Laytown and Bettystown’s Alex Maguire and Douglas’ Peter O’Keeffe came close to making their golfing dreams come true in the Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes last week.
Reigning AIG Irish Close champion O’Keeffe (40) went to the event with low expectations following a poor start to the season and went all the way to the quarter-finals, where he fell to Beaconsfield’s John Gough on the 17th.
Fellow international Maguire (21), who added this month’s East of Ireland title to his wins in the North of Ireland and Connacht Stroke Play last season, defeated France’s Martin Couvra, Kilkenny’s Mark Power, Scotland’s Jamie Roberts and Australia’s Max Charles before falling 3&1 to eventual champion Aldrich Potgieter in the semi-finals.
While he missed out on the chance to win a spot in The Open and next year’s Masters and US Open, Maguire walked away believing he “can beat anybody.”
“One of the biggest things for me was to beat Mark Power yesterday,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet moment at this point. You get so close to the final, you really want to make it, and I know all the stuff that comes with it, but I was never thinking about that. Never got in my mind this week. I just didn’t have it today.”