Sport Golf

Saturday 16 December 2017

Harnett thrilled to be short of Southern comforts

Brian Keogh In Lahinch

teenager Liam Harnett is hoping to clean up in more ways than one after marching impressively into the last 16 of the South of Ireland Championship.

The 6ft 4in Irish Boys International (16) -- a son of Milltown club professional John Harnett -- beat Cahir Park's Emmett Leahy with a birdie at the 20th before dispatching Naas' Ross McCormack 7&6 in the fourth round.

Now his biggest problem is finding some clean clothes, having exceeded his expectations by taking his 'South' odyssey into a fourth day

"I've been hitting it nicely but to be honest I didn't expect to get this far," said the Dubliner. "I'm running out of clean golf shirts at this stage so hopefully my mum can come down with some fresh clothes."

Old Conna's Mark Sheridan was literally a happy camper after he saw off the tenacious Hungarian teenager Daniel Kovari after a titanic struggle to make the last 16.

The 36-year-old Dubliner, who is spending the week in his own camper van in the club car park, beat the 17-year-old surprise package from Budapest with a par-four at the 21st to clinch a fifth-round clash with Athlone's Kelan McDonagh in this morning's fifth round.

"Boy, that was tough," said Sheridan, who was four up with eight to play before being dragged into extra holes when the young Hungarian amateur champion birdied the 18th from 20 feet.

"He was like a pit-bull terrier," said Sheridan. "He just wouldn't let go."


Irish Close champion Dara Lernihan is the biggest name left in the top half of the draw and remains on course for a rare Close-South double last achieved by US Open winner Graeme McDowell in 2000.

As former winners Darren Crowe and Simon Ward made their exits, the Castle star (23) beat the Island's Ivan Genockey 4&3 before making mince meat of Kilkenny butcher Graham Nugent by 7&6 in the afternoon.

Defending champion Robbie Cannon of Laytown and Bettystown lost 3&2 to South County's Shane McGlynn, who now faces Skerries youngster Sam Devey.

Lahinch's Thomas Keenan, the sole survivor home player from the host club, entered uncharted territory by getting past Monday for the first time with a 3&2 win over Mallow's Tim O'Mahony.

If he beats Lucan's Richard O'Donovan in the last 16, he faces a tough quarter-final against the winner of the stand-out meeting of West Waterford left-hander Mark Shanahan and Limerick's Pat Murray.

Six times a beaten semi-finalist, Murray (39) was forced to dig deep to see off Brian Keenan from The Heath at the 18th.

Two down at the turn, the championship favourite won four of the next five holes to go two up and, while he made his only bogey of the day at the 15th, he parred the last three to keep his title hopes alive.

Irish Independent

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