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Coulter and Gardner stay in the mix at Women’s Amateur



Beth Coulter earned her place in the last-32 in Kilmarnock

Beth Coulter earned her place in the last-32 in Kilmarnock

Beth Coulter earned her place in the last-32 in Kilmarnock

Ulster duo Beth Coulter and Rebekah Gardner are still standing at the Women’s Amateur Championship after navigating their last-64 ties at the Barassie Course at Kilmarnock to reach today’s second round.

Kirkistown Castle’s Coulter defeated Scotland’s Megan Ashley 2&1 to progress and she was quickly followed into the last-32 by Clandeboye’s Gardner, who had a comfortable 5&4 victory over England’s Mia Smith-Eales.

However, there was disappointment for Lisburn’s Paula Grant, whose challenge came to an early end with a 5&4 defeat to Scotland’s Carmen Griffiths.

Despite the relatively close scoreline, Coulter was always in control of her opening match of the week against Ashley, moving ahead on the fifth hole and never falling behind, clinching the victory on the 17th, and she will now take on Wales’ Ffion Tynan in the second round this morning at 8.40am.

Meanwhile, it was even more straightforward for Gardner, who, despite finishing nine places behind Smith-Eales in the stroke play, produced a fine display to wrap things up on the 14th green and seal her last-32 place.

However, her task hasn’t been made any easier as she will face a stern test in the second round when she comes up against 2019 Women’s Amateur champion and this year’s fifth seed Emily Toy at 9am. The English woman needed a play-off hole in order to defeat Scotland’s Clara Young in her first round to progress, so she could be there for the taking.

The most impressive victory of the day went to Lahinch’s Aine Donegan, who scraped into the match play in the final place of the stroke play qualifying courtesy of countback after finishing tied 64th, but proceeded to knock off top seed Ragnhildur Kristinsdottir of Iceland in the opening match of the day, 4&3.

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Her reward is a second-round tie with Scotland’s Shannon McWilliam this morning, and she will be joined in the next round by the other three Irish players who qualified for the match play.

Croham Hurst’s Canice Screene will take on England’s Emma Allen in the last-32 after a 5&4 win over Scotland’s Jennifer Rankine, Douglas’ Sara Bryne set up a second-round clash with England’s Caitlin Whitehead after a 4&3 win over Nicola Slater, while Hermitage’s Kate Lanigan is scheduled to face Scotland’s Lorna McClymont having accounted for another Scot, Chloe Goadby, 4&2 in the first round.

Meanwhile, there was disappointment on the first day of the delayed 2020 All-Ireland AIG Men’s Cups and Shields Finals — which were delayed from last year due to Covid-19 — as hosts Donegal were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Jimmy Bruen Shield.

The Ulster champions were defeated 3.5-1.5 on home turf by Leinster champions Baltinglass in their last-four tie, with Shaun Meehan and Tiago Kangombe winning their match and Oliver Plunkett and Chris Hegarty earning a half, but it wasn’t enough.

Baltinglass will go on to face Munster champions Berehaven in today’s final on what will be a very busy day at Donegal which will also feature the semi-finals of the Senior Cup, Junior Cup and Pierce Purcell Shield.

The Junior Cup is first on the slate, with Balmoral representing Ulster when they take on Munster champions Kilkenny at 8.45am, followed by the Senior Cup semi-finals, where Ulster champions Belvoir Park will look to see off Connacht representatives and reigning champions Galway at 10.25am.

That’s followed by Dunmurry aiming to reach the final of the Pierce Purcell Shield when they face Cill Dara in their semi-final at 12.05pm, with the Jimmy Bruen Shield final rounding things off at 1pm.

The finals of the Senior Cup, Junior Cup and Pierce Purcell Shield will all be held tomorrow, with Donegal Golf Club on the Murvagh Peninsula hosting.

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