Connor Doran

McElroy and McCrudden exit at Portrush

Opportunity knocks for Nicky Grant in the North of Ireland Championship. Picture by Pat CashmanWho said golf was meant to be fair? Take Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy, who led the qualifiers for the North of Ireland Championship thanks to a nine under 63 on Tuesday only to be sent packing in the opening round less than 24 hours later.

Masterful McElroy hits Dunluce 63 to top North qualifiers

Dermot McElroy was off in the first group in the Irish Open last month. He missed the cut by one but got his revenge by blitzing the Dunluce links with a brilliant, nine under par 63 to top the qualifiers for the North of Ireland Championship. Photo Jenny Matthews/ It wasn’t quite the course record 61 that a 16-year old Rory McIlroy shot in Portrush seven years ago but Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy showed he’s a seriously gifted talent when he fired a stunning, nine under par 63 on the Dunluce links to top the qualifiers for the North of Ireland Amateur Open at Royal Portrush.

Top class field following in Rory's footsteps at Rosapenna

A lot has happened in Rory McIlroy’s life since he won the inaugural Rosapenna Senior Scratch Cup in 2005.Walker Cup players Alan Dunbar and Paul Cutler have had to pull out to meet up with the Great Britain and Ireland team ahead of next week’s joust with the US, but there is still a top quality field for tomorrow’s Rosapenna Senior and Junior Scratch Cups in spectacular Donegal.

Dunbar wins Irish Amateur Open

Sean MacMahon (President GUI) presents the Irish Amateur Open Trophy to the winner, Alan Dunbar (Rathmore Golf Club). Also included are John Rice (General Manager AIB, sponsors), left, and David Kennedy (Captain The Royal Dublin), right.

The Ulster golf conveyor belt produced yet another outstanding champion when Rathmore’s Alan Dunbar held off a final round challenge from Scotland’s Kris Nicol to end Ireland’s seven-year wait for a home winner in the AIB Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin.

Lennox two clear in Irish Amateur Open

Luke Lennox leads the way at Royal DublinMoyola Park’s Luke Lennox fired a second successive 73 to lead by two strokes from Banbridge’s Connor Doran on two-over par heading into Sunday’s final 36 holes of the AIB Irish Amateur Open at windswept Royal Dublin.

The 20-year old Ulsterman, who was runner up to Paul Cutler in last year’s East of Ireland at Baltray, defied a northwest wind that gusted over 20 mph to put himself in pole position to become the first home winner of the title since the prolific Portmarnock talent Noel Fox lifted the trophy at the Bull Island links in 2003.

New date for Mullingar Scratch Cup

The Mullingar Scratch Cup is changing dates next year with Banbridge’s Connor Doran expected to return to defend the title from August 28-29.

The prestigious 72 hole strokeplay event is moving from its traditional August Bank Holiday date to avoid a clash with the European Amateur Championship, which will be played at Vanajanlinna Golf Club in Finland from 4-7 August.

Memorable summer continues for Doran

Less than a month after he picked up a €50 "tip" from Padraig Harrington, Connor Doran landed his first major amateur title when he beat Portstewart's Paul Cutler in a play-off for the Grant Thornton Mullingar Scratch Trophy.

The Banbridge man, 27, claimed the title with a birdie three at the first tie hole - Mullingar's first- to add to a miserable week for Cutler, who learned on Sunday that he had missed out on Walker Cup selection.

For Doran, however, things couldn't get much better.