Friday 14 December 2018

Tears of joy after Byrne edges Coffey in Close call


Sara Byrne shows off the Irish Women’s Close Championship trophy. Photo: Pat Cashman
Sara Byrne shows off the Irish Women’s Close Championship trophy. Photo: Pat Cashman

William S Callahan

Sara Byrne was left in tears after edging a tight final with Louise Coffey 2&1 to claim the Irish Women's Close Championship at Enniscrone.

The Douglas teenager fell one hole behind after losing the third but hit back on hole five before taking the lead herself on six.

She maintained her lead at the halfway stage before taking a three-hole lead with six holes left to play. Malone's Coffey wasn't prepared to give up without a fight and won back-to-back holes on 13 and 14 to set up a tense finale.

Byrne stayed one hole ahead after Coffey cancelled out her birdie on 15 with one of her own on the following hole.

The rain started to fall heavily as the game moved onto the 17th, which Byrne managed to take with a par that sealed the championship.

"I just started crying. It still hasn't sunk in," admitted 17-year-old Byrne. "That feeling is never going to go away, it's just too good."

A definite highlight of her career, Byrne now heads back to Douglas where a celebration awaits. "This is definitely my number one achievement to date, on the final few holes I got a bit nervous but I told myself that I had worked too hard to give this one away.

"This brings my golf career up a step and any event now I play in I can tell myself that I can win because I am Irish champion!"

Earlier, Byrne saw off Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) 2&1 in the semi-finals, while Coffey beat Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington) by the same scoreline.

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