Peter O’Keeffe and James Sugrue are safely through to the matchplay stage of the North of Ireland, comfortably finishing in the top 64 from the mammoth field of 300 golfers. O’Keeffe carded rounds of 68 and 70 over both courses in Royal Portrush to finish on -5 and in a tie for 4th place. The Douglas man fired in eight birdies and an eagle over the two rounds and if he can continue in that form he should extend his time in Portrush. He’s currently in action against Haryey Byers from Walton Heath in the first matchplay round.
James Sugrue continued his good form with a top 13 finish in the strokeplay qualifier. He shot rounds of 68 and 72 to book his place in the matchplay where he faces Marc Norton from Belvoir Park this morning. There was disappointment for Cathal Butler as he finished just one shot outside qualification on +3, and there was no joy for Gary Ward, Mark Healy, Greg O’Mahony, Kieran Lynch, John Hickey and Conor Dowling as they all finished down the field. Two rounds take place today with 16 golfers going through to tomorrow.
John Murphy opened his senior international account with a very tasty 68 in Berlin yesterday. After recovering from two early bogies the Kinsale man turned on level par He the came back in 32 (-4) to sign for a 68 and finish day one in 7th place. Robin Dawson went one better on -5. Despite this Ireland now lie in ninth place after disappointing returns from the team after Caolan Rafferty was the only other Irish golfer finish on par or better.