Three local golfers in last four of North of Ireland championship

Dermot McElroy is one of three local players in the semi-finals of the North of Ireland open championship. Picture: Press Eye.
Dermot McElroy is one of three local players in the semi-finals of the North of Ireland open championship. Picture: Press Eye.

Could this be the year that the North of Ireland Open amateur golf championship trophy finally comes to Ballymena?

The tournament reaches its conclusion on Friday with three players from clubs in the Ballymena and Antrim areas in the last four of the prestigious competition after a hectic day of action in Portrush.

No player from Ballymena has ever won the trophy, often referred to as the ‘Holy Grail’ of Ulster amateur golf.

Dermot McElroy was runner-up in the 2010 final and the Ballymena Golf Club player has once again reached the semi-final stage.

He will face 2015 North of Ireland strokeplay champion Tiarnon McLarnon, from neighbouring Massereene Golf Club, at the last four stage, thereby guaranteeing at least one local player in the final.

That match tees off on the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush at 8.30am on Friday.

It could be an all local final if Galgorm Castle’s Jordan Hood can overcome Sean Flanagan (Sligo) in the other semi-final, which gets underway at 8.45am.

Hood, the former Irish Boys’ Amateur Close champion, has produced a superb week of performances on the north coast as he aims to land the biggest title of his career.