COUNTY SLIGO, Ireland (April 16, 2017) - A new name will adorn the West of Ireland trophy after defending champion Jonathan Yates bowed out.
The first day of match play combat produced a series of shock results. Yates qualified second but was beaten in the first round when Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin) sealed a 2&1 victory. Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith was another surprise faller, losing at the 19th against Michael Ryan from New Ross.
Galbraith was not the only international left to lick his wounds. Castle's Alex Gleeson battled as far as the third extra hole but Sligo native Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) eventually prevailed. If Anderson impressed, Dundalk's Eoin Murphy was better still, handing out a 6&5 beating to Tiarnan McLarnon.
The big names continued to fall in round two. Leading qualifier Conor O'Rourke was stunned by Dun Laoighaire teenager Robert Abernethy. Having cruised through the first round, recording a 4&3 win against Eanna Griffin, O'Rourke was beaten 3&2 by 17-year-old Abernethy.
Colin Fairweather was the next major casualty, going down 2&1 against local star Gary McDermott. Now playing out of Carton House, McDermott remains a firm favourite around Rosses Point. So too Barry Anderson, who made his way into round three with a comprehensive 7&6 victory against Kilkenny's Luke Donnelly.
Former Irish Amateur Champion Robbie Cannon, who was beaten by Jack Hume in the 2014 West of Ireland final, remains in the hunt although McDermott now stands in his way. That clash promises to be the highlight of round three, which begins at 8am on Easter Monday with the meeting of Abernethy and Robert Brazill from Naas.
Barry Anderson faces Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle/MU) in another mouth-watering clash. Eoin Murphy, who had to come through Wednesday's pre-tournament qualifier, is still a live contender having secured his place in the third round.
-Editors Note: Article by Golf Union of Ireland