Final-round hiccup sees Headfort star denied victory
Brian Casey had to be content with the runners-up spot in the English Open Stroke-Play Championship for the Brabazon Trophy at Formby after a final-round hiccup.
The Headfort youngster went into the last round level with Jordan Smith from Wiltshire but the West Country player got off to a flier with three birdies in the first five holes and then a poor homeward half saw the end of the Irishman's hopes.
The 15th was really the undoing of Casey as he got into serious trouble in the rough and slumped to a double-bogey six.
Smith kept his nerve and finished with a steady 70 to Casey's 74 to triumph by four strokes just a week after he was omitted from the English side for next week's European Team Championships.
Casey went through the front nine with two birdies and two bogeys. A bogey on the 12th was retrieved with a birdie on the 13th, but then disaster struck.
A poor final-round 77, including a double-bogey on the par-four seventh, saw Ballymena's Dermot McElroy plummet to a share of 24th spot with a gross 299. That was in stark contrast to Gary Hurley of West Waterford, who leapt up alongside McElroy with an impressive 71 including birdies on the final two holes.
Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge finished a shot behind those two as a 72 gave him a gross 300. Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan was a stroke back on 301 after a 76.
Finally, Belvoir Park golfer Harry Diamond completed his difficult weekend with a 75 to leave him with a gross 309.