Sport Golf

Sunday 26 January 2020

Top gun Sugrue dodges bullet down South

James Sugrue. Photo: Brian Arthur Photo
James Sugrue. Photo: Brian Arthur Photo

Brian Keogh

Defending champion James Sugrue had to dig deep to win at the 22nd and battle his way into the last 16 of the South of Ireland Amateur Open at Lahinch.

The Mallow star (22) beat Royal Portrush's Jack Madden 3 and 1 in round one, but he knew he was in trouble when he was under-par and two down with three to play against Knock's Ross Latimer after lunch.

Refusing to give up, he won the 16th in par and the 18th with a birdie to force extra holes, then dodged a bullet at the 19th, racing his third from the back of the green more than 20 feet past the hole before making the return.

After halving the 20th in birdie, he watched Latimer salvage a half from eight feet at the 21st before chipping to three feet to set up a winning birdie four at the Klondyke during a heavy downpour.

"I didn't think I'd get that far to be honest," said a relieved Sugrue.

"When I was two down with three to play I thought I was in trouble because I was two or three-under but he was holing putt after putt.

"I felt I was playing too solidly and would have been disappointed to lose. But I eventually hit a few good shots and closed it out."

Set to face Forrest Little's Jack McDonnell in the last 16 today, he added: "The furthest I went in any match last year was the 18th in the first round, so it's a relief, absolutely.

"I'll try now to make sure I just take it one shot at a time and not get ahead of myself because if you start looking ahead, that's when you get in trouble."

Sugrue is joined in the third round by Douglas's Peter O'Keeffe, Kilkenny's Mark Power, 2016 runner-up Rowan Lester and Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty.

But there was no luck for Castle's Alex Gleeson as he fell 4 and 3 to Carton House's Keith Egan or his international team-mate Jonathan Yates from Naas, who lost on the 18th after Dún Laoghaire's Alan Fahy rallied with three closing birdies.

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Irish trio Robin Dawson, John Murphy and Conor Purcell yesterday as Great Britain and Ireland surrendered the St Andrews Trophy after defeat by the Continent of Europe at Linna Golf in Finland.

The final 15.5-9.5 scoreline was the biggest margin of defeat for GB&I in the biennial match.

Elsewhere, Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson will both be targeting a strong finish to the European Ladies' Amateur Championship at Penati in Slovakia today.

Royal County Down Ladies star Mehaffey was four-under and tied for 10th after three rounds, with Lurgan's Wilson on three-under.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport