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Cutler enjoys carving up the local foes as he targets final

West of Ireland Championships

By Karl MacGinty

Paul Cutler chuckled when someone quipped he could become Public Enemy No 1 in Rosses Point this morning.

Walker Cup contender Cutler, 22, knocked two Co Sligo members out of the West of Ireland Championship yesterday and will try to make it a hat-trick when he faces local bank official Gary McDermott in the semi-final.

Cutler, from Portstewart, relished the atmosphere yesterday as more than 1500 people followed his quarter-final match with Barry Anderson to a thrilling conclusion on the 19th hole.

“More big crowds again tomorrow morning, I’d say,” he said.

Cutler was vastly more experienced than his opponent in yesterday morning’s third round, Steffan O’Hara, 20 and he made it pay, winning 5 and 4. Yet he was pushed all the way and then some by fellow Irish international Anderson, 20.

Cutler was two-up with four to play yet, crucially, he’d miss a seven foot putt for birdie at 15 before throwing Anderson another lifeline with a three-putt bogey at 16.

At 18 Cutler hit his 35 foot putt seven feet past and missed the one back. Extra holes required.

After Anderson’s approach pulled-up in the fringe, Cutler then played the shot of the championship. Choking down on his 9-iron, he held up a phenomenal high draw against the wind and his ball flew 110 yards to six feet for a facile winning par.

McDermott had a relatively straightforward 5 and 4 win over Harry Diamond.

In the other half, Niall Gorey, 31, chipped-in for birdie at 17 to set up a one hole victory over pre-championship favourite Dermot McElroy in the morning before edging out Craig Martin by the same margin to ease into a semi-final with Rathmore’s Alan Dunhar.

Reigning North of Ireland and Irish Amateur Open champion Dunbar’s putter is hot. He took just 19 putts in 15 holes — including a three-putt! — as he beat Jack Hume in the morning and must be favourite to reach the final.

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