Sunday 19 November 2017

Galbraith on cloud nine after Irish Amateur Close glory

2014 Irish Close finalist Pat Murray, Limerick. Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
2014 Irish Close finalist Pat Murray, Limerick. Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Brian Keogh

Whitehead's John-Ross Galbraith upset the odds as he put Pat Murray to the sword with a one-hole win in the Irish Amateur Close Championship final at a sunkissed Seapoint.

The former Boys international (20) holed a string of clutch putts coming down the stretch to take advantage of a few unforced errors by the Limerick GC veteran (42) and claim what is arguably the most prestigious championship in Irish golf.

"I can't believe it. It will take a while for this to sink in. I just delighted to win," said Galbraith, who was up to 50/1 to take the title.

A host of top internationals skipped the event to play in the clashing St Andrews Links Trophy and Murray was the clear favourite in the final after ousting recently crowned East of Ireland winner Colm Campbell 2 and 1 with a superb display.


"I just ran out of steam," sighed the Warrenpoint man, who had two shanks in the first six holes to go three down and leave his dream of a rare double hanging by a thread.

He hit back with three birdies to level the match by the 11th, but while Murray was clinical down the stretch in winning the 15th and 17th to close out Campbell, he faltered on the last four against Galbraith in the decider.

Galbraith proved too strong for Stackstown's Richard Bridges in the semi-finals, setting up a two-hole win by ramming home a 12-foot birdie at the par-three 17th.

In an enthralling final, Galbraith turned one up and then won the 10th with a birdie from two feet to double his lead, before holing a clutch 12-footer for par at the 11th to retain his cushion. Murray fought back, winning the 12th in birdie and the 13th in par to square the match. But after missing a 12-footer for a winning birdie at the 14th, the Tipperary native opened the door with poor pitches leading to bogeys at the 15th and 16th.

Galbraith barged through to win both holes in par and while Murray bravely birdied the par-three 17th from 12 feet to take the match to the last, his 12-foot birdie putt to force extra holes slipped by the edge.

Irish Independent

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