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Champion is knocked out in first round at Co Sligo

 

By Paul Kelly

A host of big name contenders bowed out in the opening match-play rounds of the West of Ireland Championship at Co Sligo Golf Club yesterday.

Amongst them was the defending champion Jonathan Yates (Naas) who, having qualified second, was beaten 2&1 in the first round by Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin). Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith was another surprise faller, losing at the 19th to Michael Ryan from New Ross.

When the dust had settled just two Ulster men remained in the hunt, Galgorm Castle's Jordan Hood and Tandragee's William Small.

Small, a former winner of the Munster Boys title, edged past Allan Hill (Athenry) after 22 holes in the opening round and then saw off Castle's Robert Moran 4&2 in the second round. He faces Nenagh's David Reddan Jnr in this morning's last 16.

Hood, who won the Leinster Youths title in 2015 will have his work cut out against the experienced Sligo native Barry Anderson (Royal Dublin).

At the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, Graeme McDowell shot a final round 70, one under par, to finish on five under for the tournament. Shane Lowry's last round 72 left him on two under.

American duo Ollie Schniederjans and Brian Harman lead the charge in the final round.

Meanwhile, Italy's Edoardo Molinari claimed his first European Tour title since 2010 by beating Ireland's Paul Dunne in a play-off for the Trophee Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Morocco.

Klara Spilkova produced a brilliant final round to claim her first victory on the Ladies European Tour in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.

And American Cristie Kerr overhauled South Korea's Su-Yeon Jang with a six under par final round of 66 to win the Lotte Championship by three strokes and finish on 20 under par.

Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow finished on four under par.

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