Matthew McClean leads the way at North of Ireland Amateur Championship

Matthew McClean.
Matthew McClean.

Malone’s Matthew McClean emerged as the leading player after 36 holes of qualifying at the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.

The 25-year-old optometrist followed up an opening round 67 (-4) at the Valley with a bogey free 68 (-4) on the Dunluce Course to finish on eight under par. The former Irish Boys International, a regular competitor at the North of Ireland, has taken some time away from work to play competitively and it appears to have paid off.

“I have been hitting a lot of greens and working hard on my putting with Malone pro Michael McGee so things are pretty good just now. Hopefully, I will be around here for another few days,” said McClean.

The 2017 Irish Amateur Champion, Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) successfully negotiated qualifying to make today’s opening round of match-play as did 2016 finalist Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene). Richard McCrudden (Royal Portrush) finished second on seven under par, adding a second round 67 (-4) on The Valley to an opening round 69 (-3) on the Dunluce. The cut for the final 64 fell at 146 (+3) with 13 players missing out.