Whitehead's John-Ross Galbraith is aiming to maintain his 100 percent record in the AIG Irish Amateur Close by winning it for the second time at Ballyliffin.
The 22-year old international recovered from a double bogey on the second at the testing Glashedy Links, firing six birdies and dropping just one more shot as he added a 69 to his opening 71 to lead the qualifiers for the matchplay stages on four under par and claim the coveted silver medal.
He finished a stroke ahead of Tramore's Robin Dawson (70-71)with overnight leader Thomas Mulligan (69-73) from County Louth the only other player to finish the 36-hole strokeplay qualifying in the red on two under par.
“I’ve only played the Close once and won it once!” said Galbraith, who triumphed at Seapoint in 2014.
“I’m just being a wee bit more professional about things, playing in a few pro events has taught me a lesson, how the boys go about their business.
“I’ve really tried to implement that in my game, more practice, doing everything a bit more in control, I’m just trying to get a bit more professional about my golf.
“You have to do that if you want to get somewhere in this game. I’m going to stay amateur next year and try to push for Walker Cup.”
The cut fell at 12 over par 156 and exactly 64 players on that mark or better, avoiding the need for playoffs after the countback condition was abandoned in terms of sudden-death for this year’s West and Close championships.
Following slow play difficulties in the first round, the GUI implemented a “Ready Golf” policy for the first time yesterday.
Round times were reduced by up to 45 minutes on round one, averaging around four hours and 15 minutes, which was 12 minutes quicker that the “time par” set out by the championship director.
“Ready golf” is a commonly used term which indicates that players should play when they are ready to do so, rather than adhering strictly to the “farthest from the hole plays first” stipulation in the recognised Rules of Golf.