Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Savage takes spoils as home contingent come up short

The unfinished south Dublin countryside resort that's become an symbol of the boom and bust times in Ireland
The unfinished south Dublin countryside resort that's become an symbol of the boom and bust times in Ireland

Brian Keogh at Royal Dublin

Ireland's hopefuls suffered a series of disasters as canny Scot Jamie Savage rifled a magnificent shot to the 18th to set up a two-stroke Irish Amateur Open victory.

The 19-year-old Glaswegian came to the 476-yard finishing hole in the penultimate group, tied for the lead with playing partner and Irish Close champion Cormac Sharvin on level par.

Faced with 203 yards over 'The Garden' and with a 25mph west wind whipping off the right, he hit a fantastic fade with a rescue to 10 feet and two-putted for a one-under 71 to set what proved to be an unbeatable target of level par 288 at a wet and windy Royal Dublin.

Under massive pressure after pulling his three-iron tee-shot into an awkward lie near the fairway traps, Sharvin took on what he described as a "one in 10 shot" from a hanging lie, but ended up pushing another three-iron out of bounds.

"The ball was below my feet," said the 21-year-old from Ardglass after taking six at the last. "I had to take it on, but it was a one in 10 shot and unfortunately I just came out of it."

A 73 left Sharvin in a four-way tie for the runner-up spot alongside Dutchman Robbie van West (71), the Isle of Man's Tom Gandy (70) and Carton House's Co Sligo import Gary McDermott on two-over, while the Island's Paul McBride shot a joint best of the week 68 to share sixth with Naas' Jack Hume (75) on three-over.


It was a hugely disappointing final day for 32-year-old McDermott, who led by two strokes from Hume overnight and by three from Sharvin and Savage. But after erasing an opening bogey with a birdie at the sixth, he four-putted the par-three seventh from 25 feet. Further bogeys at the 10th and 12th left McDermott needing to play the last three holes in one-under to force a play-off.

But after a superb tee-shot to the apron of the short par-four 16th, he left his 60-foot eagle putt 12 feet short and missed for birdie. A gutsy par save from 10 feet at the 17th left him needing a three at the last to tie, but he failed to ask where he stood, missed the green and failed to chip in.

"I actually didn't know what the story was coming down 18 at all," he said after making bogey. "I only found out when I was standing over my pitch that I had to hole it and I was a bit deflated, to say the least. It would have been nice to have known or had some scoreboards."

Savage didn't make the same mistake. "I asked a boy on the 14th where I was sitting and he said I was one ahead, so I just tried to keep calm," said the Scot.

Still seeking his maiden Championship win, McDermott sighed: "I was hoping today was going to be the day, but obviously it was not to be. You take the positives, you dust yourself off. I still have a few tournaments to go this year, the East and the Close. I'll take a win in any one of them."

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