Sunday, May 19, 2024

McClean lands first Irish crown in County Sligo – News – Irish Golf Desk

Must read

Malone golfer Matt McClean battled back from four shots down to claim his first Irish title with 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 teammate Liam Nolan (Galway) down the home stretch at County Sligo Golf Club.

McClean’s steady round included just one bogey on ten and with three birdies, with two on the difficult back nine, it ensured he finished on -11 two shots clear of Nolan.

For the former US Mid-Amateur champion, who had his father Noel and girlfriend Kate there for support, this is another huge boost to his season on the back of an historic European Nations victory alongside his Irish teammates in Sotogrande 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 there. That’s obviously what most players are judged by. Whatever you do, how many seconds and thirds at the end of the day, it’s the win.”

The World Amateur Golf Ranking No 80, will now turn his attentions 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 major title after rounds of 66, 68 and 66 gave him a -13 total after moving day.

But that lead was whittled down in 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 Round 3, Nolan showed resolve and had two subsequent birdies before a bogey on nine.

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

Further back, it was hometown golfer TJ Ford who mounted the most meaningful challenge but even a scintillating 65 was only enough to help him into third place on -6. Tom Matthews (Oswestry) and Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) completed the top five.

But for McClean this is an important personal victory and career milestone with more big targets on the horizon.

“I was a bit behind going in today, it somewhat worked in my favour, just in terms of I could have a go at it out there and feel free to have a go at a few putts,” said McClean.

“I played nicely and Liam got off to a bad start but fought back really well. Other than the last couple holes there, he just got a bit unlucky with a couple of fliers.

“The front nine was playing a bit harder with the wind direction today. A hot start, even a couple under through nine was a very good nine.

“I just had to try my best and shoot as low a round as I can, and thankfully hung in there at the end and hit a couple of nice shots down the stretch.

“The back nine there this afternoon will probably be the biggest benefit. I’ve been playing well since I got back from a bit of a time off in golf over the winter, I’ve been swinging it quite nicely.

“Down the stretch under pressure, it’s obviously more difficult. So it’ll be something that I can take forward into the rest of the year and hopefully try to win again.

“But I’ll enjoy this one and enjoy tonight.”

Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open, County Sligo GC (Par 71)

Detailed scores

273 Matthew McClean (Malone) 66 68 70 69;

275 Liam Nolan (Galway) 66 68 66 75;

278 TJ Ford (County Sligo) 68 71 74 65;

279 Tom Matthews (Wal) 71 68 70 70;

280 Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) 70 73 71 66;

281 Matthew Wilson (Sco) 73 67 71 70, Joe O’Neill (Berehaven) 67 69 74 71, Gavin Tiernan (County Louth) 65 72 70 74;

284 Cian O’Connor (Roscommon) 73 72 72 67, Jack McDonnell (Royal Dublin) 69 75 72 68, Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 73 71 72 68, Gregor Graham (Sco) 69 75 71 69,  Fionn Dobbin (Malone) 71 72 71 70,  Gregor Tait (Sco) 69 71 72 72, Sean Keeling (Roganstown) 70 73 68 73,  Daniel Bennett (RSA) 74 69 68 73;

286 David Howard (Fota Island) 70 71 74 71,  Keith Egan (Carton House) 69 71 71 75, David Tomi (Cze) 69 72 70 75;

287 Luke Kelly (Dunfanaghy) 70 70 77 70;

288 Jamie Butler (Naas) 71 72 76 69, Sam Mukherjee (Sco) 70 74 73 71, Darragh Flynn (Carton House) 74 72 71 71;

289 Jake Whelan (Grange) 69 75 72 73, Colm Hughes (Castle Golf Club) 72 72 72 73;

290 Graham Donohoe (Enniscorthy) 70 76 74 70, Dwayne Mallon (Dungannon) 74 74 72 70, Ryan Griffin (Ballybofey) 71 74 74 71,  David Reddan (Nenagh) 73 72 72 73, Michael Roche (Eng) 73 70 72 75,  Adam Smith (Mullingar) 70 73 72 75;

291 James Fox (Portmarnock) 74 71 75 71, Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 75 71 74 71,  Andrew Mulholland (Castlerock) 75 71 74 71;

292 Morgan Cain (Cork) 71 75 75 71, Paul Coughlan (Castleknock) 73 75 73 71,  Robert Galligan (Elm Park) 76 71 73 72, David Kitt (Athenry) 70 73 76 73,  Max Weaver (Wal) 70 70 78 74,  James Temple (Portmarnock) 74 72 72 74,  Sean Cooper (Enniscorthy) 73 72 73 74, Frederik Dortmans (Eng) 71 70 73 78;

293 Jack Hearn (Tramore) 72 73 76 72,  Harry Gillivan (Portmarnock) 72 73 75 73,  Oscar Murphy (Royal Portrush) 73 74 72 74, Thomas Abom (Edmondstown) 73 75 71 74, Shane McDermott (Slieve Russell) 72 68 75 78;

294 Dominic McGlinchey (The Renaissance ClubSco) 73 73 75 73

295 Ryan Williams (Wal) 74 72 74 75;

296 Sean Reddy (Douglas) 73 75 73 75,  Cian Harkin (Letterkenny) 75 73 69 79;

299 Jonathan Keane (Lahinch) 75 69 77 78.

Latest article