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Royal Portrush's Kerr out of luck in Amateur Open

 

By Brian Keogh

Newlands' Jake Whelan dodged not one but two bullets to make the last 16 on a day of the long knives for a host of favourites in the South of Ireland Amateur Open at Lahinch.

The 22-year-old Dubliner had to go to the 25th to beat Royal Portrush's Peter Kerr in the morning before he watched Tullamore's Stuart Grehan, one of the title favourites, three-putt from little more than two feet for bogey at the last to win by one hole and set up a third-round clash with Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon.

"It was a pity it had to end that way," said Whelan, who lipped out from five feet for birdie and took off his cap to watch Grehan address a treacherous, downwind, downhill two footer for victory. "We were all square after 11 and halved all the way until the 18th. I think his putt was hit by a gust. He was very unlucky."

Holder Conor Purcell from Portmarnock and fellow internationals Alex Gleeson, John Ross Galbraith and Robin Dawson were also blown away.

Naas' Conor O'Rourke now takes on the favourite's role and after despatching Monkstown's Sean Desmond 6&5 and Galway's Joe Lyons 4&3, he faces Thomas Mulligan (18) from Laytown and Bettystown today.

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