ANOTHER day of disruption has left Ulster Branch officials facing something of a scheduling nightmare as they try to get the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship back on track.
The stubborn sea-mist that caused play to be halted on Tuesday, returned yesterday evening, forcing play to be abandoned at 7.35pm with a number of round one games still to be completed.
Branch officials had hoped to get 40 match play ties completed yesterday in a bid to ensure the final would be played on Friday but there is a genuine possibility that the tournament could be forced into an extra day.
Approximately 90 players returned to Royal Portrush yesterday morning to wrap up their second qualifying rounds.
Overnight leader, Ben Casey (Headfort) was eventually joined on the leading 135 mark by Ben Best (Rathmore) and Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene). The cut fell on 147, with 10 players missing out on that mark.
Casey won the silver medal as best qualifier courtesy of a better back nine and he continued his positive form by brushing aside the challenge of Eugene Smith (Ardee) in round one of the match-play. The 22-year-old was four up against Smith inside five, birdied the 12th to go five up and wrapped things by halving 13 and 14.
He was followed into the second round by Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park), last year’s beaten finalist Michael Sinclair (Knock) and Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) also a beaten finalist in 2011.
“I got off to a fast start with a birdie on the first but after that it was steady golf,” said Diamond who will face Francis McGinn (Ballycastle) this morning.
“I had three birdies in total and only dropped one shot in the round.”
It was a long day at the office for many of the players including McGinn who had to return to complete his second qualifying round and was then taken to the 19th by Gareth Bohill (Co Louth) before winning his match
He was relieved that play was finally called off for the day before he could start his second round match as was Irish international Simon Ward (Co Louth), who played 28 holes yesterday.
Ward completed the final 10 holes of his qualifying round yesterday morning to make it through to the match-play stages right on the 147 mark and was then taken to the 18th by John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead).
“I struggled through qualifying on day one but felt my game improving as things progressed today,” said Ward. He will face Ben Best who continued his fine form from qualifying with a solid 5&4 victory over Ally Purdy (Shandon Park).
Irish Close champion, Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) progressed with a one-hole win over Stephen Speirs (Brunston Castle) and will face Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) who beat Joe Timlin (Dungannon).
Matchplay round one results and fixtures
Ryan Symington (Lisburn) bt Ryan Long (Cairndhu) 2&1
Christopher Selfridge (Moyola Park) bt Jamie Richardson (Royal Portrush) 2&1
Graeme Arthur (Carrickfergus) bt Alex McCloy (Ballymena) 3&1
Aaron Kearney (Castlerock) lost to Michael Sinclair (Knock) 3&2
Colin Wilton (Castleblayney) bt Ian Kettyle (Rathmore) 6&4
Gary McDermott (Co. Sligo) lost to Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) 3&1
William Russell (Clandeboye) lost to Evan Farrell (Ardee) 3&1
Brian Casey (Headfort) bt Eugene Smith (Ardee) 5&4
Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) bt Conor McCaughey (Dungannon) 2&1
David Sutton (Lurgan) bt Gavin O’Connor (Malahide) 7&6
Gareth Bohill (Co. Louth) lost to Francis McGinn (Ballycastle) 19th
Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) bt Chris Carroll (Shandon Park) 5&4
Ben Best (Rathmore) bt Ally Purdy (Ballyclare) 5&4
Simon Ward (Co. Louth) bt John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) 2 holes
Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) bt Joseph Timlin (Dungannon) 5&4
Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) bt Stephen Speirs (Brunston Castle) 1 hole
Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan) v Andrew Dillon (Carrickfergus)
Paul Reavey (Warrenpoint) bt Stephen East (Moortown)
Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) lost to Stuart Grehan (Tullamore) 4&3
Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth) bt John Turner (Royal Portrush) 4&3
Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) v Daryl Callister (Mount Murray)
Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) v Ian Moore (Dunmurry)
Nicky Grant (Knock) v Stephen Walsh (Portmarnock)
Gary Collins (Rosslare) v Ciaran Lavery (Rossmore)
Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) v Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin)
Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) v Glenn Managh (Knock)
Richard Bridges (Stackstown) v Keith Egan (Carton House)
David Mulholland (Castlerock) v Matt McKnight (LPGA International)
Gary Hurley (West Waterford/NUIM) v Alan Stevens (Spa)
Philip Graham (Galgorm Castle) v Daniel Vaughan (Ardglass)
Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) v Shaun Carter (Stackstown)
Simon Miskelly (Knock) v Barry Anderson (Royal Dublin)