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Quirke on fire as superb Irish charge into quarter-finals


Nigel Edwards flew home after his father was taken ill

Nigel Edwards flew home after his father was taken ill

Nigel Edwards flew home after his father was taken ill

Ireland swept into the quarter-finals of the European Senior Men's Team Championships in Hungary – qualifying in pole position – and will today play Germany for a spot in the last four.

Ireland, who last won the title back in 2007, finished well ahead of the rest of the field with an aggregate of one-over-par, with closest rivals England finishing nine shots back in second.

Michael Quirke spearheaded the Irish dominance on the Pannonia course, shooting a two-under-par 70. Quirke, who claimed the Senior Ireland Amateur Championship earlier in the year, carded three birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th – his only bogey coming on the 12th.

Ex-Walker Cup captain Garth McGimpsey also produced some fine golf to card a one-under 71, the Bangor man holing three birdies along the way.

Today's opponents Germany finished eighth in the standings, an incredible 55 shots behind their quarter-final rivals. The rest of the draw sees England play Norway, Sweden take on France and Scotland face Spain.

Meanwhile, in Bled in Slovenia, the Irish women comfortably made the cut for the quarter-finals, finishing fourth, two shots ahead of Sweden in fifth, who they will face today in the last eight.

The Netherlands qualified in top spot with France, England, Germany, Italy and Spain also securing spots in the top flight.

Carol Wickham was the stand-out performer for the Irish, carding an impressive 75.

She triple-bogeyed the fourth, but two bogeys and three birdies saw her finish just two-over for the round. Ireland finished with an aggregate score of 395.

Walker Cup doubts over captain Edwards

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WALKER CUP captain Nigel Edwards flew home from New York on Tuesday night after his father was taken seriously ill, leaving chairman of selectors Jonathan Plaxton in temporary charge of the GB&I team.

If Edwards is unable to get back, Plaxton will take over for Saturday and Sunday's title defence against the US on Long Island's National Golf Links. However, an R&A spokesman said Edwards "hopes to return towards the end of the week".

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