Chris Selfridge stays on track to defend North of Ireland crown

Chris Selfridge
Chris Selfridge

Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) remains on course for back-to back North of Ireland Amateur Championship wins after booking his place in Friday’s last four at Royal Portrush.

The 21-year-old saw off Matthew McClean (Balmoral) and Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) on Thursday to set up an all-Ulster semi-final clash against David Mulholland (Castlerock GC) at the Cathedral Eye Clinic sponsored event.

In Thursday’s quarter-final meeting against Coghlan he raced into a six hole lead after nine but was pegged back by his opponent, eventually winning 3&2.

“I was cruising but then I made it a bit harder for myself,” said the University of Toledo student who has been working closely with performance coach Fergie Wallace this week.

“I lost a few holes and the pressure was back on me but I was ok with that; it resembled a final.

“I responded well to losing those holes and played the next four in regulation pars.”

Selfridge is something of a course specialist at Royal Portrush. He won the Irish Close at the famous links in 2012 and followed that up with last year’s win at the North but he will need to call on all that big match experience on Friday morning against Mulholland.

The 48-year-old eye surgeon at Altnagelvin Hospital shocked everyone including himself by seeing off the highly fancied Reeve Whitson (Mourne) in the last eight.

A regular competitor at the event, Mulholland has never got any further than the quarter-finals of this tournament. His best Championship finish was back in 1988 when he lost out in the final of the Irish Close to Garth McGimpsey.

“I can’t believe it, I never thought I would get to the semi-finals,” he said.

“I’ve been playing very little golf this year, in fact, I’ve only marked seven cards.”

Whitson, who is pondering a move into the paid ranks, struggled with his rhythm against Mulholland and felt that the long gap between his morning (he beat Warrenpoint’s William Hanna 7&6) and afternoon matches contributed to a lack-lustre display.

“I had a few opportunities to get back into the tie but couldn’t take them,” added Reeve.

“Fair play to David, I don’t think he missed a shot until the 15th.”

The other semi-final will feature former Irish Boys champion Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) and Richard Bridges (Stackstown). Dawson made a strong statement of intent by cruising past Alex Wilson (Portmarnock) 4&3 and Irish international Cormac Sharvin 5&3 in some style.

His opponent on Friday morning, Richard Bridges, picked up two notable Ulster scalps on Thursday in Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) and Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint). Round three: R Whitson (Mourne) bt W Hanna (Warrenpoint) 7&6; D Mulholland (Castlerock) bt J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 1 hole; D Coughlan (Portmarnock) bt S Bryan (Delgany) 3&1; C Selfridge (Moyola Pk) bt M McClean (Balmoral) 3&2; C Sharvin (Ardglass) bt T Harris (Castletown) 1 hole; R Dawson (Faithlegg) bt A Wilson (Portmarnock) 4&3; R Bridges (Stackstown) bt D McElroy (Ballymena) 1 hole; C Campbell (Warrenpoint) bt T Gandy (Castletown).

Round Four:Mulholland bt Whitson 2&1; Selfridge bt Coughlan 3&2; Dawson bt Sharvin 5&3; Bridges bt Campbell at 19th.

Friday Fixtures

8am – Mulholland v Selfridge

8.40am – Dawson v Bridges.