Sunday 19 November 2017

Doran finds her groove to spoil McElroy's three-in-a-row dreams

Sheena McElroy's dream of three consecutive Irish Open Women Seniors titles was dashed in the third round by the highly experienced Pat Doran who gave an immaculate display at Bunclody.

It was nip and tuck all the way with Donabate's Doran, runner-up in last year's British Seniors Championship, finally edging home on the closing green.

An established seniors international, Doran finished with a par to defeat McElroy who found water beside the home green.

She will now face Helen Jones from Strabane who was taken to the final green by Catherine Reilly (The Heath) before prevailing.

Jones made a name for herself by earning her debut for Ireland in the four-cornered internationals when she was on the verge of seniors golf and since that first appearance in 2004 she has continued to play well.

In the other half of the draw, the fancied Suzanne Corcoran had to go to the 19th to beat Dubliner Gertie MacMullen, while Northern Ireland's Violet McBride was too good for Frilford Heath-based Kate Evans and ran out a 4&3 winner. Corcoran now takes on McBride in what should be a cracker.

Elsewhere, Garth McGimpsey gave an early warning to his rivals at Clandeboye yesterday that he does not intend to relinquish his Irish Seniors Close title without a terrific battle.

The former Amateur champion and Walker Cup captain from nearby Bangor used his vast knowledge of the course to good advantage to grab the first-round lead with a one-under-par 70.

The defending champion had birdies on six and seven on the way out and bogeys on four and eight. Then he parred all the way to the 17th before playing the 428-yard last immaculately for a birdie three.

McGimpsey goes into the second round one stroke ahead of Billy Donlan from Birr while Adrian Morrow, the recently crowned Irish Seniors champion and European title-holder, is just two strokes back. Killeen's Maurice Kelly, the 2009 champion, posted an opening 74 to put himself in contention.

Irish Independent

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