Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Matt McClean pips Liam Nolan to Irish Amateur title with brilliant final round

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Matt McClean celebrates with the trophy after winning the Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship.

Malone’s Matt McClean battled back from four shots down to claim his first Irish title at the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship on a thrilling final day.

The 30-year-old shot a brilliant 69 to push ahead of Walker Cup team-mate Liam Nolan (Galway) down the home stretch at County Sligo Golf Club.

McClean’s steady round included just one bogey (on the 10th) and three birdies, with two on the difficult back nine, which ensured he finished on 11-under – two shots clear of Nolan.

For the ex-US Mid-Amateur champion, this was another huge boost to his season on the back of a historic European Nations win alongside his Irish team-mates in Sotogrande, Spain recently.

“It feels great. I’ve tried for many years to get an Irish Championship, there’s multiple times where I’ve not been on the winning end,” said McClean. “So it’s nice to hold on – that’s obviously what most players are judged by.”

He will now turn his focus to another tilt at the Brabazon Trophy in Hollinwell, an event which Nolan won last year. And for much of this week it looked like the Galway man would pick up another title after rounds of 66, 68 and 66 gave him a 13-under total heading in to the final round.

But that lead was whittled down on the front nine with Nolan dropping three shots in his first three holes, while McClean birdied the third.

Just like his inspired fightback from a double bogey in the third round, Nolan showed resolve and had two birdies before a bogey on nine.

It was all pars from there on until the 17th where Nolan bogeyed and following birdies on 12 and 15, McClean was in position to seal the win with a par on 18.

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