerr v Michael Young.

Qualifiers

Detailed scores

140 John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) 71 69 (Silver medal, leading qualifier)

141 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 70 71

142 Thomas Mulligan (Co. Louth) 69 73

145 Jake Whelan (Newlands) 76 69

146 Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 73 73

147 Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park) 77 70, Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) 75 72

148 Paul Doherty (Ballyliffin) 78 70, Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 76 72, Peter Cummins (Lurgan) 76 72, Kyle McCarron (North West) 75 73, Michael Ryan (New Ross) 74 74

149 Jonathan Yates (Naas) 77 72, Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) 75 74, Alan Lowry (Esker Hills) 75 74, Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 72 77

150 William Small (Tandragee) 79 71, Alex Gleeson (Castle) 79 71, Gavin Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 78 72, John Cleary (Elm Park) 78 72, Mark Morrissey (Mount Wolseley) 78 72, Peter Kerr (Royal Portrush) 76 74, James Sugrue (Mallow) 75 75

151 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 81 70, Marc Nolan (Delgany) 79 72, Jack Mc Donnell (Forrest Little.) 78 73, John Murphy (Kinsale) 77 74, Robbie Pierse (Grange) 77 74, Paul Murphy (Rosslare) 76 75, Conor O'Rourke (Naas) 73 78, Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) 71 80

152 Cathal Nolan (Galway) 80 72, Ross Dutton (Tandragee) 79 73, Ben Best (Rathmore) 78 74, Rory Williamson (Holywood) 78 74

153 Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 82 71, Aaron Kearney (Castlerock) 79 74, Rob Brazill (Naas) 78 75, Colin Fairweather (Knock) 78 75, William Russell (Clandeboye) 78 75, John Hickey (Cork) 78 75, Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) 76 77, Michael Young (Ring Of Kerry) 76 77, Gary Collins (Rosslare) 75 78

154 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 83 71, David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) 81 73, Graeme Arthur (Carrickfergus) 79 75, Philip Kelly (Co. Armagh) 77 77, Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud) 77 77

155 Alan Doherty (Corrstown) 82 73, Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) 81 74, Cathal Butler (Kinsale) 81 74, Aaron Grant (Dundalk) 80 75, Joe Lyons (Galway) 79 76, Eugene Smith (Ardee) 79 76, Matthew Fitzsimons (Ardglass) 79 76, Marc Norton (Belvoir Park) 78 77, Sean Broe (Forrest Little.) 76 79

156 Tony Cleary (Woodstock) 82 74, Michael McCormick (Ireland) 81 75, Stefan Greenberg (Tandragee) 80 76, Stephen Barker (Mourne) 79 77, Shane O'Connor (Castlebar) 79 77, Owen Crooks (Bushfoot) 74 82

Non-Qualifiers

157 Neil McKinstry (Cairndhu) 82 75, Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) 82 75, Nils Conway (Grange) 81 76, Marc McCormack (Ashbourne) 81 76, Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 81 76, TJ Ford (Co. Sligo) 79 78, Colm Hughes (Galway) 79 78

158 Michael Sinclair (Knock) 84 74, Michael Dallat (Galgorm Castle) 83 75, Ross Steedman (Courtown) 81 77, Alan Gaynor (Co. Sligo) 79 79, Garrett Mallon (North West) 77 81

159 Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth) 86 73, Jack Blake (The Island) 84 75, Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) 83 76, Evan Farrell (Ardee) 83 76, Jack Walsh (Castle) 82 77, Ruairi O'Connor (Co. Sligo) 81 78, Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis) 80 79, Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 79 80

160 Brendan Devlin (Ballyliffin) 87 73, Peter Hasson (City of Derry) 83 77, James Maginn (Mourne) 83 77, Andrew Magee (Powerscourt) 83 77, Stephen Lindsay (Bangor) 82 78, Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) 82 78, Kieran Lynch (Skibbereen) 81 79, Alec Myles (Newlands) 80 80

161 Kealan Quigg (North West) 83 78, Liam Grehan (Mullingar) 83 78, David Brady (Co. Sligo) 82 79
162 Luke Bradley (North West) 84 78, Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) 84 78, Harry Gillivan (Westport) 84 78, James Temple (Portmarnock) 84 78, David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 83 79, Ryan O'Doherty (Enniscrone) 82 80, Gary Ward (Kinsale) 81 81, Darragh O'Connor (Fota Island) 81 81, Ian Lynch (Rosslare) 79 83

163 Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) 88 75, Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 86 77, Bill Murray (Waterford Castle) 84 79, Peter McKeever (Castle) 83 80, Robert Moran (Castle) 83 80, Fergal Kennedy (The Island) 81 82

164 Colum Kenny (Portmarnock) 87 77, Richard Tighe (Elm Park) 82 82, Mark Timmins (Coollattin) 79 85

165 Charles McGoldrick (Enniscrone) 84 81, Gareth Mann (Tullamore) 83 82, Daniel O'Connor (Athlone) 79 86

166 Luke O'Dwyer (Forrest Little.) 88 78, Alastair McQuillan (Cushendall) 86 80, Cian Feeney (Co. Sligo) 85 81, Daniel Vaughan (Ardglass) 83 83

167 Jason Conway (Donegal) 85 82, Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin) 81 86

168 Peter Kane (Ashbourne) 90 78, Ronan O'Callaghan (Mannan Castle) 87 81, Paul Tobin (Cork) 85 83

170 Ben Murray (Waterford Castle) 85 85

171 Jordan Logue (Hilton Templepatrick) 88 83, Eoin O'Brien (Clontarf) 87 84

174 Johnny Ward (Banbridge) 91 83

176 Steffan O'Hara (Co. Sligo) 88 88