Dermot McElroy on course to defend West of Ireland Championship

Dermot McElroy
Dermot McElroy

The experienced Ulster duo of Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint GC) and Dermot McElroy (Ballymena GC) will compete in the semi-finals of the West of Ireland Championship at Co Sligo on Tuesday morning.

Defending champion McElroy will face Jonathan Yates (Naas GC) while Campbell will tackle Daniel Holland (Castle) for a place in the final.

McElroy came through a close quarter-final encounter on Monday with Kevin LeBlanc (The Island) to claim a spot in the last four.

After falling behind early on, McElroy took a one-hole lead into the back nine and looked certain to close out the match on the penultimate hole when he fired a three-iron to within four feet of the hole.

“Kevin holed a bomb on 17, it was about 50 feet,” said the 22-year-old speaking to www.golfnet.ie.

“Probably, it (LeBlanc’s putt) would have affected me in the past.”

However, this time there was no mistake from Dermot and he responded like a champion with a birdie on 18 to see off his teenage opponent.

“Kevin’s a very, very good player. He’s very talented. He didn’t really hit a bad shot,” said McElroy, who finished 3-3-3 to wrap up victory.

The shot of the day belonged to Campbell courtesy of a hole-in-one at the fourth in round three against Des Morgan (New Forest).

“I knew once it pitched it was going to be really close,” said Campbell, whose seven iron from 178 yards landed just short of the hole before rolling in.

“The last time I made a hole-in-one I ended up going on and winning.”

Campbell made an ace at the 15th on his way to winning the East of Ireland at Co Louth in 2014. Now he’s seeking his second major amateur title at the West.

“At the end of the day, you’re judged on how many wins you have,” he said.

“Nobody remembers who finishes second, simple. And I didn’t come here at the start of the week to make up numbers. I had one intention in my head and that was to win.”

Campbell plays Holland at 8am in the first semi-final while McElroy and Yates get underway at 8.15am.

West of Ireland Amateur Open, County Sligo GC (in association with Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa)

Third round: S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) bt R Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 2/1; C Campbell (Warrenpoint) bt D Morgan (New Forest) 1 hole; G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) bt T Coffey (Slieve Russell) 3/2; D Holland (Castle) bt A Grant (Dundalk) 2/1; K Le Blanc (Island) bt S Brady (Co. Sligo) 7/6; D McElroy (Ballymena) bt C Butler (Kinsale) 3/2; J Yates (Naas) bt H Duggan (Kilkenny) 5/4; M Kane (Whitehead) bt C Rafferty (Dundalk) 3/2.

Quarter-finals: C Campbell bt S Flanagan 3/2; D Holland bt G Fitzmaurice 2/1; D McElroy bt K Le Blanc 2 holes; J Yates (Naas) bt M Kane 6/5.

Tuesday

Semi-finals: (8am) Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) v Daniel Holland (Castle); (8.15am) Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) v Jonathan Yates (Naas).