Wednesday 21 February 2018

In-form Alex Gleeson aims to emulate heroics of 'unreal' Paul Dunne

Alex Gleeson with the winning trophy at St Andrews
Alex Gleeson with the winning trophy at St Andrews
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

In his own words, it's been an "unbelievable week" for Alex Gleeson and when he eventually reflects on the past year, he'll almost certainly be using similar superlatives to sum it up.

Victory at the Boyd Quaich Memorial tournament at St Andrews last week was quickly followed by a call-up to the Ireland team for the upcoming Home Internationals.

The 21-year-old who plays out of Castle Golf Club in Rathfarnham has already made significant progress this year, winning the Irish Inter-Varsity Championship in February as well as a third-place finish at the East of Ireland Championship in June.

Having travelled to St Andrews to watch the weekend action at the Open, Gleeson marvelled at his amateur team-mate Paul Dunne who led the Major heading into the final day.

Gleeson will tee it up alongside Dunne at Royal Portrush in two weeks when Ireland bid to defend their Home International crown.

"I know Paul well. I would've played a good bit with him at amateur level," Gleeson said.

"He's having an unreal season and obviously what he did at the Open was out of this world.

"It's taken him a few years of really hard work to get to where he is now. What he did at the Open didn't happen by chance. It's from years of hard work. Hopefully I can do something similar over the next few years."

Gleeson himself is no stranger to playing international golf having represented Ireland at boys level but he accepts that the step up in quality will be huge.

"We have a lot of guys who are challenging for a Walker Cup spot and having that kind of experience in the team will be great I'm sure," he maintained.

"There's four rookies so we'll be picking their brains on what to expect because none of us will have played matches at this level.

"I'll probably have the same jitters that I had when I was 16 but I'm playing well so I'll be confident going into it," he added.

Gleeson's focus will now switch to the European amateur Championship in Slovakia before the Home Internationals and the Irish Close Championships which will be his final event of the year.

Last week's victory was the latest in an ever-growing list for the Dubliner but it was one that was made all the more special given that it was played at St Andrews so soon after the Open.

"To play St Andrews any time is special but to play there and win was unreal," Gleeson enthused.

"The grandstands were still up and we played the same pins as they had for the final day of the Open.

"The town was still buzzing so it was nice to get a feel for what it was like to play there in a Major. It definitely gave me a taste of wanting to play in the Open some day."

Irish Independent

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