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Leading qualifier McClean still on course for North of Ireland win

​​Silver medalist Matthew McClean from Malone plays Rosslare's Ian Lynch in the semi-finals at the North of Ireland; the winner will play either Kieran Babbage from England or Adam Mulhall from Ardglass in the final

  • 12 July 2018

Picture: Matthew McClean from Malone the leading qualifier at this year's North of Ireland | Cashman Photography

Matthew McClean from Malone finished as leading qualifier at this year's North of Ireland and he remains on course to end the week as champion.

McClean carded rounds of 67 and 68 to post eight under and finish one shot clear of Richard McCrudden from Royal Portrush in stroke play qualifying. His passage to the final four has been relatively comfortable, and he has not gone beyond the 16th since the second round.

In the semis he faces Ian Lynch from Rosslare, who took out Waterford's Eanna Griffin at the 19th in the quarter-finals. England's Kieran Babbage had just one hole to spare against Matthew McAlpin from Royal Portrush in his quarter-final and Babbage now plays Adam Mulhall from Ardglass in the final four.

Mulhall beat home player Tyrone Clarke, son of Darren, in the last eight.

As well as the prestige, the winner of the North will gain valuable points in the race for the Bridgestone Order of Merit. Following the North, there are just two remaining events in the Bridgestone series: South of Ireland at Lahinch (25-29 July) and the AIG Irish Close at The European Club (4-8 August).

BRIDGESTONE ORDER OF MERIT - TOP TEN
1 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 503
2 Alex Gleeson (Castle) 410
3 Robert Brazill (Naas) 345
4 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 278
5 James Sugrue (Mallow) 233
6 James Fox (Portmarnock) 205
7 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 198
8 Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) 180
9 Devin Morley (Oughterard) 170
10 Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo) 158

POINTS DISTRIBUTION AT THE NORTH OF IRELAND
Winner - 250
Runner-up - 160
Semi-Finalists - 115
Quarter-Finalists - 78
Round of last 16 - 58
Qualifiers - 30