Quirke holding tough as favourites fall away

Cork’s Michael Quirke maintained his strong bid, at sunny Malone yesterday, to land his first All-Ireland Seniors’ Amateur Open Championship title and goes into today’s final action with a three shots cushion.

Quirke from Doneraile, after an opening sub-par 70, was six shots worse in the second round but still stays top of the leaderboard ahead of Scottish challenger Ken Bruce and Tom Tyrrell from The Heath, as many of the fancied candidates have fallen away.

Among them is the defending champion Adrian Morrow (Portmarnock) who is seven shots adrift of the leader and, barring an unlikely Quirke collapse today, it would seem that the tall Dubliner will hand over the trophy.

Former Walker Cup player Garth McGimpsey, an Ulster Seniors’ champion, would have been expected to figure prominently but the Bangor man looks to have lost his chance of victory after posting rounds of 76 and 82 while ex-Irish champion Hugh Smyth (Mourne) is two shots worse off having carded 81 and 79.

Among a number of prominent players who missed the cut yesterday are former professionals Kenny Stevenson and Ian Smyth. Out, too, went former Irish amateur international Liam McNamara (Woodbrook).


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