McElroy storms to glory out West
Dermot McElroy says he has no immediate plans to turn professional despite yesterday's triumph at the Radisson West of Ireland Golf Championship in Rosses Point.
The Ballymena clubman defeated Waterford's Eanna Griffin 4&3 in the sixth and final round of matchplay to claim his first win at the tournament.
And with former 'West' winners Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Mikko Ilonen and Shane Lowry all in the field for the Masters this week, McElroy could be forgiven for dreaming of bigger days ahead. But his thoughts for the foreseeable future are a little more modest.
"The Lytham Trophy (at Royal Lytham and St Anne's Golf Club) starts the first of May. I really like the golf course, so I am looking forward to that next.
"It's a fantastic achievement to win. This is my seventh year here and the furthest I have got before was the third round.
"I am very pleased with how I played all week and with how I handled myself.
"And now I am just looking forward to a good season."
McElroy defeated Griffin on the 15th, by winning five holes out of six, having been two-down at one stage early on.
He was taken all the way to the 18th hole in his semi-final earlier in the day by local hopeful Sean Flanagan, before the 18-year-old was finally beaten.
Griffin overcame Stackstown's Richard Bridges 4&3 in his semi-final and admitted he was pleased with his performances.
"Dermot has been knocking on the door for a while and he turned it round on the back nine and played better than me and deserved the win, simple as that," he admitted.
"It is only my second year up here so I was delighted to get to the final. I put in a lot of hard work over the winter so I was happy to see that pay off.
"Hopefully it is a stepping stone for me for the rest of the season."
The par-three ninth proved the turning point, with McElroy salvaging a half before winning three-in-a-row.
He said: "Eanna had a good chance to go two-up and he missed it and then he bogeyed the 10th and I pared it. He bogeyed the next as well and I went one-up, and then I was able to birdie the par five and go two-up. So I was in the flow by that stage.
"We halved the par-three 13th, but after that I just turned it on with the wedges and two perfect yardages.
"147 yards downwind on 14 and I hit it to 15 feet and holed the putt for birdie to go three-up. And then 143 yards on the 15th and I hit it to six feet, and thankfully was able to finish it out for the win."