County Sligo golfer Ruairí O’Connor and Lahinch’s Aideen Walsh were crowned Irish Mid-Amateur champions at Portsalon on Sunday afternoon.
O’Connor battled back from an opening 79 and rallied with rounds of 66 and a scintillating 65, on Sunday, to bring the title home to Sligo.
Meanwhile, Walsh continued her own personal battle with Emma O’Driscoll (Ballybunion) throughout the final round and her 71 was enough for a one-shot win.
In the Men’s Over-40 category David Joyce was victorious thanks to a final score of +5 while O’Connor (30) cherished a priceless win, and the biggest of his career to-date.
He applied the finishing touches with a brilliant putt from off the green on the 54th hole for a -6 final score.
“It means a huge amount. I have been playing for a long time now but yeah it’s great to finally get one,” said O’Connor.
“I hit it really well the first day just nothing really went my way. Then the really bad rain came in at the end, so a few triples and doubles coming in. Then just the putter got hot in the last two days and I never had a weekend like it.
“I have won a couple of Scratch Cups and a Senior Cup with the golf club but nothing like this, I’m absolutely delighted.”
Allan Kiernan’s (Forrest Little) second round 68 had him in a commanding overnight lead at -5 but that was whittled down early on Sunday morning.
At one stage there was a four-way tie for the lead on -1 but O’Connor gradually pulled clear and Frenchman, Martial Ducler (Seignosse) finished second, four shots behind, with Ben Best (Rathmore) in third.
Meanwhile, Walsh was two shots clear of O’Driscoll coming into Sunday, however, a birdie on eight drew the pair level at -3.
Birdies on 12 and 13 helped Walsh to wrestle back the initiative and despite a closing bogey the 25-year-old was crowned Women’s champion on -5.
“I have to drive home and go to school tomorrow so I won’t be enjoying it too much,” joked Walsh.
“A win is a win at the end of the day so I am delighted. I was disappointed with my season so it was nice to get another win. It’s nice to add my name to another trophy.
“That’s the plan to just keep on playing golf and see how many trophies I can win.”