Thursday 29 September 2016

Dawson sets sights on his first 'major'

Brian Keogh

Published 16/08/2016 | 02:30

The 20-year old Maynooth University star holed a crucial birdie putt on the 18th at Nairn on Saturday. Stock photo: Getty Images
The 20-year old Maynooth University star holed a crucial birdie putt on the 18th at Nairn on Saturday. Stock photo: Getty Images

Tramore's Robin Dawson insists he has the form and confidence to end his long wait for a 'major' win in this week's AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Ballyliffin.

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The 20-year old Maynooth University star holed a crucial birdie putt on the 18th at Nairn on Saturday to help Ireland beat England and clinch a hat-trick of Home International victories.

One of just three players to tee it up in all three of Ireland's triumphs, he's experienced beyond his years and needs only a 'major' to be recognised as one of the outstanding young players over the past decade.

While he won the World Universities Championship earlier this year, he sees this week's test over Ballyliffin's pristine Glashedy Links in Donegal as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of a sweet moment of form and ease the pain of last year's 19th hole semi-final defeat to eventual runner-up Alex Gleeson of Castle.

"My game has come on a huge amount," Dawson said of his progression since he fell to Ireland team-mate Gleeson at his home club 12 months ago. "I feel I'm a different player.

"I started working with Noel Fox last October and that's gone really, really well and I've had some nice finishes this year. Hopefully I can close out with a win this week and go a couple of steps further than last year."

The first of two strokeplay qualifying rounds begins today with a field of 144 bidding for just 64 places in Thursday's first-round draw.

Dawson is one of just six available members of the winning Home Internationals team who have made the trip, alongside Gleeson, 2014 Irish Close winner John-Ross Galbraith, St Andrews Links Trophy winner Conor O'Rourke, Flogas Irish Amateur Open winner Campbell and defending champion Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene.

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