Friday 24 March 2017

Battling Dunbar spearheads strong Irish challenge for Muirfield honours

Alan Dunbar continues to spearhead the Irish challenge at the 115th British Amateur Championship at Muirfield.

The 20-year-old Rathmore star posted a level par 71 at Muirfield, to add to his 68 the previous day at North Berwick, for a spot among the top 64 qualifiers for the knockout phase.

Dunbar got through despite taking two double bogeys -- he suffered bunker trouble at the 13th and 18th -- qualifying with four strokes to spare.

"It is so difficult to qualify and I am just glad I made it," said Dunbar, who missed the cut at the recent St Andrews links Trophy.

Portstewart's Walker Cup squad member Paul Cutler returned a one under-par 70 at Muirfield for a 141 total, but had to produce an inspired back nine to qualify. He was two-over at the turn, but then moved into top gear with birdies at the 11th, 12th and 17th.

Portmarnock's James Fox pulled out all the stops to fire a splendid 68 at North Berwick to add to his 72 the previous day and bag a spot in the match-play draw.

Cian Curley, recent winner of the East of Ireland championship, scraped through on the 143 mark, but should have made it more comfortably -- he dropped strokes on each of the last three holes at North Berwick to slip to a 73.

Andrew Hogan (22) from Newlands delivered the goods at North Berwick, posting a three- under-par 68 for a total of 143.

Moyola Park's Luke Lennox carded an excellent 70, but after an opening 76 at North Berwick, he crashed out of the champion-ship. Rory Leonard, Robert Cannon, Paul O'Kane, Dara Lerni-han and Paul Dunne also bit the dust.

Lancashire's Tommy Fleetwood led the qualifiers on 135 after a brilliant 65 at North Berwick.

Irish Independent

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