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John Ross Galbraith digs deep to battle into last 16 at Ballyliffin

By Paul Kelly

Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith battled through some second-round lethargy to book his place in the last 16 of the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Ballyliffin GC.

Galbraith, the 2014 Irish Close champion, beat Bushfoot's Owen Crooks 2&1 in round one and followed up with a 3&2 success over Cathal Nolan (Galway).

"Going up 13 this afternoon, my legs just gave way. I started hitting poor shots and started getting annoyed with myself," said the 22-year-old.

"I had a firm talk with myself and told myself to wise up. I just had to keep playing the way I'd been playing.

"I'm hitting the ball really well and I'm giving myself a lot of birdie chances. If I get a few more putts dropping then I could be very hard to beat. Hopefully I can keep it going."

Galbraith will have to be at his best when he takes on Leinsterman Caolan Rafferty, but he has the bit between his teeth as he bids to finish an underwhelming season on a high.

Galbraith added: "I had a bad run around June time and I played my way off the European six-man team. That really annoyed me.

"I knew if I played decent I would have been on the team. I just said to myself, 'practice harder and try to get it back'. I'm starting to play well. Hopefully I can get the win this week."

Defending champion Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) is still standing strong and he will meet another Ulster and Irish representative, Colin Fairweather (Knock), in the last 16 today.

Fairweather edged out recently-crowned Ulster Youths king Jordan Hood (Galgorm) on the second extra hole in the second round.

However, there was disappointment for Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell. The Irish Amateur Open champion was edged out by Rathmore's Ben Best in round one.

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