McLarnon carries local hopes in North of Ireland open final

Massereene Golf Club's Tiarnan McLarnon
 has reached the final of the North of Ireland Open championship for the first time. Picture: Press Eye.
Massereene Golf Club's Tiarnan McLarnon has reached the final of the North of Ireland Open championship for the first time. Picture: Press Eye.

The wait for a first ever Ballymena winner of the North of Ireland Open amateur golf championship will go on for at least another year.

The two local players in the semi-finals of the Cathedral Eye Clinic-sponsored tournament were both beaten in this morning’s matches.

Dermot McElroy (Ballymena Golf Club) lost by 3/2 to Tiarnan McLarnon, from neighbouring Massereene Golf Club, while Galgorm Castle’s Jordan Hood lost out to Sean Flanagan by a margin of 4/3.

McElroy never recovered from going two holes down early on and by the turn, the Antrim-based player was firmly in control at four holes up.

Dermot briefly rekindled his hopes by winning the 12th and 13th holes to reduce the deficit to two but when McLarnon won the 15th, there was no coming back for the Dunfane man.

McLarnon now goes on to face Flanagan in the final, which is due to tee off at 1.30pm, after comfortably overcoming former Irish Boys Close champion Hood.

The Galgorm player had moved into an early lead but Sligo-based Flanagan seized control and reached the 10th tee three holes ahead.

Jordan tried hard on the homeward nine but could only get the deficit down to two holes and Flanagan eventually eased to victory.

McLarnon is aiming to become the third Massereene Golf Club member to win the coveted title and the first since Trevor Coulter in 2004.