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Ulster's Dutton aiming to step up title quest

 

By Paul Kelly

Tandragee's Ross Dutton will fly the flag for Ulster in the last 16 of the AIG Irish Close Championship at The European Club this morning.

"My target at the start of the year was to try and get to the final day of a tournament. I'm still on track. It's the last tournament of the year so you never know," said the 23-year-old.

Dutton beat Kinsale's Cathal Butler 3&2 in the opening round of matchplay yesterday but was then involved in a titanic tussle with Joseph Byrne (Baltinglass).

Two down with three to play, Dutton won the 16th and 17th and then halved the 18th, before eventually triumphing on the third extra hole with a seven.

"It was a total mess. I hit it into the greenside bunker in two. Joe had hit into the fairway bunker, hit out and then lost his approach shot, so he had to go back and hit five," added Dutton.

"He hit five short right and then hit his sixth on. I made a total mess of it. I came out sideways from the bunker, I chipped long, then chipped on and two-putted. It was eventful but it was good."

Dutton will tackle Marc McCormack (Moss Creek) this morning at 9.10am.

Ulster's leading qualifier, Marc Norton (Belvoir Park), bowed out in round one, beaten 3&2 by Peter Kerr (Royal Portrush).

Fixtures - Round Three: Mullarney v Brophy; Collins v Cannon; Lester v Gleeson; O'Keeffe v Walsh; Purcell v Sugrue; Moran v Smith; Leonard v Stack; McCormack v Dutton.

Quarter Finals at 1pm.

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