Rosapenna’s Frank Casey Junior captured the 2017 Ulster Mid-Amateur Championship held over the Sandy Hills Links by four shots from Eddie McCormack of Galway Bay last weekend.
The 54 hole stroke play event is open to the lowest 72 entrants aged 30 years or older.
Picture: Eamonn O’Connor, Chairman of the Ulster Branch GUI, presenting Frank Casey Jnr with the 2017 Ulster Mid-Amateur Championship Trophy with Rosapenna Captain Peadar Boyce (right).
The resort’s estimable Director of Golf used his knowledge of his home course to great effect on Saturday when he defied extremely tough conditions to open with a 79 (+7) to share second place with Roy Connolly, just two shots behind early pace-setter Kenneth Irwin from Castlebar who returned a remarkable 5 over Par 77.
Casey added an impressive 75 (+3) in the afternoon round to top the leaderboard by five-strokes on 10-over par 154 from Ballybunion’s Peter Sheehan (81-78) and Mid-Am Order of Merit leader Eddie McCormack from Galway Bay, who added a 73 to his opening 86.
McCormack, a former Irish International, still fancied his chance of making a charge on a course where he has triumphed in the McGinley Motors Senior Scratch Cup on two previous occasions (2014 & 2017).
Following wins in the Connacht and Leinster Mid-Amateur Championships earlier this year, he was keen to complete a remarkable hat-trick of Mid-Amateur victories.
Holding a commanding five-stroke lead heading into the third and final round on Sunday morning, Casey got off to a great start and was one under par for the round through 5 holes compared to McCormack’s slow start of three over par through the same stretch.
Over the next 9 holes (6-14) McCormack made a huge move playing those holes in two under par compared to Casey’s eight over par and took the lead for the first time in the Championship with just four holes to play.
Standing on the 15th tee now one behind Casey missed the fairway and had to pitch out of heavy rough, with 90 yards left to the flag he played a high soft sand wedge to 2 feet making a great par save.
McCormack also missed the 15th fairway and had to take a penalty drop from an unplayable lie, he then played his third shot to the back of the double tiered green from where he would three putt for a double bogey six.
On the Par 3 16th Casey played a great tee shot to 6 feet and just missed his birdie, McCormack charged his 20 foot birdie putt 7 feet past the cup and missed his par attempt.
Casey now had a two stroke advantage with two holes to play. Both McCormack & Casey found the Par 5 17th fairway and with the green in reach for both players it was McCormack to play first into a strong left to right breeze, his approach just missed the green pin high left.
Casey played a great shot from 190 yards which found the front left of the long, narrow elevated putting surface from where he would two putt from 35 feet for a birdie four as McCormack failed to get up and down and had to settle for a Par 5.
With the 18 hole playing into a strong gale both players missed the home green in regulation, McCormack pitched from just short of the green to 10 feet beyond the flag while Casey played a delightful bump and run from pin high right to 8 feet, McCormack missed his par putt while Casey holed for a closing par and a four shot victory.Tags: