The leading contenders moved smoothly through the opening rounds of the match-play stages at the Cathedral Eye sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush on Wednesday.
Ulster hopefuls Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Colm Campbell (Warrepoint) and John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) encountered few problems enroute to the last 16.
Campbell got the chance to put his feet up early by racking up two 6&5 victories – beating Colin Woodroofe (Blainroe) in the morning and Jonathan Breen (Kirkistown) in the afternoon.
“It was two good rounds,” said the 28-year-old who will face Gary Collins (Rosslare) on Thursday morning.
“I gave myself a lot of chances and didn’t put myself in any major trouble which is the big thing out there; don’t make it hard for yourself.”
Reigning Irish Close champion Galbraith was also content with a solid performance as he saw off Lester Moore (City of Derry) in the morning and Ryan Gribben (Warrenpoint) in the afternoon.
“I didn’t play great in qualifying, I did just did enough to get through but I played really well today,” said John Ross.
“I had eight birdies in 14 holes this morning and was steady this afternoon with four birdies. I feel like each round I can get better and better.”
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy showed no signs of tiredness after returning from Ireland duty in Sweden on Sunday. The West of Ireland Champion was handed a bye into the match-play stages and made quick work of Alastair McQuillan (Cushendall) and Rory Williamson (Holywood).
The 22-year-old who struggled a bit off the tee, will face fellow Ulster representative, William Hanna (Kilkeel) this morning. Leading qualifier Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) continued to play ‘uncomplicated’ golf and will face Lurgan’s David Sutton in the last 16 this morning.
Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush
Stephen Coulter v Robin Dawson; Gary Collins v Colm Campbell; Caolan Rafferty v Finlay Mason; William Hanna v Dermot McElroy; John-Ross Galbraith v Colin Fairweather; paul McBride v Ronan Mullarney; Geoff Lenehan v David Sutton; Daniel Holland v Rowan Lester
Matchplay D1 Results:
Round One:S Coulter (Warrenpoint) bt A Mulholland (Castlerock) 7&6; M McClean (Balmoral) bt J Owens (Bangor) 2&1; A Clegg (Donaghadee) bt N Crawford (Mourne) 2&1; R Dawson (Faithlegg) bt D Jackson (Massereene) 4&3; G Lappin (Belvoir Pk) bt T Harris (Castletown) at 19th; G Collins (Rosslare) bt C Wilton (Banbridge) 2 holes; J Breen (Kirkistown Castle) bt S Carter (Royal Dublin) 6&5; K Egan (Carton House) bt G Arthur (Carrickfergus) 1 hole; C Rafferty (Dundalk) bt C Doran (Banbridge) at 19th; F Mason (Moor Hall) bt W Russell (Clandeboye) 2 holes; E Griffin (Waterford) bt S Bleakley 4&3; W Hanna (Kilkeel) bt B Cashman (Belvoir Pk) 3&1; I Moore (Dunmurry) bt S Magee (Lurgan) 1 hole; A McQuillan (Cushendall) bt M Mullen (Rosslare) 4&2; D McElroy (Ballymena) bt R Williamson (Holywood) 7&5; JR Galbraith (Whitehead) bt L Moore (City of Derry) 6&4; R Gribben (Warrenpoint) bt O Crooks (Bushfoot) 3&2; C Fairweather (Knock) bt A Morris (Belvoir Pk) 4&2; J Yates (Naas) bt M McKinstry (Cairndhu) at 20th; P McBride (The Island) bt J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 7&6; J Corke (Castletown) bt R Pierse (Grange) 3&1; R Mullarney (Galway) bt K McCarron (North West) 4&3.
Fourth Quarter: G Lernehan (Portmarnock) bt E Smith (Ardee) 5&4; C Melvin (Corrstown) bt S McConnell (Ballyclare) 1 hole; F Kennedy (The Island) bt A Doran (Ardee) at 19th; D Sutton (Lurgan) bt N Simpson (Kirkistown Castle) 1 hole; R Bridges (Stackstown) bt R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 2 holes; D Holland (Castle) bt R Dutton (Tandragee) 1 hole; R Lester (Hermitage) bt R Long (Cairndhu) 1 hole; T Coffey (Slieve Russell) bt J Sunderland (Galgorm Castle) 2&1.
Round Two: Coulter bt McClean 2 holes; Dawson bt Clegg 2 holes; Collins bt Lappin 3&1; Campbell bt Breen 6&5; Rafferty bt Egan 1 hole; Mason bt Griffin at 19th; Hanna bt Moore 5&3; McElroy bt McQuillan 3&2; Galbraith bt Gribben 5&3; Fairweather bt Yates at 19th; McBride bt Corke 2&1; Mullarney bt Hopkins 2&1; Lenehan bt Melvin 3&2; Sutton bt Kennedy 3&2; Holland bt Bridges 3&2; Lester bt Coffey 1 hole.