Sunday 16 December 2018

Eisenhower on Rafferty's mind at Amateur Close

Rafferty: "There isn’t much you can do but just go out and try to qualify for the matchplay on Monday." (Stock picture)

Brian Keogh

Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty admits that he'll have the Eisenhower Trophy on his mind when he tees it up in the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at The European Club today.

While Tramore's world No 9 Robin Dawson - absent this week - is already guaranteed his spot on the three-man team for next month's World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House, the other two spots are up for grabs.

"It's on everyone's mind," said Rafferty, who won the South of Ireland title last Sunday.

"But there isn't much you can do but just go out and try to qualify for the matchplay on Monday."

With Portmarnock's Conor Purcell and Kinsale's John Murphy making the Great Britain and Ireland side for the recent St Andrews Trophy and the likes of Castle's Alex Gleeson and South of Ireland runner-up Rowan Lester also in the field, a run in Wednesday's final could prove invaluable.

Murphy knows anything is possible after he won the St Andrew Links Trophy and made the quarter-finals of the Amateur Championship to leapfrog a host of Irish team-mates and clinch his GB&I cap.

"If you'd told me at the start of summer I'd make St Andrews Trophy team, I'd have laughed at you," Murphy said. "But I'm not complaining."

Naas icon Maurice Kelly finished as the best-placed Irishman at the Seniors Amateur Championship - which was won at a canter by Englishman and reigning Irish Seniors Amateur Open champion Trevor Foster.

Five-time Irish Seniors Amateur Close winner Kelly ended in a tie for 19th place at Royal Porthcawl, saving his best for last as he carded a one-under 71 yesterday having shot 73 and 79 over the first two rounds.

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