Fatigued 'South' stars bow out in Lahinch
Fatigue was a factor as internationals James Sugrue, Caolan Rafferty, Conor Purcell and Mark Power were silenced on a day of shocks in the Pierse Motors VW-sponsored South of Ireland Championship at a windy Lahinch.
No fewer than nine of the more fancied players made their exit on the first day of matchplay combat, with all four of the Walker Cup panellists who were named for September's event at Hoylake this week falling in the second round.
Recently-crowned Amateur champion Sugrue from Mallow fell by one hole to Newlands' Jake Whelan in a 20mph south-west wind in the second round.
"I am wrecked after the last few weeks," said Sugrue, who played in The Open at Royal Portrush last week. "I didn't putt badly but nothing really went in for me and Jake's a fine player. I came here to try and win but such is life. I will have a rest now before the US Amateur."
Defending champion Rafferty also bowed out in the afternoon, losing to Enniscorthy's Jason Rackard's birdie four at the 20th having dodged a bullet in the morning by making a 12-footer for birdie at the 19th to edge out Portmarnock's James Temple.
Power also lost in extra holes, falling to a par from beaten 2015 semi-finalist Keith Egan from Carton House at the 19th before fellow international Purcell lost on the 18th to Monkstown talent Seán Desmond (21).
Kinsale's John Murphy, who was in the initial Walker Cup squad before it was reduced to 16 this week, will be fancied to go far now after cruising into the last 16 while top qualifier Hugh Foley from Royal Dublin will meet North of Ireland runner-up Peter O'Keeffe from Douglas.