Grant and Rafferty reach last 16 at West of Ireland

Elite golfers Aaron Grant and Caolan Rafferty proudly flew the flag for Dundalk Golf Club at the West of Ireland Golf Championship in Rosses Point over the Easter Weekend.

Both reached the last 16 of the first major amateur championship of the 2016 season and claimed some notable scalps along the way.

The Dundalk duo qualified for the Matchplay stage of the tournament after finishing among the top 25 of the 64 qualifiers. The qualifying round was reduced to 18 holes after high winds caused the second round on Easter Saturday to be abandoned so Grant’s 77 and Rafferty’s 79 from Friday saw them qualify comfortably inside the cut.

In Round 1 on Easter Sunday morning Grant beat Andrew Morris of Belvoir Park 2&1 while Rafferty defeated James Pierse of Portmarnock by 1 hole.

On Sunday afternoon in Round 2 Grant had a one hole victory over William Russell of Clandeboye while Rafferty came from two down after 11 holes to beat Portmarnock’s James Fox with a birdie on the 19th hole.

That left only Dundalk and host club Co Sligo with two representatives in the last 16 on Easter Monday morning. Rafferty faced Matthew Kane of Whitehead and, after losing the opening hole, was unable to get back on level terms. He was two down after 11 and eventually succumbed to a 3&2 defeat.

Grant faced Daniel Holland of The Castle and found himself two down after 11 holes. They were all square by the time they walked off the 14th green but after halving the 15th, Grant lost 16 and 17 to lose the match 2&1.

Rafferty’s conqueror Kane was beaten in the quarter-finals by the eventual winner Jonathan Yates of Nass who defeated Holland in the final.

Reaching the last 16 of the West represents a good start to the season for Rafferty and Grant and everybody at Dundalk wishes the boys well for the coming season.

One of the big targets for both players in the coming weeks will be the annual Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup, sponsored by Jeffers Sports Turf, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 24. Entries are now being accepted by the Pro Shop on 042-9321731.