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Hugh Foley crowned Irish No 1 as he chases Close prize and title hat-trick


Hugh Foley: Hoping to raise more silverware at Headfort.

Hugh Foley: Hoping to raise more silverware at Headfort.

Hugh Foley

Hugh Foley


Hugh Foley: Hoping to raise more silverware at Headfort.

Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley looks hell-bent on proving his non-selection for the Eisenhower Trophy was a mistake after he stormed home in five-under to beat clubmate Richard Knightly and reach the semi-finals of the AIG Irish Amateur Close at Headfort.

The Dubliner (25) became the first man since Darren Clarke in 1990 to win the North and South of Ireland titles in the same season and he can now match Clarke’s feat of 30 years ago by winning his second Close title.

He will take some beating after coming back from 3-down after 10 holes to beat fellow Royal Dublin man Max Kennedy 1-up in the quarter-finals to wrap up the domestic Bridgestone Order of Merit before repeating the trick by coming home in 31 to beat Knightly 1-up.

“That was important to me for a couple of personal reasons,” Foley (above) said of his Bridgestone win. “In my tournaments in Ireland I have been No 1 so that speaks for itself in terms of recent ongoings.”

While he has been taken to the 18th three times and the 19th once, he’s played sub-par golf in each match and had to birdie the 10th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th to beat Knightly, revealing a congratulatory message from Clarke after his North-South double came with a reminder to “keep working my ass off.”

He now faces Malone’s Matt McClean, who beat Roganstown teenager Seán Keeling (15) 2&1 before draining a 35-footer on the last to beat holder Peter O’Keeffe 1-up.

Castleknock’s Quentin Carew, a serving Garda in Tallaght, had 2&1 wins over Jake Foley and Sam Murphy to continue his fairytale run and set up a semi-final clash with Enniscorthy’s Paul Conroy, who had 4&2 wins over Ballyhaunis’ Andrew Hickey and Roscommon’s Simon Walker.

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