Saturday 20 January 2018

Kerr aims to find a winning formula

The 19-year-old starlet from Royal Portrush managed to get as far as the semi-finals at
Ballyliffin in Co Donegal last year, falling to eventual champion Alex Gleeson. Picture by Pat Cashman
The 19-year-old starlet from Royal Portrush managed to get as far as the semi-finals at Ballyliffin in Co Donegal last year, falling to eventual champion Alex Gleeson. Picture by Pat Cashman

Brian Keogh

Chemistry student Peter Kerr is hoping that he can come up with the magic formula and win his maiden championship after leading the qualifiers in the AIG Amateur Close Championship at Galway GC.

The 19-year-old starlet (right) from Royal Portrush managed to get as far as the semi-finals at Ballyliffin in Co Donegal last year, falling to eventual champion Alex Gleeson.

And after carding a second successive 69 to win the Silver Medal on a countback from Co Sligo's David Brady, he appears to have the game, the experience and the confidence to go all the way this year.

"Last year's Close was a great experience for me," Kerr said of his experience at Ballyliffin. "It was the first time that I had done well in one of the big men's championships.

"It was a surprise to me because I didn't have a lot of form going into it. I putted very well in strokeplay and my game got better and better as the week went on.

"Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow. The main thing I learned last year was that I didn't have to play my 'A' game to get that far."

Brady followed his opening 67 with a 71 to finish alongside Kerr on two-under par and having reached the quarter-finals of the 'West' at Easter, he will not be afraid to stand up and fight for a major title.

The leading pair finished one stroke clear of Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty, who was Ireland's leading points scorer on his debut in Home Internationals last week, as exactly 64 players qualified for today's first round of matchplay combat on eight-over par 148.

East of Ireland champion Reece Black (149) and two-time Irish Boys champion Mark Power (152) were the two biggest victims.

But while experienced Warrenpoint international Colm Campbell qualified with ease on one-over par, the impressive Rafferty is oozing confidence and gunning for a maiden championship win.

"Confidence is probably the big difference this year," Rafferty said.

"Last week gave me that extra little bit of belief too, getting the big experience with the lads and realising that I'm not that far away from everybody so hopefully I can keep going this week and get the win," he added.

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