O'Rourke leads West of Ireland qualifiers; cut falls at 151
 Conor O'Rourke. Picture: Pat Cashman

Conor O'Rourke. Picture: Pat Cashman

Naas’ Conor O’Rourke added a three-over 74 to his opening 66 to lead the qualifiers for the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship from defending champion and clubmate Jonathan Yates.

The current St Andrews Links Trophy holder, 25-year old O'Rourke struggled to six-over par through his first 11 holes in wet and windy early conditions at County Sligo.

But he picked up three shots coming home on a day when just four players broke par to capture the silver medal by a stroke on two-under par 140 from Yates, who fired a best of the day 68 to edge out Clandeboye’s William Russell for second place.

"I'm pleased with my finish," said O'Rourke, who will face 2015 runner-up Eanna Griffin in the first round

"The objective was to qualify but now I'd like to have a run because the best I've done here so far is the last 16 in 2014 when Joe Lyons beat me."

Winner of last year's Nassau Invitational matchplay tournament in New York, he added: "I guess I prefer strokeplay but I enjoy matchplay and trying to make birdies. If I can just keeping an eye on my fundamentals, hopefully we can make a run."

Six of the nine players who finished on nine-over 151 made the cut for the top 64 for today’s opening round of matchplay combat. But they don’t include Irish Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell Jnr, who missed out by a shot after a 77. 

"I had three doubles in two days and cut them out and you are comfortable," lamented Campbell, who was left to count the cost of a three-putt double bogey six at the 17th. "It's a pity to miss out but better for it to happen at the start of the season than at the end."

Castle's Alex Gleeson made the cut with a shot to spare on eight over after bouncing back from his 80 with a 71 and now plays former Co Sligo stalwart Barry Anderson, who is now playing out of Royal Dublin.

But Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan, the leading qualifier for the previous two years,  was another surprising non-qualifier on 153 after rounds of 77 and 76.

Defending champion Yates was pleased with his day's work and having failed to make the Irish team despite last year's breakthrough win, he's even more determined to win another individual title.

"I got to team obsessed after winning here last year," said the 23-year old who plans to go to the European Tour Q-School as an amateur at the end of the year.

"But I've started the season nicely this year and I want to play for my country this year. To do that, it is about winning as an individual and this is a good place to start.

"Today a good bit harder than yesterday but I got off to a good start, two under through five, missed a couple of short putts but saw lots of good out there in general.

"I was a little anxious and uncomfortable yesterday and not at all happy shooting two over. But I was very comfortable today and when you are hitting it long out there, you can really take it apart.

"That's what I did last year. It's a long course and I'm looking forward to the tees being moved back. The No 1 objective was to qualify and I've done that now."

There are some interesting first round clashes with John Ross Galbraith taking on New Ross's Michael Ryan; former South of Ireland winner John Greene against international Colin Fairweather and Jack Pierse versus Portmarnock club mate Geoff Lenehan.
 

West of Ireland Amateur Open in association with Radisson Blu Sligo, Co Sligo GC (Par 71)

Round one draw
 

  1. 07:00 Conor O’Rourke (Naas) v Eanna Griffin (Waterford)
  2. 07:09 Thomas Neenan (Lahinch) v Robert Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire)
  3. 07:18 Stephen Barker (Mourne) v Ben Best (Rathmore)
  4. 07:27 Sean Desmond (Monkstown) v Robert Brazill (Naas)
  5. 07:36 Evan Farrell (Ardee) v Noel Crawford (Mourne)
  6. 07:45 T J Ford (Co. Sligo) v David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh)
  7. 07:54 Robert Moran (Castle) v Stephen Brady (Galway)
  8. 08:03 Allan Hill (Athenry) v William Small (Tandragee)
  9. 08:12 Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis) v Jordan Logue (Hilton Templepatrick)
  10. 08:21 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) v Ross Dutton (Tandragee)
  11. 08:30 Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) v Mark Morrissey (Co. Sligo)
  12. 08:39 Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) v Paul Coughlan (Moate)
  13. 08:48 John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) v Michael Ryan Jnr (New Ross)
  14. 08:57 Jack Walsh (Castle) v Stephen Healy (The Royal Dublin)
  15. 09:06 Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) v Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint)
  16. 09:15 Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) v Geoffrey Lenehan (Portmarnock)
  17. 09:24 Jonathan Yates (Naas) v Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin)
  18. 09:33 Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) v Stuart Bleakley (Shandon Park)
  19. 09:42 Andrew Morris (Belvoir Park) v Bryan Martin (Killymoon)
  20. 09:51 Peter Cummins (Lurgan) v Jake Whelan (Newlands)
  21. 10:00 John Greene (Portmarnock) v Colin Fairweather (Knock)
  22. 10:09 Gary McDermott (Carton House) v Gavin Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick)
  23. 10:18 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) v Bob Loftus (Lahinch)
  24. 10:27 Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) v David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown)
  25. 10:36 William Russell (Clandeboye) v Shane Hogan (Nenagh)
  26. 10:45 Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) v Paul Flynn (Tramore)
  27. 10:54 Luke Donnelly (Kilkenny) v Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire)
  28. 11:03 Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) v Alex Gleeson (Castle)
  29. 11:12 David Brady (Co. Sligo) v Paul Carey (Nenagh)
  30. 11:21 Alan Lowry (Esker Hills) v Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud)
  31. 11:30 Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) v Marc Nolan (Delgany)
  32. 11:39 Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) v Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene)

36-hole Qualifying (Par 71)

Detailed scores

Qualifiers

140 C O’Rourke (Naas), 66, 74 (Leading Qualifier)

141 J Yates (Naas), 73, 68; W Russell (Clandeboye), 71, 70

142 A Hickey (Ballyhaunis), 70, 72

143 J Galbraith (Whitehead), 71, 72

144 D Brady (Co. Sligo), 72, 72; J Greene (Portmarnock), 71, 73; E Farrell (Ardee), 69, 75

145 R Moran (Castle), 74, 71; R Mullarney (Galway ), 73, 72; R Knightly (The Royal Dublin), 72, 73; M Reid (Galgorm Castle), 71, 74; C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire), 71, 74; L Donnelly (Kilkenny), 71, 74

146 A Morris (Belvoir Park), 76, 70; S Barker (Mourne), 74, 72; S Desmond (Monkstown), 73, 73; P Cummins (Lurgan), 72, 74; B Anderson (The Royal Dublin), 72, 74; A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire), 72, 74; J Pierse (Portmarnock), 72, 74; E Murphy (Dundalk), 68, 78

147 R Cannon (Balbriggan), 75, 72; A HILL (Athenry), 74, 73; T Ford (Co. Sligo), 73, 74; G McDermott (Carton House), 73, 74; A Lowry (Esker Hills), 72, 75; J Walsh (Castle), 72, 75; C Rafferty (Dundalk), 72, 75; J Hood (Galgorm Castle), 71, 76; T Collins (Dun Laoghaire), 70, 77

148 T Neenan (Lahinch), 75, 73; R Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire), 74, 74; S Bleakley (Shandon Park), 72, 76

149 P Flynn (Tramore), 76, 73; R Dutton (Tandragee), 76, 73; S Healy (The Royal Dublin), 75, 74; A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud), 75, 74; G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick), 74, 75; D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh), 73, 76; W Small (Tandragee), 73, 76; D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown), 73, 76; T McLarnon (Massereene), 72, 77; G Lenehan (Portmarnock), 72, 77; P Coughlan (Moate), 71, 78

150 A Gleeson (Castle), 79, 71; J Whelan (Newlands), 77, 73; R Brazill (Naas), 77, 73; B Best (Rathmore), 76, 74; B Martin (Killymoon), 75, 75; C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire), 75, 75; M Morrissey (Co. Sligo), 75, 75; J Fletcher (Warrenpoint), 74, 76; M Nolan (Delgany), 74, 76; B Loftus (Lahinch), 74, 76; S BRADY (Galway), 74, 76; N Crawford (Mourne), 72, 78; C Fairweather (Knock), 72, 78

151 P Carey (Nenagh), 81, 70; M Ryan Jnr (New Ross), 79, 72; J Logue (Hilton Templepatrick), 76, 75; S Hogan (Nenagh), 75, 76; H Foley (The Royal Dublin), 75, 76; E Griffin (Waterford) 75, 76, 

Non-qualifiers

151 M McCormack (Ashbourne), 74, 77; A Purdy (Ballyclare), 74, 77; A Kearney (Castlerock), 74, 77

152 M McKinstry (Cairndhu), 79, 73; C Nolan (Galway), 78, 74; S McDermott (Co. Cavan), 78, 74; G Dunne (Co. Louth), 77, 75; D Reidy (Co. Sligo), 77, 75; D Smith (Castle), 76, 76; C Bring (Næstved), 76, 76; G Collins (Rosslare), 75, 77; A McCormack (Castletroy ), 75, 77; C Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint), 75, 77; P Kerr (Royal Portrush), 75, 77; S Coulter (Warrenpoint), 73, 79; H O’Hare (Fortwilliam), 71, 81

153 S Flanagan (Co. Sligo), 77, 76; K McCormack (Portarlington), 76, 77; D Holland (Castle), 74, 79; J Sugrue (Mallow), 74, 79; J McDonnell (Forrest Little), 73, 80; A Grant (Dundalk), 73, 80

154 E O’Brien (Clontarf), 77, 77; J Mulready (Castle), 77, 77; M McKenna (Dun Laoghaire), 77, 77; D Morgan (Carton House), 76, 78; S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), 75, 79; T O’Connor (Athlone), 73, 81

155 R Williamson (Holywood), 81, 74; G Young (Nenagh), 79, 76; A MULHALL (Waterford Castle), 79, 76; M Looby (Greystones), 78, 77; M Buggy (Castlecomer), 78, 77; J Lyons (Galway), 78, 77; R O'Connor (Co. Sligo), 78, 77; R Leonard (Banbridge), 78, 77; S McGlynn (Portmarnock), 77, 78; S Carter (The Royal Dublin), 76, 79; C Denvir (Elm Park), 76, 79; B Shally (Dromoland), 74, 81

156 J Murphy (Kinsale), 79, 77; S Cullen (Slieve Russell), 79, 77; D Jackson (Massereene), 77, 79; M Fitzsimons (Ardglass), 76, 80

157 G McManus (Co. Sligo), 79, 78; J Blake (The Island), 79, 78; D McAleenon (Lisburn), 78, 79; B McSweeney (The Royal Dublin), 77, 80; M Sinclair (Knock), 77, 80; D Murphy (Portarlington), 76, 81; A Dillon (Carrickfergus), 76, 81; A Considine (Lahinch), 75, 82; A Ryan (Thurles), 75, 82

158 S Underwood (Co. Sligo), 83, 75; G Smyth (Clonmel), 80, 78; T Coffey (Slieve Russell), 78, 80; C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), 77, 81

159 D Brophy (Castleknock), 80, 79; S O’Hara (Co. Sligo), 79, 80; A GAYNOR (Co. Sligo), 79, 80; E McCormack (Galway Bay), 77, 82

160 I Lynch (Rosslare), 82, 78; S Garrett (Portstewart), 77, 83

161 R Pierse (Grange), 78, 83

162 D Lowry (Corrstown), 77, 85; K Barry (Castlebar), 76, 86

164 N McCann (Lurgan), 82, 82

166 T Hackett (The Royal Dublin), 81, 85

167 G McKenna (Fortwilliam), 83, 84; A Pierse (Ballykisteen), 81, 86; D O’Neill (Carton House), 79, 88

171 J Hadnett (Castletroy), 83, 88

NR S O’Connor (Luttrellstown Castle )

WD S Burns (Dromoland)