Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell proved there’s life after 30 in the amateur game when he holed two clutch par putts on the 17th and 18th before capturing his second Flogas Irish Amateur Open title at the first extra hole.
Now a family man, the vastly experienced 2016 champion (35) had low expectations at The Island.
But after following rounds of 73 and 75 with a three-under 69 to go into the final round just a shot behind Castle’s Robert Moran on one-over-par, he found his putting touch to deny Malone international Matthew McClean with a bogey at the first extra hole.
“It’s a little bit different than 2016,” said Campbell, who made a 10-footer at the 17th and a 12-footer for another par at the 18th for a level-par 72 to McClean’s 70 to force sudden-death on one-over 289.
“Obviously, I was playing a full-time schedule back then, so my expectations were a little bit lower. But I knew I was playing well enough, and as I said last night, I wasn’t here to make up the numbers.”
Campbell found himself in front when overnight leader Moran double-bogeyed the third and shot 75 to finish third on three-over.
But McClean followed a bogey at the fourth with birdies at the fifth, sixth and ninth to tie for the lead with Campbell and Moran on one-over.
The Malone man then eagled the 10th and birdied the 13th to go three clear on two-under only to allow Campbell to draw level by running up a costly double-bogey seven after three putts at the 15th before dropping another shot at the 17th.
McClean made a great par at the last to shoot 70 and set the target at one-over before Campbell broke his heart with those clutch par saves and went on to win with a bogey on their return to the 18th for sudden-death.
The bearded Malone man had to take a penalty drop after carving his drive into heavy rough, then bunkered his third and failed with a 15 footer for bogey. “There might be a few pints in Warrenpoint tonight, but I have to go to work tomorrow morning and then play a Barton Shield match tomorrow night,” joked Campbell, whose two-putt bogey proved enough.
“But I’m delighted to get over the line, so there’s still a little bit of golf left in there yet. I am a happy man.”
On the DP World Tour, Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney closed with a disappointing two-over 73 to tie for 15th on six-under, seven shots behind England’s Sam Horsfield in the Soudal Open in Belgium.
Just three shots off the lead overnight, Kearney bogeyed the 10th, 11th and 15th before making his lone birdie of the day at the 17th.
Horsfield shot 68 to capture his third DP World Tour title by two strokes from Germany’s Yannick Paul (69) and New Zealander Ryan Fox (71) on 13-under-par.
One of 10 English players to apply for a release for the controversial LIV Golf Invitational next month, he was three shots behind overnight leader Fox after eight holes.
But he dug deep and came home in two-under to claim an emotional victory.
“This was a really special week for me, you know Issi, my girlfriend, was caddying for me, so it was a little different out there and we had a hell of a lot of fun,” Horsfield said.
“Unfortunately, Mick, my caddie couldn’t be here, you know I wish he was, and I was definitely thinking about him today. And this was for him.”