James Sugrue is one of three likely Cork qualifiers to make it through to the match play stages of the North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush. The Mallow man recovered from a disappointing front nine one the championship course that saw him turn on +3. Sugrue fought back with three birdies to level his score on the back nine on the Dunluce links, he finished with a 36 hole total of 140 (-3) to claim a place in the top 25. Sugrue’s level par 72 was one of the better scores today with many golfers failing to get around the difficult course links without dropping shots. Kinsale’s Cathal Butler carded a three over par 75 today, when added to his 66 from yesterday the Kinsale man also qualified comfortably on 2 under par. He had 15 pars and a birdie, but two consecutive double bogies on the front nine cost him a few spots on the leaderboard. Conditions were much better for day two of the championship which saw 300 golfers play over both courses at the famous resort on the northern coast.
John Murphy had nervy wait this afternoon until his place in the last 64 was confirmed. He second round 74 saw him finish the 36 hole qualifier on -1 and in a notional 66th place in the clubhouse. However with several more golfers dropping shots on the tougher Dunluce he was assured of his place in tomorrow’s matchplay stage.
Cork’s John Hickey missed out, his second round 75 left him on +3 and two shots outside the projected matchplay cut. Gary Ward and Conor Dowling both failed to improve on yesterday’s position and although he too missed the cut, Mark Healy will be happier with his 72 today on the Valley links. Kieran Lynch also battled back with a 4 today following yesterday’s disappointing 88.
The last of the 300 golfers are completing their second rounds and the matchplay draw will be available later this evening.