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Teen Beth Coulter impresses with win at Amateur Close


Beth Coulter poses with the trophy after winning the Irish Women's Close final at Grange

Beth Coulter poses with the trophy after winning the Irish Women's Close final at Grange

Beth Coulter poses with the trophy after winning the Irish Women's Close final at Grange

Beth Coulter has set her sights on next week's Women's Amateur Championship after cruising to an impressive 6&5 win over Douglas' Sara Byrne in AIG Irish Women's Close final at Grange.

The Kirkistown Castle star (18) only finished 11th in qualifying, but she moved up a gear in the matchplay.

While Edmondstown's Anna Abom took her to the 18th in the semi-finals, she never went further than the 15th in her other four matches.

"I suppose in stroke play, it's all about qualifying and it doesn't matter where you do it, first or 32nd," said Coulter, who will be going for a third successive Irish Girls title in Kilkeel this summer.

"It was great to gain a bit of confidence from those early matches and then go and finish the job today."

The final was a repeat of the 2019 Irish Girls' Close decider at Galway, where Coulter beat the then Irish Women's Close champion Byrne, who beat Clandeboye's Rebekah Gardner 4&3 yesterday’s semis.

"This is the third time I've played Sara in a final; I thought she was maybe going to go out and do it, third time lucky for her," said Coulter, who was runner-up last year.

"But I got out of the blocks quickly and kept my foot on the pedal, and thankfully it went my way."

Setting her sights on next week's British Amateur, she said: "It's been a marathon. I'll celebrate this tonight at home and get ready for the next one."

Meanwhile, Kilkenny’s Mark Power has set his sights on winning the Amateur Championship after firing a seven-under 65 to finish third in 36-hole qualifying.

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The Wake Forest star, who was a beaten semi-finalist in 2020, made nine birdies at at St Annes Old Links to finish two shots behind leading qualifier Jonathan Broomhead of South Africa, who edged out England’s Barclay Brown on a count back, on six-under.

"For us guys this side of the pond, this is the one we all want,” Power said. ”It's a matter of not putting too much pressure on myself. I know I've been in this situation before where I could get a run going.”

Ten Irishmen made the one-over 143 cut for top 64 who will do battle at Royal Lytham and St Annes in the matchplay.

Connemara’s Luke O’Neill shot 70 at Royal Lytham to tie for 10th on three-under 140 with Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly carding a five-under 67 at St Annes to tie for 18th with Malone’s Matthew McClean, 72 at Lytham, on two-under.

Laytown and Bettystown’s Alex Maguire (69 St Annes 141), Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty (68 Lytham 141), Tramore’s Jack Hearn (74 Lytham 142), Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan (74 Lytham 142), Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe (69 St Annes 142), Ballybofey and Stranorlar’s Ryan Griffin (70 Lytham 142).

Elm Park’s John Cleary (70 Lytham 143) missed by a a shot with Castle’s Robert Moran (76 St Annes 144) a shot further back.

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