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.