Sunday 19 November 2017

Phelan leads charge as Irish stars battle for knockout qualification

Chris Smart

Kevin Phelan leads the Irish challenge after the first qualifying round of the 117th British Amateur Championship on Scotland's Ayrshire coast.

The 20-year-old, who plays out of Waterford Castle but has lived in Florida for seven years, fired an excellent one-under-par 70 at Royal Troon to put himself into a strong position to grab one of the places in the knockout phase after today's second round.

Phelan, who made his name two years ago by qualifying for the US Open, went out in 33 and came home in 37.

"It was a good day overall and I am pleased with the way it went," he said.

Greystones teenager Paul Dunne was furious with himself after two calamities spoiled an otherwise stunning start.

Playing at Glasgow Gailes, the former Irish Boys and Youths champion fired 13 pars,three birdies and two double bogeys.

"I just lost my head -- it was a shame but tomorrow is another day," he said.

Despite these horrendous holes, Dunne is still in a good position to grab one of the places in the match-play stages.

Dublin teenager Gavin Moynihan continued his rich vein of form, carding a 71 at Glasgow Gailes.

It was a steady round by the Irish champion and winner of the McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath in April as he carded 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey in halves of 36 and 35.

On a solid day for the strong Irish contingent, Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond returned a 72 at Troon; his round was anything but steady, with four birdies and five bogeys in halves of 39 and 33.

Mourne's Reeve Whitson was the first out on the more difficult Royal Troon course, and he came in with a useful 73 which maintains his hopes of survive the qualifying stages.

Whitson, whose 2011 season was ruined by glandular fever, had three birdies in succession from the second and his only real hiccup was a double bogey five at the famous Postage Stamp hole-the 125 yard eighth.

Sharing the overall lead after day one are Ashley Chesters from Shropshire who fired a 67 at Glasgow Gailes and Geoff Drakeford who did likewise at Troon.

Details in factfile

Irish Independent

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