Baltinglass star, Joseph Byrne held his nerve to par the last and win the Irish Boys U16 Amateur Open at Donabate.
The talented youngster was the only man to manage parity or better for the 54-hole event, signing off with a hard-fought three-over par 74 for a level par total to pip English raider, Frank Kennedy and overnight co-leader, Thomas Higgins by a single stroke.
In a dramatic finish, Roscommon’s Higgins had drawn level with the leader after he brilliantly birdied the penultimate hole while Byrne bogeyed in a thrilling two-shot swing.
Playing the par-5 18th all square, Byrne’s par was enough as the 18th hole proved pivotal in deciding the fate of the title, with both Byrne’s rivals, Higgins and Kennedy crucially dropping shots at the last.
For Byrne, the win is confirmation of a star very much on the rise. A standout performer already this month after he picked up five of a possible six points when representing Ireland at the Boys Home Internationals, his victory will undoubtedly prove a steppingstone to more exciting things to come for the fledgling golfer.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Joshua Hill from Galgorm Castle was all class in firing his second 71 of the week to grab a tie for 4th at plus-five alongside Ballyneety’s Morgan O’Sullivan who returned a 73 to finish out a great week.
It was all about Byrne atop the board though. Since the competition began in 2006, many players who have gone on to be top class amateur and professional golfers have played in it, including current European Tour professionals Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan and Challenge Tour player Robin Dawson. Let’s hope Joseph Byrne is heading in the same direction.
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