Tim Rice held off a couple of Challenge Tour regulars to win the Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro-Am.
The event, sponsored by Bishop’s Gate Hotel and Frylite and supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council, saw 41 teams (one professional and three amateurs) competing over 36-holes.
Rice began with a round of 66 (-3) at City of Derry Golf Club and followed up with a 67 (-2) at Strabane Golf Club to finish the tournament on five-under par and pip Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell by two shots.
The Limerick professional was in contention after two rounds of the recent Irish PGA Championship but struggled on the final day before eventually finishing tied fifth.
After a quiet start to his opening round at City of Derry, he sprung into life on the back nine, carding four birdies in his closing seven holes.
At Strabane, a double-bogey six at the par-four ninth threatened to derail his challenge but he fought back with three birdies on the back nine to post his five-under total.
“A nice couple of days. Both courses are very challenging. Strabane was tough, tight off the tee, small greens, fast and very challenging,” said the 42-year-old.
“A 67 was a good score around there. Both courses played long, it’s been so wet there was very little run on the ball.”
Another Challenge Tour regular, Ruaidhri McGee, and Glasson’s in-form Colm Moriarty finished in a tie for third on two-under par alongside Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Resort), Brian McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching) and David Higgins (Waterville Links)
Defending champion, Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) carded rounds of 69/69 to finish in eighth place on level par.
Higgins and amateur partners S McCay, B Corry and George McCay claimed the team prize on countback with 175pts (89/86)
1 T Rice (Limerick GC) 66 67 -5
2 J Caldwell (Clandeboye GC) 67 68 -3
T3 R McGee 66 70 -2
T3 D Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) 68 68 -2
T3 B McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching) 69 67 -2
T3 S Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) 68 68 -2
T3 C Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) 66 70 -2
8 M McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) 69 69 lvl