Rafferty cruises four clear at Rosses Point
Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty, Picture:  Pat Cashman

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty, Picture: Pat Cashman

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty fired four birdies in a bogey-free 67 to take a four-stroke lead in the final round of the first stroke play staging off the West of Ireland Amateur Open at sun-kissed County Sligo.

The reigning South of Ireland champion (26) moved through the gears in perfect conditions at Rosses Point as he birdied the first, eighth, 12th and 13th to lead on nine-under par from Chelmsford’s Arron Edwards-Hill, who also shot a bogey-free 67.

Rafferty and Edwards-Hill will be joined in the final threeball by Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell (21), the world number 26 and reigning Australian Amateur champion, who finished with five successive threes — birdie-birdie-par-birdie-birdie — for a 68 that left him five shots off the pace on four-under.

Mallow international James Sugrue made six birdies in rollercoaster 70 to sit alone in fourth on two-under with Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell a shot further back after a 71.

Portmarnock’s James Fox, who needs to move up the World Amateur Golf Rankings over the next few months to qualify for the Amateur Championship at his home club in June, was tied for sixth on level par with Massereene international Tiarnan McLarnon and Fintona’s Ryan McNelis after a 70.

It was a good day for Portmarnock players with Geoff Lenehan firing a 69 to move up to 16th on four-over and Stephen Walsh a 68 to share 25th on five-over with Royal Portrush’s Matt McClean, who also shot three-under.

Rafferty, who has gone 34 holes without a bogey, arrived in Rosses Point having finished tied second with Ronan Mullarney in the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament at St Andrews on Tuesday.

Exactly 50 players made the 54-hole cut on 10-over par 223.

West of Ireland Amateur Championship (sponsored by Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo) Par 71:

Final round tee-times

  1. 08:30 Lyons, O’Mahony;

  2. 08:41 O’Rourke, Reddan Jnr, Black;

  3. 08:52 Collins, O’Hanlon, Smith;

  4. 09:03 Griffin, Flynn, E Murphy;

  5. 09:14 Best, Woodroofe, A McCormack;

  6. 09:25 S Murphy, S Ryan, Flanagan;

  7. 09:36 Williamson, R O’Connor, Carroll;

  8. 09:47 Egan, Fahy, E McCormack;

  9. 09:58 J Byrne, McClean, S Walsh;

  10. 10:09 Kennedy, Brazill, Coughlan;

  11. 10:20 Moran, O’Brien, Campbell;

  12. 10:31 Deasy, Lenehan, Doyle;

  13. 10:42 Ford, Mullarney, Griffin;

  14. 10:53 McDermott O’Neill, Cullen;

  15. 11:04 Gillivan, McNelis, McLarnon;

  16. 11:15 Fox, McDonnell, Sugrue;

  17. 11:26 Purcell, Edwards-Hill, Rafferty.

After 54 holes

Detailed scores

204 C Rafferty (Dundalk) 71 66 67; 

208 A Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford) 69 72 67; 

209 C Purcell (Portmarnock) 66 75 68; 

211 J Sugrue (Mallow) 72 69 70; 

212 J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 70 71 71; 

213 J Fox (Portmarnock) 73 70 70, T McLarnon (Massereene) 72 71 70, R McNelis (Fintona) 71 71 71; 

214 H Gillivan (Westport) 71 73 70; 

215 G Cullen (The Links Portmarnock) 74 71 70, L O'Neill (Connemara) 71 73 71, G McDermott (Carton House) 71 73 71; 

216 E Griffin (Waterford) 73 68 75, R Mullarney (Galway) 72 70 74, T Ford (Co. Sligo) 71 73 72; 

217 S Doyle (Black Bush) 77 70 70, G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 76 72 69, M Deasy (Lee Valley) 73 73 71, C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 73 70 74, E O'Brien (Clontarf) 72 74 71, R Moran (Castle) 71 74 72, P Coughlan (Castleknock) 68 76 73, R Brazill (Naas) 68 70 79, M Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 67 70 80; 

218 S Walsh (Portmarnock) 76 74 68, M McClean (Malone Golf Club) 74 76 68, J Byrne (Baltinglass) 73 68 77, E McCormack (Galway) 71 72 75, A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 69 76 73; 

219 K Egan (Carton House) 76 72 71, N Carroll (Athlone) 73 72 74, R O'Connor (Co. Sligo) 72 77 70, R Williamson (Holywood) 72 75 72, S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 70 74 75; 

220 S Ryan (Royal Dublin) 75 72 73, S Murphy (Portumna) 75 69 76, A McCormack (Castletroy) 74 75 71, C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 74 75 71, B Best (Rathmore) 73 74 73, E Murphy (Dundalk) 73 70 77, D Flynn (Carton House) 72 75 73; 

221 R Griffin (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 80 66 75, E Smith (Laytown & Bettystown) 77 73 71, P O'Hanlon (Carton House ) 75 75 71, G Collins (Rosslare) 69 76 76; 

222 R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 78 72 72, D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 75 72 75, M O'Rourke (Royal Tara) 72 72 78; 

223 G O'Mahony (Fota Island) 77 73 73, J Lyons (Galway) 75 77 71.

Missed cut

224 R McCormack (Palmerstown House) 81 70 73, C Denvir (Elm Park) 80 74 70, A Lowry (Esker Hills) 77 72 75, A Marshall (Lisburn) 75 78 71, G Ward (Kinsale) 75 75 74, P McKeever (Castle) 75 74 75, R Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire) 74 73 77, J McVicker (Knock Golf Club) 73 75 76; 

225 B Murray (Waterford Castle) 75 79 71, H Foley (Royal Dublin) 75 75 75, K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire) 74 77 74, L Power (Galway) 74 76 75, J Whelan (Newlands) 74 74 77;

226 C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) 77 73 76, A Decorde (Bordeaux Lac) 77 72 77, R Latimer (Knock) 76 81 69, N Crawford (Mourne) 74 77 75, W Russell (Clandeboye) 74 75 77, M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 74 74 78, N Hearns (Mountrath) 71 79 76, 

227 D Kitt (Athenry) 78 75 74, S Greenberg (Tandragee) 77 72 78, R Galligan (Elm Park) 75 75 77, P Buckley (Memorial, USA) 74 77 76, J Sabir (Moate) 73 77 77, J Tuohy (Galway Bay) 73 77 77, J Cleary (Elm Park) 71 80 76,

228 M Sinclair (Knock) 76 75 77, F Carr (Kirkistown Castle) 74 80 74, S Underwood (Co. Sligo) 73 80 75, J Stothers (Tandragee) 72 80 76;

229 R Dutton (Tandragee) 81 75 73, S Hogan (Nenagh) 74 74 81;

230 P O'Connor (Macroom) 82 73 75, C Vaughan (Limerick) 80 76 74, J Walsh (Castle) 80 72 78, A Collins (Laytown & Bettystown) 78 77 75, F Kennedy (The Island) 77 80 73, J McCarthy (Grange) 76 80 74, S Cullen (Slieve Russell) 76 76 78, E Sullivan (Carton House) 74 76 80, T Higgins (Roscommon) 74 75 81;

231 R Clarke (The Island) 80 78 73, E Gaughan (Co. Sligo) 80 74 77, P Connolly (Killeen Castle) 78 79 74, M Kennelly (Galway Bay) 77 75 79, S Desmond (Monkstown) 77 74 80, J McCabe (Roganstown) 76 79 76, R Pierse (Grange) 75 75 81, J Maginn (Mourne) 74 77 80, R McCrudden (Royal Portrush) 73 80 78; 

232 L Hutchinson (Royal Dublin) 77 81 74; 

233 A Smith (Mullingar) 82 75 76, S Carter (Royal Dublin) 80 74 79, D Leufer (Athenry) 77 76 80; 

234 O Maguire (Slieve Russell) 81 75 78, J Rackard (Enniscorthy) 81 73 80, K Fitzpatrick (Kinsale) 78 79 77, C Byrne (Woodbrook) 76 76 82, J Monaghan (Royal Dublin) 75 80 79, G McKenna (Donaghadee) 74 79 81; 

235 S Barker (Mourne) 77 82 76;

236 T Plunkett (Crover House) 78 79 79;

237 E Farrell (Ardee) 77 80 80;

239 A Hill (Athenry) 86 75 78, D Reidy (Co. Sligo) 81 76 82, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 78 82 79;

244 K Murphy (Cork Golf Club) 79 81 84; 

258 G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 74 86 98;

NR S Irwin (Killeen) 74 78; RTD P O'Keeffe (Douglas) 77 78, C Butler (Kinsale) 76 84;

WD A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 73 76, C Dullaghan (Greenore) 77 WD, J Gibson (Fintona) 78 WD 

NS M Looby (Greystones) 82 78, E Rumley (Kinsale) 76 84

WD J Hadnett (Castletroy) 81 WD, K Howard (Dromoland) 78 86;

RTD A Grant (Dundalk), B Cashman (Belvoir Park).