Paul Cutler’s dream of adding the Irish Amateur Close champions to his East of Ireland success were in tatters last night.
The Portstewart player crashed to a three and two defeat by at the hand of Athlone’s Kelan McDonagh in the third round at Enniscrone yesterday.
Moyola Park’s Paul O’Kane is the last Ulsterman standing in this year’s event.
He conquered McDonagh in the quarter-finals when he won by one hole to set up a semi-final meeting with favourite Cain Curley.
The semi-finals get underway at 8.30am today with the final played in the afternoon
O’Kane’s match was all square after nine holes, and the Ulsterman went one up at the 13th.
But he then lost the 14th only to regain the advantage at the next.
McDonagh pulled it back to all square again at the 17th, and despite being bunkered at the 18th left his third shot three feet from the pin.
O’Kane missed his birdie from ten feet but went through to the semi-finals when McDonagh failed to hole his putt.
Curley, from Newlands, earned his place in the last four with a hard-fought victory over another Ulsterman, Knock’s Michael Sinclair.
Having been two up with three to play, Curley then lost the 16th and 17th holes.
The 18th was halved in par fours, but at the first extra hole, Sinclair drove out of bounds and with Curley safely on in two shots, the Belfast man conceded the match.
The Dublin Newlands club provides two of the semi-finalists after Andrew Hogan beat Co Sligo’s Gary McDermott in another match which went to an extra hole.
Hogan, who was one down after 16 holes, won the 17th to draw back level.
With the 18th halved in pars Hogan got through with a par four on the 19th where McDermott took three putts from the edge of the green.
Banbridge’s Rory Leonard bowed out at the quarter-final stage.
He lost three and two to Limerick’s Pat Murray who was in sparkling form throughout their encounter.
Murray went one up at the second hole, was two up after four, and moved to four by the time they reached the 15th tee.
Leonard did manage to win that hole to cut the deficit to three, but the match ended at the par five 16th where Murray was on the back of the green in two.
Leonard pitched close for his birdie four, and after Murray sent his third shot across the green he chipped in for a birdie four to halve the hole and close out the match.
Irish Amateur Close championship semi-final draw: C Curley (Newlands) v P O’Kane (Moyola Park), A Hogan (Newlands) v P Murray (Limerick).