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Ulster pair in line for Sligo final showdown

Ulster pair Michael Sinclair and Rory Leonard are through to the last four of the Radisson-Blu West of Ireland championship.

They conquered almost gale-force conditions at Sligo’s Rosses Point yesterday to reach the semi-finals.

A virtuoso front nine from Sinclair from Knock, in which he reached the turn an approximate one under against his quarter-final opponent, Forrest Little's Eoin Arthurs, gave Sinclair the perfect platform for a 6&4 victory.

“It's absolutely horrendous out there,” said Sinclair afterwards. “You just need to accept that you're going to make mistakes, so you need to try not to do anything too stupid.

“I played very solid in the morning,” he continued in reflection on his third round victory on the 16th over Grange's Michael McGinley.

“I hit three really good shots coming in on 14, 15 and 16 into the wind — right out of the top drawer — and that's just what got me through.

“I hit some really solid golf shots this afternoon — the hard thing was putting. I played well within myself and kept the pressure on.”

That attitude was essential for his semi-final opponent, Eddie McCormack, who also progressed through the storm at Rosses Point, beating Baltray's Gareth Bohill by 3&2, and Galgorm Castle's David Kernohan by 4&3.

Leonard will play Rory McNamara in the first semi-final this morning after the Headfort youth survived a late comeback charge from Co Sligo's Barry Anderson.

Four up with five to play, McNamara could not close out the match until he rolled in a superb par putt on the 18th to finish the game off. Conversely, he came from behind in the morning third round to beat Newlands' Cian Curley on the second extra tie hole.

Leonard, meanwhile, saw off Limerick's Pat Murray in a 23-hole marathon in the third round, and then beat Skerries' Geoff Hopkins on the 15th green in the afternoon.

l Leona Maguire has stormed to a second successive French Ladies U-21 title at St Cloud, Paris.

The 15-year-old international from Slieve Russell became the first player in recent times to record back-to-back successes in this hotly contested championship.

She came from behind like a true champion to retain her title with a 3&2 victory in the 36-hole final over Norwegian Tonje Daffinrud.

Belfast Telegraph