NI amateur Open sees four newcomers in semis

Four players will reach virgin territory in tomorrow's semi-finals of the Magners North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Four players will reach virgin territory in tomorrow's semi-finals of the Magners North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

The line-up is Trevor Coulter (Massereene) against Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) and Rory Leonard (Banbridge) against Mark Campbell (Stackstown).

None of the four have ever reached the 'North' semis before.

On a day when defending champion Brian McElhinney was tossed out of the competition in the third round, the dark horse who emerged is Coulter who, unlike the others, is a 39-year-old ordinary club player who has been in the championship for 22 years.

He took the scalp of international Darren Crowe by one hole in the third round and then ended the hopes of 19-year-old Bandon boy Kevin McGarry by 2&1.

"I just can't believe that I have reached the semis," said Coulter, a technician in Michelin.

It was student Barry Fitzsimmons home Downpatrick who eliminated holder McElhinney on the home green and then went on to take Toledo-based university undergraduate Kilpatrick to the 19th before bowing out. Kilpatrick squeezed through with par five.

Dubliner Mark Campbell is aiming to add the North of Ireland title to the East title he won earlier this year and raced into a five holes lead after nine against Joe Crangle before winning 3&2.

Leonard had also a 3&2 victory over local hope John Turner after winning four holes in a row from the 7th in three-under-par to be three up.

MAGNERS NORTH OF IRELAND AMATEUR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP AT ROYAL PORTRUSH

Third Round - T Coulter (Massereene) bt D Crowe (Dunmurry) one hole; K McGarry (Bandon) bt T McClements (Holywood) 3&2; R Kilpatrick (Banbridge) bt M O'Sullivan (Galway) 5&4; B Fitzsimmons (Downpatrick) bt B McElhinney (North West) one hole; R Leonard (Banbridge) bt T Spence (Clandeboye) 2 holes; J Turner (Royal Portrush) bt R Forsythe (Ballyclare) 3&2; J Crangle

(Fortwilliam) bt J Caldwell (Clandeboye) one hole; M Campbell (Stackstown) bt T Kearney (Ballyliffin) 2&1.

Quarter-finals - Coulter bt McGarry 2&1; Kilpatrick bt Fitzsimmons at 19th; Leonard bt Turner 3&2; Campbell bt Crangle 3&2.

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