Sport Golf

Sunday 20 January 2019

Cannon eyes career Grand Slam

Robbie Cannon is shooting for a win at the AIG Irish Amateur Close. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Robbie Cannon is shooting for a win at the AIG Irish Amateur Close. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Balbriggan's Robbie Cannon believes he has talent and the experience to win the AIG Irish Amateur Close and the third leg of a career Grand Slam at The European Club today.

The former South of Ireland and Irish Amateur Open champion (39) faces 2016 champion Alex Gleeson (24) from Castle in the semi-finals, with the winner to play Portmarnock's Conor Purcell or Killiney's Eoin Leonard, who saw off American Marc McCormack with a stunning birdie at the 19th.

"That's my career ambition - to win the Grand Slam," Cannon said, who holed a sand wedge from 105 yards for an eagle two at the first, then birdied the second, third, seventh and 10th to set up a 7&6 win over Rosslare's Gary Collins before beating Castleknock's Dylan Brophy 4&2 in the quarter-finals. "It's a huge ask."

A fan of the course since he played in the 2006 Irish Close there, he added: "I have always liked this golf course. It's a ball strikers course. I was looking forward to it and I was quietly confident of doing well."

Gleeson made an 18-foot birdie putt at the last to beat Hermitage's Rowan Lester by one hole before getting up and down for a winning par on the 18th in their quarter-final as Douglas's Peter O'Keeffe three-putted.

"I had a lot of chances to take control and Peter will feel the same," said Gleeson. "We both made mistakes and I was lucky at the end that the ball stayed up, but then I made a great up and down."

Purcell (21) reached the semi-finals of the British Amateur Championship earlier this summer but he had to go to the 20th to beat Mallow's James Sugrue in the third round before easing to a 4&2 win over Laytown and Bettystown's Eugene Smith.

He will face Yales star Leonard (21), who grew up in Ascot to Dalkey parents but knows The European Club well after spending summer holidays in Brittas Bay.

Leonard beat Dungarvan's Kevin Stack 6&5 before he came back from three down after eight to beat American Marc McCormack on the 19th after a great match.

After getting up and down from stones in the hazard at the 18th, he hit a 102-yard wedge almost stone dead to seal the win.

Irish Independent

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