15th May 2017
Peter O’ KEEFFE yesterday won the Irish Amateur Open Championship. His scores of 70, 70, 73 and 73 for a +2 total were good enough to see off a strong field at the magnificent links of Royal County Down GC.
The 35 year old from Douglas graduated from Southeastern Louisiana with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science in 2008 before embarking on a career in professional golf. However, after five years toiling on the European Challenge Tour and six attempts at Q-School he gave it up, eventually returning to the amateur ranks in 2016.
The 6ft 5″ Irishman’s win was something of a surprise as despite his experience and undoubted quality it had been assumed that he was now more interested in embarking on a new career as Golf Fitness Instructor within the Dennehy’s Health and Fitness business based around Cork than mixing it with the young amateurs again.
Whilst it is clear O’Keeffe still has ambitions in the amateur game and will probably now be selected by Ireland for this year’s Home Internationals I believe it is highly unlikely he will be able to use this prestigious win to push himself in to GB&I Walker Cup contention. After all he has not entered either of the upcoming ‘majors’, the Brabazon Trophy or the St. Andrews Links Trophy. If he enters the Amateur Championship (entries close this coming Sunday) and does very well then perhaps he can prove me wrong.
Here is the Golf Union of Ireland’s report of O’Keeffe’s famous win with highlights of his final round: –
Scotland’s Chris MACLEAN and England’s Tom SLOMAN enjoyed their best ever finishes in major events, tied 2nd on +5. MacLean obviously likes tough courses. You may recall that back in March he was the only player to record an under par score (-1) as he achieved medalist honours at El Saler in the 36-hole Spanish International Amateur stroke play qualifier.
After finishing 13th last week at Lytham Josh HILLEARD (England) impressed again with a tied 4th result (+6) in the Irish Amateur Open. Perhaps the Somerset man can recapture his form of last year and make a late push for inclusion in the Walker Cup team ?
Scotland’s Liam JOHNSTON, another non-squad member, will perhaps be even more pleased with his tied 10th place (+8) in Northern Ireland. Having finished tied 15th at Lytham last week, and with the additional support of a great set of results in South Africa earlier in 2017, his Walker Cup hopes appear to be strengthening by the week.
Thankfully after the disappointments of Lytham most of the GB&I Walker Cup squad players performed reasonably well at Royal County Down. Connor SYME, Craig HOWIE and Alex GLEESON all recorded confidence boosting Top 10s.
Here are their scores and finishing places in detail : –
Connor SYME 74 – 71 – 73 – 73 (+ 7) T7
Craig HOWIE 73 – 71 – 72 – 75 (+ 7) T7
Alex GLEESON 72 – 69 – 78 – 73 (+ 8) T10
Conor O’ROURKE 72 – 72 – 78 – 71 (+ 9) T13
Robin DAWSON 71 – 75 – 71 – 77 (+10) T16
David BOOTE 73 – 72 – 74 – 76 (+11) T26
Scott GREGORY 75 – 75 – 73 – 72 (+11) T26
Colm CAMPBELL 79 – 73 – 71 – 73 (+12) T30
Craig ROSS 73 – 72 – 81 (+13) MC
Click here to view the full – Irish Amateur Open Results
There is no rest up in the elite amateur schedule. It’s now onto the Welsh Open Stroke Play and the French International Amateur this week before the Brabazon Trophy the following week.
Copyright © 2017, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.