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Fletcher and Norton look to go close in bid for title

 

By Paul Kelly

Ulster duo Marc Norton (Belvoir Park) and Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) are homing in on the Irish Close Championship title at Galway Golf Club. The pair have realistic ambitions of reaching today's final (scheduled for 1pm) after coming through tight match-play encounters yesterday.

Fletcher showed his championship credentials when defeating clubmate Colm Campbell in round two, and was the first to book his place in the final four by beating Cian Feeney (Co Sligo) 2&1. The 21-year-old faces Paul Coughlan (Castleknock) in the first of the semi-finals this morning (8am).

"I am playing well. I was in the quarters last year. I felt a bit more comfortable today and I think I have a good chance, big time if I keep playing the way I am," said Fletcher.

"If I can get a few more putts dropping, I will be hard to beat. At the start of the year it didn't really happen for me. But I came here thinking I could have a good run. You have to hit it well and straight around here and I am doing that."

Ulster interpro representative Norton joined Fletcher in the semis, where he faces David Kitt, after an impressive win against Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty.

A student at Oakland University in Michigan, Marc chipped in for birdie at a crucial stage against Rafferty, going two clear with three to play before securing his win at 17.

"My short game has been key, I've chipped in three times," said the 20-year-old who returns to college on September 4. "I holed out on the last hole of stroke play to make sure I qualified," he said.

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