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McKibbin misses cut as Rafferty eyes title glory

 

There is much at stake as the winner gains exemptions into The Open at Royal Portrush next month, the 2020 US Open and an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament (stock photo)
There is much at stake as the winner gains exemptions into The Open at Royal Portrush next month, the 2020 US Open and an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament (stock photo)

By Paul Kelly

It wasn't to be for 16-year-old Tom McKibbin as he bowed out of the Amateur Championship yesterday.

The Holywood youngster acquitted himself well at this elite level, but his seven-over par total for two rounds at Portmarnock and The Island left him outside the cut mark.

Just four Irish players progressed to the matchplay stages which get underway today at Portmarnock. Dundalk golfer Caolan Rafferty led the way, finishing the 36 holes of qualifying on one-under par. He was joined in the final-64 plus ties by fellow Irishmen Eanna Griffin (Waterford), James Sugrue (Mallow) and Ronan Mullarney (Galway).

"It's nice to be the leading Irish player and we'll see what happens in the matchplay now. You can go out and shoot six-under and lose or shoot 10-over and win on the 12th!" said Rafferty.

England's Thomas Plumb and John Axelsen from Denmark shared top spot on four-under par. After opening with a three-under-par 68 at The Island, 20-year-old Plumb took advantage of the pleasant morning conditions to card a one-under 71 at Portmarnock. The cut mark fell at four-over par.

There is much at stake as the winner gains exemptions into The Open at Royal Portrush next month, the 2020 US Open and an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.

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