Hopeful Lenehan reaches last eight at Portrush

Ireland’s Geoff Lenehan. Photograph: Inpho/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Ireland’s Geoff Lenehan. Photograph: Inpho/Lorraine O’Sullivan


Last year Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan reached the semi-finals in the now titled Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Open Championship, at Royal Portrush, and the Munster interpro intends to go a bit further this time.

Wins yesterday over Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) and Garry Collins (Rosslare) leaves the Dubliner in this morning’s last eight and with the title vacant he has his sights set on the silverware.

“Garry [Collins] and I played together in the qualifying rounds and I had a very tight match with him today,” reflected Lenehan. “It was very competitive but when I got an eagle at nine to go one up it gave me great confidence ... I won 16 and 17 with birdies to close out.”

He continued: “I have been playing well this season. I was just one shot away from being in a play-off for the Irish Amateur title and I was a quarter-finalist in the Close. Maybe this will be my week.”

He now faces the dark horse of the championship, 20-year-old Galgorm Castle’s Michael Reid. The stocky youth revealed that he hasn’t had a golf lesson in five years, just does his own thing. It seems to be working too, as he was third in the North of Ireland Strokeplay Championship last year at his home club.

Yesterday, he caused an upset by snuffing out the challenge of short-priced Lisburn youth Matt McKnight, who is based at LPGA International College in the US, on the home green. McKnight was on the back of the green, about 25 feet away, in three with Reid, who hit his fourth approach, out of rough, to the same distance. McKnight three-stabbed and Reid rolled in his putt for victory.

Another mild surprise was the 6&5 margin by which Chris Selfridge defeated twice former North champion Michael Sinclair, last year’s runner-up.

This morning he clashes with Silver Medallist Brian Casey who has reached the last four with a defeat of friend Evan Farrell (Ardee) and a 4&3 win over Stephen Coulter.