Pitcher leads Amateur Close Championship

Big-hitting Andrew Pitcher led the qualifiers in the Golfsure Irish Amateur Close Championship at the European Club.

Big-hitting Andrew Pitcher led the qualifiers in the Golfsure Irish Amateur Close Championship at the European Club.

The 19-year-old from The Island shot a second successive 75 to finish on eight over par 150 and pip defending champion Rory McIlroy on a countback.

McIlroy crashed to a nine over par 80 on another day of carnage at the windswept Brittas Bay links where the cut fell at an all-time high of 23 over par 165 with the field taking an average of 84.1 strokes.

A quadruple bogey eight at the seventh left McIlroy seven over par for his round at the turn but he was only denied the silver medal as leading qualifier as he double bogeyed the 17th and then three-putted the last to drop another stroke.

Esker Hills' Shane Lowry fired a joint best of the day 74 and Baltray's Simon Ward a 78 to finish just a stroke behind Pitcher and McIlroy on nine over par.

McIlroy is looking forward to the matchplay now, and said: "I think if you par every hole in matchplay you are not going to be taken past the 16th. Hopefully I’ll have three days of matchplay ahead now.

“It was ridiculous how tough it was today. It was at least five shots harder than yesterday because of the wind and the fact that some of the pin positions weren’t really that suitable for the wind conditions.”

Portmarnock's Adrian Morrow held the overnight lead with McIlroy after a brilliant opening 70 but saw his chances of the silver medal disappear at the seventh, where he dropped three shots on his way to an 84.

He said: “If you miss a fairway you are dead or looking at a double. You just have to play awfully well but you can take a triple bogey out of nowhere. It is a great mental test but if you lose your

concentration you can take zillions out there.”

Morrow will now face McIlroy in the first round.

Golfsure Irish Amateur Close Championship, The European Club (Par 71)

Qualifying Scores

150 A Pitcher (The Island) 75 75, R McIlroy (Holywood) 70 80

151 S Lowry (Esker Hills) 77 74, S Ward (Co Louth) 73 78

152 D Morgan (Mullingar) 75 77

154 S Power (West Waterford) 80 74, K O'Neill (Strandhill) 80 74, A McCormick (Scrabo) 78 76, E O'Sullivan (The Island) 74 80, J Turner (Royal Portrush) 72 82, A Morrow (Portmarnock) 70 84

155 W McCully (Donaghadee) 79 76, J Caldwell (Clandeboye) 72 83 156 N Turner (Muskerry) 81 75, C Curley (Newlands) 78 78, P Sheehan (Ballybunion) 78 78, D Crowe (Dunmurry) 75 81, N O Briain (Royal Dublin) 74 82

157 D McInerney (Lahinch) 77 80, K Stack (Dungarvan/UCC) 76 81, G Bowden (Hermitage) 75 82, A McCloy (Ballymena) 75 82, D O'Brien (L'town & B'town) 72 85

158 C McNamara (Limerick) 80 78, F Rafferty (Dungannon) 73 85 159 D Finn (Mallow) 81 78, D Rawluk (The Island) 80 79, R Leonard (Banbridge) 77 82, A McAllister (Portmarnock) 77 82, P O'Kane (Moyola Park) 76 83, G Lawlor (Citywest) 76 83, N Gorey (Killeen) 75 84 160 P Sheehy (Limerick) 80 80, P Murray (Limerick) 78 82, B O'Connor (Hermitage) 76 84, M Sinclair (Knock) 75 85

161 R Boal (Scrabo) 81 80, A Glynn (Porters Park) 81 80, S Grant (Birr) 79 82, A McKinley (Shandon Park) 78 83, R Cannon (L'town & B'town) 76 85

162 S Crowe (Dunmurry) 81 81, J Hughes (Douglas) 81 81, C McAleavey (Banbridge) 79 83, P O'Hanlon (Curragh) 79 83, C Doran (Banbridge) 78 84, S Dwyer (Newlands) 78 84

163 J Somers (L'town & B'town) 83 80

164 D Lewis (Woodbrook) 84 80, D Coyne (Tuam) 82 82, E McCormack (Galway) 82 82, D Moran (The Island) 81 83, K Lewis (Skerries) 78 86, N Grant (Knock) 77 87, H Diamond (Holywood) 77 87, R O'Connor (The Island) 77 87

165 M King (Athenry) 86 79, B McCarroll (Ballyliffin) 82 83, S Loftus (Ennis) 81 84, C Daly (Castletroy) 81 84, J Toner (Woodbrook) 80 85, M Campbell (Stackstown) 80 85, A O'Callaghan (Douglas) 79 86, R McCarthy (The Island) 79 86

Non-qualifiers

165 P Connolly (Clontarf) 78 87, K Canty (Douglas) 74 91

166 T O'Neill (Rathsallagh) 83 83, R Forsythe (Ballyclare) 83 83, R Williams (Baltinglass) 81 85, J Mulready (Castle) 81 85, E Power (Kilkenny) 78 88, D Scully (Galway) 78 88

167 D Byrne (Douglas) 86 81, T O'Flynn (Fota Island) 85 82, G McDermott (Co Sligo) 84 83, D Ruddy (Thurles) 84 83, J Hughes (Woodbrook) 83 84, P McGrath (Dromoland) 83 84, N O'Connor (UCD/Elm Park) 81 86, G O'Connor (Malahide) 80 87, G Flynn (Delgany) 80 87, C Carvill (Belvoir Park) 80 87, H Boch (Ballybunion) 79 88, N Heather (Portmarnock) 79 88, D Houlihan (K Club) 77 90

168 A Condren (Greystones) 87 81, T Cleary (East Clare) 84 84, G McGrane (Royal Dublin) 83 85, C Hughes (Royal Portrush) 82 86, J Lyons (Galway) 80 88, B Walton (The Island) 78 90, G O'Flaherty

(Cork) 78 90

169 D Murray (Skerries) 85 84, D Joyce (The Curragh) 83 86, C McCarthy (St. Annes) 81 88, S Moloney (Castletroy) 81 88, A Darbey (Sutton) 81 88, M Mulryan (Athenry) 77 92

170 E Lonergan (Kilcoole) 86 84, D Lernihan (Castle) 84 86, A Pigott (Dunmurry) 84 86, J Fox (Portmarnock) 82 88

171 G Lynas (Shandon Park) 81 90

172 B McSweeney (Woodbrook) 84 88, M Buggy (Castlecomer) 83 89, P O'Keeffe (Douglas) 82 90, D McNeill (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 82 90

173 M Rowe (Athlone) 89 84, J McGinn (L'town & B'town) 88 85

174 D Lally (Tuam) 86 88, N McGrane (Royal Dublin) 82 92

175 M Brett (Portmarnock) 85 90

176 D Errity (Delgany) 88 88

181 M Hammond (Moyola Park) 93 88, A McCully (Banbridge) 90 91

182 C Griffin (Curragh) 89 93 NR M Reck (Lucan) NR, A Boyle (Hollystown) NR, A Dooley (Athlone) NR, B Cashman (Belvoir Park) NR, C O'Malley (Westport) NR, R Maher (Nenagh) NR, S O'Flaherty (Hermitage) 85 NR, M Lavelle (Belmullet) 83 NR, M Clifford (Lucan) 82 NR, D Keating (Dun Laoghaire) 83 NR, J Moore (L'town & B'town) 84 NR, R Guilfoyle (Kilkenny) 88 NR, J Curran (Elm Park) 84 NR, J McIntyre (City of Derry) 85 NR, D Coyle (Co Louth) 86 NR, D Coughlan (Douglas) 85 NR, L MacNamara (Woodbrook) 86 NR, M Redmond (Blainroe) 88 NR, J Waldron (Muskerry) 84 NR, J McWilliams (Belvoir Park) 81 NR, K Kennedy (Co Tipperary) 81 NR, K Crowley (Lee Valley) 86 NR

RTD G Carew (Edenderry) 85 RT, S Heavey (Co Sligo) 86 RT

WD C O'Malley (Westport) - WD

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