Small on a high and gunning for Pierse as he sets his sights on final chapter
Tandragee's William Small finds himself in rarefied air after battling his way through to the semi-finals of the West of Ireland Championship at Co Sligo GC.
The 19-year-old farmer, who has never reached this stage of a major amateur event before, will face Portmarnock's Jack Pierse in the last four this morning.
Small only had one hole to spare against Robert Brazill (Naas) in the quarter-finals, although he had already survived four extra holes against Athenry's Allan Hill just to make it through to the first round on Sunday.
Impressive wins against Castle's Robert Moran (4&2) and Nenagh's David Reddan (5&4) set Small on course for the final eight, where he beat Brazill.
A Fred Daly Trophy winner with Tandragee, Small is ploughing a lone furrow for Ulster after Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) was knocked out in round three by Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin).
Anderson was a junior at Co Sligo when he gained international recognition, holing the winning putt for Ireland at the 2008 Boys' Home Internationals. Previously a quarter-finalist at the West, he will be entering uncharted territory today.
Meanwhile, over in Paris, Lurgan's Annabel Wilson claimed the biggest win of her young amateur career when she beat local girl Elsa Ettori-Douard 3&2 in the final of the Cartier Trophy (U18) at the French Open.
The St Ronan's College student, who will celebrate her 16th birthday today, grabbed an early advantage in the 36-hole final, finishing the opening 18 holes with a four up lead.
She extended that lead to six with 13 holes remaining but stumbled on the way home with Ettori-Douard cutting the deficit to just two holes with five to play.
However, a win at the 33rd hole of the day gave Annabel some breathing space and she halved the 34th to seal victory.
Round Three: Robert Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire) lost Robert Brazill (Naas) 2hls; William Small (Tandragee) bt David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 5&4; Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) bt Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 2hls; Stephen Healey (The Royal Dublin) lost Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 1hl; Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin) lost to Jake Whelan (Newlands) 2&1; Gary McDermott (Carton House) bt Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) 3&2; Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) lost Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 1hl; David Brady (Co Sligo) bt Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 6&4
Round Four: William Small bt Robert Brazill 1hl; Jack Pierse bt Caolan Rafferty 2&1; Jake Whelan bt Gary McDermott 4&2
Today: William Small v Jack Pierse; Jake Whelan v Barry Anderson.