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Chris Selfridge retains title after a thrilling finale

By Peter Hutcheon

Chris Selfridge has become the first man since Paddy Gribbin in 1999 to successfully mount a defence of the North of Ireland championship.

Selfridge was taken all the way by Faithlegg's Robin Dawson in yesterday's final and prevailed when his opponent failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the 18th.

It capped an excellent week for the Moyola Park man, who had been in scintillating form en route to being crowned Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Open champion for the second time.

But Dawson made him battle all the way, twice going ahead in the match, only to be pegged back again.

It looked to be cut and dried when Selfridge took a two-up lead to the turn, but his lead was immediately cut to one when he drove into a gorse bush on the 10th and had to declare a lost ball.

After halving the 11th in par threes, Dawson levelled at the 12th after Selfridge drove into a bunker and had to pitch out.

The Waterford man birdied the 13th to go one up, but his lead disappeared on the next hole, Calamity, the tough par three 14th when he missed the green from the tee.

They halved the par four 15th in birdie threes and both men had their chances to win the next, but couldn't take advantage.

The 17th proved decisive and neither man seemed able to grab the initiative. Selfridge hit a poor drive close to the Big Nellie bunker and was left with no direct shot to the green, while Dawson also found the rough and ran through the putting surface with his approach and found the bushes at the back of the green.

He had to take a penalty drop and could only chip to within eight feet and when he missed that, he had no option but to concede Selfridge's putt from around seven feet.

Heading up the last one-up, it was all over when Dawson found the bunker with his third.

Dawson had seen off Stackstown's Richard Bridges in his morning semi-final while Selfridge beat Castlerock's David Mulholland in his all-Ulster semi.

Kylie Walker made history at the Ladies German Open yesterday as she equalled the low-score for 36 holes on the Ladies European Tour.

The Scot was one of three players to fire a 64 on the first day but she was the only one who could repeat the feat in her second round to sit 16 under at the halfway stage.

The last woman to post that score after 36 holes was Gwladys Nocera at the Gothenburg Masters in 2008 and she went on to record the LET's lowest 72-hole winning total of 29 under par.

Six birdies on the front nine saw Walker reach the turn in 30 and, although she dropped shots at 12 and 17, she picked up further strokes at 13, 15, 16 and 18 to establish a three-shot lead over Yu Yang Zhang.

"I probably played a little bit better today because I had 10 birdies and two bogeys," Walker said.

"I'm happy with how I'm playing and the score is looking good at the moment. We've got two more rounds and we're really looking forward to the weekend.

"Going into the back nine today I was trying to beat my score from yesterday, which was eight under, but I stumbled on 12 and caught a flier on 17 and ended up through the green.

"I made a couple of bogeys today, but I'll keep playing the way I played today and see what happens."

Zhang followed her own 64 with a 67 and was a shot clear of Dewi Claire Schreefel, who added a 64 to her opening 68.

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