Illness robs Fletcher of title defence
Illness has cruelly ended Jamie Fletcher's hopes of defending the AIG Irish Close Championship at the European Club this weekend.
The Warrenpoint golfer, who beat Athenry teenager David Kitt by one hole at Galway Golf Club last year, initially thought he had fractured his elbow but is instead suffering from an infection which will require antibiotics and a period of rest.
With Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) also ruled out through injury, Ulster hopes will lie with the likes of 2015 Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) and Malone's Matthew McClean, who reached the semi-finals of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship last month.
The first round tees off at 8am this morning, with the top 64 progressing to the match play stages following a 36-hole cut at the close of play tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Daniel Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) swept to victory at the Irish Under-14 Boys Amateur Open, winning by 11 shots at Mullingar.
Mulligan added a second-round 73 to finish at three under for the tournament, comfortably clear of Balmoral's Fionn Dobbin.
After the first round, Mulligan enjoyed a six-shot cushion thanks to a superb round of 68 that featured six birdies.
The four-handicapper made three more birdies during round two and, while he could not break par again, his 73 was still the best score of the day.
Matthew Giles from Greenore was his closest rival going into the final day, but his challenge faded as he posted 79 to finish third on nine over.
Dobbin came through to take second place overall and claim the Under-13 medal thanks to rounds of 75 and 77.