British Amateur: Irish Champion helps Walker Cup Odds
04 Jun 2005
see also: British Amateur Championship, Royal St George's Golf Club


Brian McElhinney, the 22-year-old from Co Donegal who won the Irish Match Play last year, added the prestigious Amateur Championship title to his list of successes with a 5 and 4 victory over Scotland's John Gallagher in the 36-hole final at Royal Birkdale. "That won't do my chances of getting in the Walker Cup team any harm," he said at the finish.

McElhinney was four holes up after the morning round and went further ahead when Gallagher had to take a penalty drop from a bush to the left of the ninth. Gallagher immediately hit back, taking the 10th after the Irishman found a greenside bunker.

But the recovery was not to last and the Scot double-bogeyed the 408-yard 11th. Holes were then halved until the match ended on the green at the short 14th.

"When you're four up then the result is in your own hands," said McElhinney, "but anything can happen in match play. I'm used to playing in the wind and that favoured me today. I've really not played very well this year, but that was a lot better."

Gallagher, the Lothians champion who plays with his left hand below the right, said: "It's a hell of a hard game when you're down all the time and although I'm disappointed I'm also delighted with how far I got. I putted well all week, but lost the pace of the greens today. It's a long week when you play 10 rounds and I just ran out of steam."

But reaching the final of the Amateur Championship may well help him achieve a lifetime ambition. "I've always dreamed of playing for Scotland," said the 24-year-old greenkeeper who has taken a year out to play full-time golf.

Highlights from the Amateur will be featured within BBC Television's Sunday Grandstand programme at 2.0pm tommorow - Sunday, June 5.

For a link to more tournament information, including complete match and stroke play results, plus previous stories, click the tournament link above (amateurgolf.com membership required)

ABOUT THE British Amateur

The first stage of the Championship involves 288 players each of whom plays two rounds of 18 holes, one to be played on each of the two courses. The 64 lowest scores over the 36 holes and ties for 64th place will compete in the match play stage of the Championship. Each match will consist of one round of 18 holes except the Final which will be over 36 holes.

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