Strong winds send scores skyrocketing as Caolan Rafferty retains the lead in the west of Ireland


Rosses Point bared its fangs as a southerly wind, at times gusting in excess of 30mph, sent scores skyrocketing in the second qualifying round for the Connolly’s Audi West of Ireland Amateur Open in County Sligo.

undalk’s Caolan Rafferty made the most of the good but windy early conditions, adding a 2-over-73 to his opening 65 and staying ahead with a round to go in the 54-hole stroke play test to find the top 16 that qualify for the matchplay stages starting Monday.

The former Walker Cup player mixed 16 pars with a double-bogey six on the 14th to lead the field with three shots from Roscommon’s Thomas Higgins and Galway’s Liam Nolan at four under par.

Higgins shot the only sub-par score of the day in the morning, a under-70 with a birdie on second, an eagle on fifth and bogeys on 15th and 17th before the wind picked up and scores soared into the 80s and 90s.

The final five holes played into the teeth of the wind for the eventual starters and Nolan was delighted to play this stretch three over par for a 73.

“I did a lot of ups and downs in the first 12 holes to be one but then you turn home and it was about holding on to your hat,” said Ireland international Nolan, who finished second to Hugh Foley by Royal Dublin in a 72-hole strokeplay west of Ireland last September. “So today I was very happy with the 73.”

Stranorlar’s Ballybofey and Ryan Griffin blasted a flat par 71 early in the day to end on a flat par and shared fourth place with Hugh Foley, who had six to go with two under and was thrilled with the tricky final stretch at two over to tackle for one 72 on a day where the field averaged 78.29 compared to 75.08 on day one.

“A 72 felt like a great result in the end, even though I was two-under with six to play,” said Foley, who bogeyed on the 14th, 16th and 18th but saved on the 15th and 17th, where he hit two drivers off the green before spinning a 30-yard wedge shot back to six inches from the hole to save par

“The last five holes were really tough. I hit a four-iron on the 14th (460 yards), a five-iron on the 15th (422 yards), a two-iron on the par-3 16th (210 yards), and after two drivers I was short before the 17th (470 yards) which was like a par 5 today. Even the 18th (387 yards) was a drive and a battered four iron when it was a lob wedge yesterday.

“I was happy with the way I played. It was a great test for the long game, with the last few shots into the wind being a serious test.”

The new format – 54 holes of strokeplay with top 16 to qualify for matchplay – will be tried out this year and next up will be a better quality matchplay competition on Monday and Tuesday.

Aside from Alex Maguire and Mark Power of the USA, 10 of the 12-strong High Performance Jury are in action this week and nine of them are in the top 20 with one qualifying round remaining.

But with 50 players already more than 10 strokes outside the top 16 and wind and rain forecast for Round 3, it’s no surprise that 19 players are eliminated and the starting field is reduced from 132 to 111, with two more players retire

Connolly’s Audi West of Ireland Amateur Open, Co Sligo GC (Par 71)

After 36 holes

138C Rafferty (Dundalk) 65 73;

141 T Higgins (Roscommon) 71 70, L Nolan (Galway) 68 73;

142 R Griffin (Ballybofey & Stranorlar Gc) 71 71, H Foley (Royal Dublin) 70 72;

143 G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 72 71, A Mulholland (Castlerock) 71 72;

144 A Brady (Co. Sligo) 73 71, K Egan (Carton House) 69 75, T Ford (Co. Sligo) 69 75;

145 M McClean (Malone) 72 73, D Shiel (Powerscourt) 71 74, J Whelan (Grange) 70 75;

146 D Kitt (Athenry) 73 73, R Latimer (Clandeboye) 73 73, M Boucher (Carton House) 71 75, J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 70 76, A Fahy (Bray) 68 78;

147 P Coughlan (Castleknock) 75 72, C Harkin (Letterkenny) 74 73, A Benson (West Lothian) 74 73, E Sullivan (Carton House) 73 74, S Walker (Roscommon) 72 75, C Hickey (Dooks) 72 75 , E McCormack (Galway Bay) 71 76, C Clarke (Balmoral) 70 77;

148 J Hill (Galgorm Castle) 73 75 D Flynn (Carton House) 73 75 S O’Connor (Castlebar) 71 77 J Hewitt (Tandragee) 71 77 R Cannon (Balbriggan) 71 77 J Boles (Charleville) 71 77, D O’Sullivan (Tralee) 71 77;

149 A King (Faithlegg) 75 74 M Giles (Greenore) 74 75 A Hill (Roscommon) 73 76 A Marshall (Lisburn) 73 76 J Cleary (Elm Park Golf & Sports Club) 73 76 P O’Keeffe (Douglas) 72 77, M Deasy (Douglas) 71 78;

150 R O’Connor (Co. Sligo) 78 72, J Fox (Portmarnock) 76 74, R Moran (Castle) 75 75, K McCarron (North West) 74 76, R Brazill (Naas) 74 76, T Dowdall (Woodbrook ) 73 77;

151 A Barr (Ballymena) 75 76, D Muldowney (Carton House) 73 78, E Murphy (Dundalk) 73 78, S McLoughlin (Co. Sligo) 72 79, A Hickey (Ballyhaunis) 68 83;

152 S McDermott (Slieve Russell) 78 74, R Kennelly (Castleknock) 77 75, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 76 76, J Lyons (Galway) 75 77, T Abom (Edmondstown) 73 79, C Rabbette (Esker Hills) 72 80;

153 S Downes (Royal Dublin) 78 75 F Dobbin (Malone) 76 77 H Fanagan (Milltown) 75 78 B Reilly (Royal Tara) 74 79 S O’Connell (Athenry) 74 79 T Cafferky (Ballinasloe) 74 79, C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 74 79, J Murphy (Dundalk) 74 79, H Gillivan (Westport) 72 81, D O’Riordan (Fermoy) 71 82;

154 R Walsh Jnr (Douglas) 78 76, S Carroll (Ballybunion) 76 78, L Cunningham (Galway Bay) 76 78, T Byrne (Royal Curragh) 74 80, S O’Brien (Nenagh) 73 81;

155 C Murtagh (The Island) 77 78 G O’Neill (Malahide) 76 79 A Gaynor (Co Sligo) 74 81 S Dowling (The Island) 74 81 D Brady (Co Sligo) 74 81 L Lyon (Limerick) 73 82;

156 L Kelly (Belvoir Park) 78 78, D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 77 79, M Cain (Cork) 76 80, S Underwood (Co Sligo) 76 80;

157 J Sheahan (Galway Bay) 79 78, K Patton (Lisburn) 78 79, A Challoner (Galway Bay) 78 79, A McCabe (The Links Portmarnock) 76 81, L O’Connor (Edmondstown) 76 81, J Rowe ( Belvoir Park) 75 82, R Williamson (Holywood) 74 83;

158 K Robinson (Castlewarden) 79 79, J Kelly (Ardee) 76 82;

159 T O’Connor (Athlone) 81 78, D Marshall (Naas) 81 78, A Dooley (Carton House) 76 83;

160 S McGlynn (Portmarnock) 82 78, R McCrory (Lurgan) 80 80, A McNulty (Lahinch) 79 81;

161 J Hayden (Grange) 81 80, L Abom (Edmondstown) 81 80, R O’Reilly (Cregmore Park) 79 82;

162 B St John (Portmarnock) 83 79, P McGrath (Galway Bay) 78 84, R Carvill (Warrenpoint) 77 85;

163 MO Sullivan (Ballyneety) 81 82, A Kelly (New Forest) 78 85, J Mitten (Westmanstown) 77 86;

164 T Plunkett (Crover House) 84 80, J Walsh (Douglas) 80 84, G Finnegan (Co. Sligo) 78 86;

166 H. Kane (Bahamian Golf Association) 84 82;

168 E Lisibach (Glasgow) 86 82;

WD 153 J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 78 75, J Rackard (Enniscorthy) 75 78, D Connellan (St Anne’s) 73 80;

WD 154C Ryan (Bray) 74 80;

WD 155A McCormack (Castletroy) 74 81;

WD 156 S Ryan (Royal Dublin) 77 79, S Flanagan (Portmarnock) 75 81;

WD 157 R Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire) 79 78, S Cullen (Slieve Russell) 78 79, D McCormack (Corrstown) 76 81, R Hynes (Oughterard) 75 82;

WD 158 N Crawford (Mourne) 79 79, A Collins (Laytown & Bettystown) 77 81;

WD 159 S Cunningham (Esker Hills) 76 83;

WD 160 M Shiel (Galway Bay) 74 86;

WD 161 W Beatty (Greenacres) 77 84;

WD 162 D Lally (Blainroe) 80 82;

WD 167 R Halpin (Dun Laoghaire) 77 90;

WD 186 M McCaughey (Bundoran) 92 94;

Rtd 78 Q Carew (Castleknock);

Rtd 76 PO Dochartaigh (Gweedore).

Third round start times

7am Eoin Lisibach (Glasgow), Heathcliffe Kane (Bahamas Golf Federation), Gerard Finnegan (Co Sligo)

07:11 James Walsh (Douglas), Thomas Plunkett (Crover House), James Mitten (Westmanstown)

07:22 Adam Kelly (New Forest), Morgan O’Sullivan (Ballyneety), Rian Carvill (Warrenpoint)

07:33 Paraic McGrath (Galway Bay), Brandon St John (Portmarnock), Ronan O’Reilly (Cregmore Park)

7:44 Liam Abom (Edmondstown), Jonathan Hayden (Grange), Aaron McNulty (Lahinch)

07:55 Ronan McCrory (Lurgan), Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock), Aidan Dooley (Carton House)

08:06 David Marshall Jnr (Naas), Thomas O’Connor (Athlone), Jamie Kelly (Ardee)

8:17 Kevin Robinson (Castlewarden), Rory Williamson (Holywood), Jake Rowe (Belvoir Park)

08:28 Lorcan O’Connor (Edmondstown), AJ. McCabe (The Links Portmarnock), Adam Challoner (Galway Bay)

08:39 Kyle Patton (Lisburn), Jeremiah Sheahan (Galway Bay), Shane Underwood (Co Sligo)

08:50 Morgan Cain (Cork), David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh), Luke Kelly (Belvoir Park)

9:01 Lucas Lyons (Limerick), David Brady (Co Sligo), Sean Dowling (The Island)

9:12 AM Alan Gaynor (Co Sligo), Gavin O’Neill (Malahide), Conor Murtagh (The Island)

9:23 Scott O’Brien (Nenagh), Thomas Byrne (Royal Curragh), Luke Cunningham (Galway Bay)

9:34 AM Senan Carroll (Ballybunion), Robert Walsh Jnr (Douglas), Dean O’Riordan (Fermoy)

9:45am Harry Gillivan (Westport) Jason Murphy (Dundalk), Colm Campbell Jr (Warrenpoint)

9:56 AM Tom Cafferky (Ballinasloe), Sean O’Connell (Athenry), Barry Reilly (Royal Tara)

10:07 Harry Fanagan (Milltown), Fionn Dobbin (Malone), Sean Downes (Royal Dublin)

10:18 Christopher Rabbette (Esker Hills), Thomas Abom (Edmondstown), Joe Lyons (Galway)

10:29 Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin), Ruairi Kennelly (Castleknock), Shane McDermott (Slieve Russell)

10:40 Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis), Sean McLoughlin (Co Sligo), Eoin Murphy (Dundalk)

10:51 David Muldowney (Carton House), Adam Barr (Ballymena), Tom Dowdall (Woodbrook)

11:02 Robert Brazill (Naas), Kyle McCarron (North West), Robert Moran (Castle)

11:13 AM James Fox (Portmarnock), Ruairi O’Connor (Co Sligo), Mel Deasy (Douglas)

11:24 Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), John Cleary (Elm Park), Aaron Marshall (Lisburn)

11:35 Allan Hill (Roscommon), Matthew Giles (Greenore), Alex King (Faithlegg)

11:46 Darren O’Sullivan (Tralee), Jordan Boles (Charleville), Robert Cannon (Balbriggan)

11:57 James Hewitt (Tandragee), Shane O’Connor (Castlebar), Darragh Flynn (Carton House)

12:08pm Joshua Hill (Galgorm Castle), Conor Clarke (Balmoral), Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay)

12:19 PM Conor Hickey (Dooks), Simon Walker (Roscommon), Eoin Sullivan (Carton House)

12:30 Andrew Benson (West Lothian), Cian Harkin (Letterkenny), Paul Coughlan (Castleknock)

12:41 Alan Fahy (Bray), Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little), Marc Boucher (Carton House)

12:52 Ross Latimer (Clandeboye), David Kitt (Athenry), Jake Whelan (Grange)

13:03 David Shiel (Powerscourt), Matthew McClean (Malone), TJ Ford (Co Sligo)

13:14 Keith Egan (Carton House), Aodhagan Brady (Co Sligo), Andrew Mulholland (Castlerock)

13:25 Gareth Lappin (Belvoir Park), Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin), Ryan Griffin (Ballybofey & Stranorlar Gc)

13:36 Liam Nolan (Galway), Thomas Higgins (Roscommon), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) Strong winds send scores skyrocketing as Caolan Rafferty retains the lead in the west of Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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