Cutler loses out to Korean Jeong

IRELAND’S hopes of having their first Amateur Champion since Brian McElhinney five years ago were dashed at Muirfield yesterday when Paul Cutler fell by the wayside in the quarter-finals.

But the 21-year-old Walker Cup hopeful from Portstewart was not too down-heartened by his defeat at the hands of South Korean Jin Jeong – and he looked forward with relish to next week’s Irish close championship at Royal Dublin.

By reaching the last eight at Muirfield, Cutler is exempt from qualifying for the Irish and moves straight into the match-play phase.

“I am really looking forward to the championship now. I am happy at reaching the last eight. It is a great achievement. I am learning to be more patient and wait for chances. The more and more you play you realise that patience is important.”

Cutler was to have been going out in the Irish qualifying this morning with defending champion Pat Murray and Alan Dunbar.

His battle with Jeong, who is high up in the world amateur rankings, was a closely-fought affair with no more than a hole between the players for most of the time.

A crucial moment came at the 15th when Jeong holed his second shot for a winning eagle two – and when Cutler missed the green at the short 16th it was all over.

Jeong went onto reach the final with a convincing 5&4 success in the semis against Matthew Nixon, the former British Boys Champion.He will today face Suffolk-born Scottish international James Byrne in the 36-hole title decider. Byrne had only one bogey in first disposing of Frenchman Edouard Espana and 2&1 and then Walker Cup player Chris Paisley.

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