Irish Open qualifying: Four qualify from Rosapenna to Ballyliffin

(from left) PGA in Ireland regional manager, Michael McCumiskey John Casey, Director, Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Cian McNamara Colm Moriarty Neil O'Briain Simon Thornton Rosapenna 2018 captain, Liam Breen
(from left) PGA in Ireland regional manager, Michael McCumiskey John Casey, Director, Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort Cian McNamara Colm Moriarty Neil O'Briain Simon Thornton Rosapenna 2018 captain, Liam Breen

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) edged out Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC) on the first play-off hole to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open qualifier at Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort

.In doing so the 41-year-old claimed the €6000 first prize and earned a place in this week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin where he will be joined by O'Briain, third-placed Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel) and Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC),

Thornton and O'Briain finished the 36-hole event locked together on five under par, while Moriarty ended the tournament on four under.

The scorching weather that had marked out the practice day and the opening round on Saturday was replaced on Sunday by cloudy skies and a stronger breeze that tested the players.

“It was a battle but I'm used to that from practicing at Newcastle,” said Thornton.

“Overall, I played two good rounds. I played lovely, only one sloppy shot which cost me a bogey on the last but I committed to everything. I'm delighted obviously.”

The fourth place at Ballyliffin went to Cian McNamara who hung on to beat Europro Tour regular, Kevin Phelan on the second play-off hole after both finished the event on two under par.

“I haven't been in that situation for a long time so today I just said that I need to stick to my game plan and not look at what is going on around me,” said McNamara.

“I stuck to my plan and I holed a crucial putt on the 17th in normal play. In the play-off I hit the same clubs off the tees. I was unfortunate to three-putt the opening play-off hole and then I got lucky on the second play-off hole when Kevin just tugged his second shot into a bad lie.

“It is a huge boost, it's not something I thought I would ever get playing in again because I really haven't had a lot of time to put into my game but now I have qualified for another Irish Open with the wife caddying, it's been a great couple of days.”

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Qualifier hosted by The Rory Foundation at Rosapenna Golf Hotel (Par 71)

Leading scores

139 Simon Thornton 68 71 (Won 1st place €6,000 at first extra hole), Neil O’Briain 67 72

140 Colm Moriarty 67 73

142 Cian McNamara 69 73 (Won 4th spot at 2nd extra hole), Kevin Phelan 72 70

143 Stuart Grehan 70 73, David Higgins 69 74

144 Mark Staunton 70 74, Robert Giles 70 74

145 Mark O’Sullivan 74 71, Brian Casey 74 71, Jake Whelan (AM), Rory McNamara 70 75

146 Brian McElhinney 71 75

147 Michael McGeady 77 70, Jack Howard 73 74 , Conor O'Rourke 72 75

148 Reece Black (AM) 78 70, Glen Robinson 77 71, Joe Dillon 75 73

149 Andy Hogan 76 73

150 Steven Quinlan 78 72, Richard Weldon 76 74, David Barry 75 75

151 Conor Coyne 76 75, Paul O’Neill 76 75, David Carey 76 75, Padraig Dooley 75 76, Alec Myles 74 77, Niall Kearney 74 77, James Sugrue (AM) 71 80

152 Andrew Peoples 77 75, Michael O’Shea 76 76, James Quinlivan 76 76, Richard Kilpatrick 75 77, Seamus Duffy 74 78, John- Ross Galbraith 73 79, Dara Lernihan 73 79

153 Tim Rice Ross 81 72, Peter Martin 80 73, Jimmy Bolger 78 75, Adam Dunmore 75 78, Alan Dunbar 75 78

154 Damian Mooney 82 72, Gary Madden 81 73 , Shane Jenkinson I 78 76, Stephen McCarthy 77 77, Ciaran Molloy 77 77, Keith Shannon 76 78, Patrick Small 75 79