Friday 24 November 2017

Young guns Lappin and McBride hitting heights in 'the West'

Brian Keogh

Teenagers Gareth Lappin and Paul McBride were the new boys in town as they swept into the last 16 of the West of Ireland Amateur Open at an Arctic-like Rosses Point.

The 17-year-old Boys internationals only barely qualified for the matchplay stage when the second qualifying round was eventually completed yesterday after frost and then bad light prevented two groups from finishing on Saturday night.

Irish Boys champion Lappin (pictured) from Belvoir Park was the only player on 17-over (159) to make the cut and he took full advantage, seeing off Irish Amateur Open champion Gavin Moynihan with a brilliant birdie at the 19th in the morning before crushing Royal Dublin's Sean Ryan 5&4 in the afternoon.

McBride from The Island only made it with a shot to spare but beat top international Dermot McElroy 2&1 and Co Sligo's Sean Flanagan on the last to seal a third-round meeting with Carton House's Shane McGlynn today

"It's great to make it this far," said McBride, who was two down with four to play against Flanagan before finishing with four consecutive pars to edge through. "I didn't really expect it, especially after scraping through the cut. Myself and Gareth were both left waiting to see if we would get in."

Spanish Amateur Open winner Reeve Whitson beat Stackstown left-hander Richard Bridges 3&2 to set up a last-16 match with English visitor Henry Featherstone in winds gusting over 30mph.

"I'm wearing so many layers of clothes it is hard to get any feel so it's just a case of aiming and let's see where it goes," Whitson said of the minus-two windchill factor.

Gary McDermott, who is hoping to become the first home-grown winner since Cecil Ewing in 1950, is the last Co Sligo man standing and relishing the high winds and freezing conditions.

Following a 4&2 win over Laytown and Bettystown's Cian Geraghty, the 31-year-old was brilliant in his 4&3 second-round win over left-hander Mark Shanahan.

"I love this kind of weather," McDermott said. "The tougher the better. I played really well today to shake off Mark, dropped just one shot and was three-under for the 15 holes played, which were pretty good numbers in those conditions."

McDermott will face Knock's Nicky Grant in today's third round with the winner taking on 2011 semi-finalist Niall Gorey or Lappin, who hit a two-iron to six feet at the 19th to beat Moynihan in the morning.

Defending champion Harry Diamond had big wins over Aaron Kearney and William Hanna to clinch a third-round match with Newlands' Andrew Hogan, while Forrest Little's Eoin Arthurs had to eagle the 21st to beat Rowan Lester in the morning before hammering Jonathan Yates, the vanquisher of plus-five handicapper Richard O'Donovan in round one, 5&4.

Arthurs will now face Faithlegg's Robin Dawson, who had a surprising 4&2 win over South of Ireland champion Pat Murray in the second round as leading qualifier Rory McNamara, former winner Rory Leonard, international Gary Hurley and Rathsallagh's Jack Hume all won.

details in factfile

Irish Independent

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