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Robinson in battle with French star Boulet at top of Belvoir Park leaderboard

 

By Paul Kelly

French international Theo Boulet found the scorching weather to his liking as he grabbed a share of the lead on day one of the Irish Boys Amateur Championship at Belvoir Park yesterday.

The 15-year-old joined local hope Joshua Robinson (Lisburn) on top of the leaderboard after both carded opening rounds of four-under par 67.

Ulster interprovincial representative Robinson (17) picked off five birdies in his opening 10 holes before a bogey at the par-four 12th halted his momentum.

David Kitt (Athenry), Rian Carvill (Warrenpoint) and Habebul Islam (England) are locked together in third on three under par.

Lisburn's Aaron Marshall, who currently leads the GUI's Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit, carded a three-over par 74 to share 36th place, while Holywood's Tom McKibbin signed for a two-over par 73 that left him in a tie for 19th.

The four round tournament will conclude on Friday. A cut will be made to the top 50 players and ties after the conclusion of round three tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Irish contingent, including Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL), have work to do if they are to make the cut today at the Ladies Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club in Southport.

Mehaffey, bidding to follow in the footsteps of 2017 champion Leona Maguire and 2012 champion Stephanie Meadow, opened with a six-over par 78. The leading Irish contender is Lurgan's Annabel Wilson who fired a two-over par 74 on a day when the challenging fairways caused problems for the 144-strong field.

Only seven players finished the day under par, with France's Elodie Chapelet taking an early lead by carding a four-under par 68.

Another French competitor, Emma Broze, is joined in second place on two-under par by Germany's Esther Henseleit, Spain's Elena Maria Hualde Zuniga and the top ranked player in the field, Sweden's Frida Kinhult.

64 players will progress today to the matchplay stages in their bid to secure the prestigious title and earn a place in the Ricoh Women's British Open at nearby Royal Lytham & St Annes from August 2 to 5.

Dubliner Neil O'Briain posted rounds of 69 and 68 (-7) to win the Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am for the third time in four years yesterday.

The Old Conna professional joined an exclusive list of three-time champions that includes Ryder Cup star Eamonn Darcy and David Higgins (Waterville Links).

Higgins, with 65 and 73 (-6), finished in a tie for second place alongside Michael McGeady (70/68).

The team prize was won by Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) and amateur partners Bill Hanley, Barra O'Dwyer and Pat Barrett who finished the 36 holes with 186 points.

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