Tough day for the Irish as all four knocked out of the 126th Amateur Championship

By Ronan MacNamara  

Robert Moran. Photo by Golffile

It was a disastrous day for the Irish at the 126th Amateur Championship at The Nairn Golf Club as all four of the Irish challengers exited the Championship on Thursday.

Friday’s quarter-final, will be an all UK affair with Welshman James Ashfield hoping to quash the England and Scottish dominance.

The last-32 stage kicked off this morning where Jake Whelan, Alan Fahy and John Cleary were beaten while Robert Moran was the sole Irishman to advance to this afternoon’s last-16.

Whelan, - who dished out a thumping to Ireland’s leading strokeplay qualifier, Luke O’Neill - was on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat as England’s Jack Bigham swatted him aside, winning 6&5.

Alan Fahy was also comfortably beaten as the Dun Laoghaire man went down 4&3 to Ashfield, while Cleary was narrowly beaten as Sam Bairstow of England edged a tight contest to win by 2 holes.

Castle Golf Club player Robert Moran, prevented a morning whitewash for the Irish as he scraped through to beat Josh Hill on the 18th hole in an enthralling encounter.

Moran could not keep his momentum going in the afternoon as he was hammered 5&4 by Jack Dyer. Moran trailed throughout and a birdie, eagle stretch from Dyer around the turn took the tie away from him. The Castle player was unlucky to lose the 10th to an eagle, having birdied the par-5 himself.

It was another step forward for Nairn member Calum Scott who came through extra holes in both of his matches to advance to Friday’s quarter-final.

Local members took to the fairways to see Scott par the 19th hole of his last-32 tie to advance against Iceland’s Hlynur Bergsson. Scott had squandered a five-hole advantage but held his nerve to progress.

The 17-year-old came through a thriller with England’s Harley Smith. Buoyed by the home support, Scott won the 18th to bring it to extra holes and drained a birdie putt from seven feet to set up a quarter-final clash with James Ashfield.

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