Hugh Foley remains on course for a famous hat-trick at Headfort

Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley made two clutch putts to keep his hopes of equaling Darren Clarke’s 32-year record in the AIG Irish Amateur Close at Headfort alive.

larke won the Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland and Irish Close titles in 1990 and after going 12ft in the 18th before seeing Portmarnock’s Sean Flanagan in the 19th in the first round, Foley ( 25) made a nine-footer on the 18th in the afternoon to beat Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell to stay on course for a famous hat-trick.

“I was three at 13 and he punched a 20ft at 14, a 30ft at 15 and a sevenft at 17,” said a relieved Foley, who now faces Royal Dublin team-mate Max Kennedy for a spot. in this the quarter-finals of the afternoon. “After two difficult games, my energy level is good but my legs are tired.”

The day started with a shock defeat for top qualifier Alex Maguire of Laytown and Bettystown, who fell 2&1 to Garda Quentin Carew (31) of Tallaght-based Castleknock, who then beat Faithlegg’s Rory Milne to set up a clash of the Last 16 with Elm Park teenager Jake Foley (17).

“I’m delighted,” said Carew, a man from Kildare. “To get a few wins is the furthest I have in the fence.”

Malone’s Matt McClean will take on rising Roganstown star Sean Keeling (15) with the winner to play defending champion Peter O’Keeffe, a 3&2 winner against West of Ireland champion Alan Fahy, or Annraoi Collins of Laytown and Bettystown. If Foley beats Kennedy, he could face another clubman in Richard Knightly, who pulled off a magical back-and-forth at 18 to set up a clash with Joseph Byrne of Baltinglass.

Meanwhile, Open champion Cameron Smith has withdrawn from this week’s BMW Championship at Wilmington Country Club due to hip discomfort.

Smith, who is third in the FedEx Cup standings, is the leading contender for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award, having also won the Players Championship, and declined to comment on reports that he had accepted an offer. $100 million to join LIV Golf.

He was in contention for the FedEx St Jude Championship but was penalized two strokes overnight for poor ball placement in his third round.

The penalty boosted him from two to four shots on the lead and he finished tied for 13th behind winner Will Zalatoris, who now tops the FedEx Cup standings with Rory McIlroy ninth, Séamus Power 37th and Shane Lowry 38th with the top 30 qualified for next week’s Tour. Championship.

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