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Chris Selfridge and Dermot McElroy land knockout blows

By Peter Hutcheon

There will be a strong Ulster contingent heading into the final 16 matches in the knockout stages of the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship this morning at Royal Portrush.

No less than nine of those players hail from Ulster clubs, including defending champion Chris Selfridge from Moyola Park and former runner-up Dermot McElroy from Ballymena, who were both in sparkling form on the Dunluce links yesterday.

Selfridge was an easy 6&5 winner over Jack McDonnell in the afternoon last 16 matches, while McElroy was almost as impressive with a 5&4 second round win over Mark Morrissey.

Selfridge, who finished 11th after the two qualifying rounds, had made short work of Shane McClean in the morning's first round matchplay, winning 4&3.

McElroy had a tougher time against Cian Geraghty, coming through 2&1.

Mourne's Reeve Whitson, the second placed qualifier, is also playing some highly impressive golf this week. He was a 5&4 winner over Daniel Vaughan yesterday afternoon after overcoming Robbie Pierse by the same margin in the morning.

David Mulholland of Castlerock made it past Richard O'Donovan 2&1 in his afternoon match after squeezing through against Gary Collins in the first round in a match which went to a first extra hole.

Galgorm Castle's Jordan Hood is still in the mix after a last 32 win over James Tisdale by the margin of 4&3. That was much more comfortable than his morning match, which he won 1-up over Jonathan Yates.

Matthew McClean of Balmoral came out on top in the all-Ulster clash with Clandeboye's William Russell, winning their last 32 encounter by an encouraging 5&4.

McClean came out on top over the 1997 winner, Knock's Michael Sinclair, while Russell had beaten the winner of two years ago, Royal Portrush's Patrick McCrudden, both by the same 3&2 margin.

Ardglass man Cormac Sharvin needed two extra holes to see off David Sutton in the first round. He had an easier passage against Warrenpoint's Paul Reavey, though, in the second round.

Banbridge's Rory Leonard had a walkover in the first round over Greg Mungovan, but ended up on the end of a heavy 5&4 defeat to Robin Dawson from Faithlegg Golf Club in the afternoon.

There was also disappointment for Belvoir Park's Gareth Lappin who was up in his match against Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell, but ended up losing 3&2.

Campbell had been a 5&4 winner over Jake Whelan in the morning while Lappin had come through his game with Ally Purdy as a 3&2 winner.

Leading qualifier Daniel Holland of Castle, was a second round casualty, losing to Portmarnock's Darragh Colgan yesterday afternoon at the first extra hole.

Round three draw: William Hanna (Warrenpoint) v Reeve Whitson (Mourne); David Mulholland (Castlerock) v Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle); Simon Bryan (Delgany) v Darragh Coughlan (Portmarnock); Matthew McClean (Balmoral) v Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park); Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) v Tom Harris (Castletown); Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) v Alexander Wilson (Portmarnock); Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) v Richard Bridges (Stackstown); Tom Gandy (Castletown) v Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint).

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