An Irish Double at the English Open Am
LEEDS, ENGLAND (May 17, 2009)--Niall Kearney made it an Irish Sunday double when he won the Brabazon Trophy, supported by SkyCaddie, in the teeming rain at a soggy Moortown in Leeds.
A closing round of 70 for an aggregate of 208 saw the Irish international from Royal Dublin triumph by five shots from Kent champion Liam Burns who signed off with 73.
As soon as he signed his card and had added to his compatriot Shane Lowry triumph in the Irish Open, Kearney said: “It’s great. I heard about it when we were coming up the 14th. That news spurred me on to complete my victory.”
Reflecting on his own success, the 21 year old Dubliner added: “This win means a lot to me. It’s a relief because the weather wasn’t too kind all week but I played well. I’m on the Walker Cup squad and hopefully this will prove a stepping stone to getting on the team. It is a real confidence booster and kicks off my season.”
Kearney becomes the first Irishman since Ronan Rafferty at Hunstanton in 1980 to win the Brabazon Trophy but the latter had to share the title with Peter McEvoy on that occasion. There was no sharing it this time and he didn’t even need a dramatic playoff like his close pal.
On a day that turned decidedly nasty in mid-afternoon with heavy rain a plunging temperature after a fine and sunny morning, Kearney took the lead at lunchtime following a morning 68 then made an explosive start to his afternoon round.
On the 488-yard first he holed his bunker shot for an eagle-three which set him on his victory trail.
“The first hole has been kind to me all week,” he added. “I’ve played it in five under for the three rounds so that was a big factor.”
He added another eagle at the seventh in an outward 33 and did well to only drop two shots on the back nine as the heavens opened. He was the only player to beat par in all three rounds and the only one to finish in red figures. Some achievement in a week that was fraught with problems weatherwise.
Burns, who was one of Kearney’s playing partners, began two behind the Irishman but the two eagles meant he was unable to put any pressure on him. However a 73 ended a solid week for the Kent man.
In third place was 20 year old Welsh cap Joe Vickery, who had seven birdies in a closing 68 for 214, while England international Dale Whitnell climbed the leaderboard with a 69 to share fourth place with seven others on 216.
The battle for the Henriquez Salver for the best performance by a Great Britain and Ireland player aged under 20 proved a four-way tie between Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Nixon, Stiggy Hodgson and Ireland’s Alan Dunbar who all finished on 216, three over par.
ABOUT THE Brabazon Trophy
The English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play
Championship for the Brabazon Trophy is a 72-
hole stroke play championship open
to male amateur golfers of all nationalities.
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