Carton House’s Paul O’Hanlon grabbed the early lead on Sunday and never looked back, posting a bogey-free final round three-under 69 to seal a four-shot win at the Irish Men’s Mid-Amateur Open Championship in Thurles GC.
As overnight leaders Paul Flynn [Tramore] and Joe Lyons [Galway] dropped shots to the turn, O’Hanlon did the opposite, pouring on the pressure with three birdies in an outward half of 33 to take control at five-under.
“I hit it really good for the first nine holes, felt really comfortable,” said O’Hanlon, who parred his closing nine holes to close out his second Mid-Am win of the season having also claimed the Leinster title.
“The back-nine it got a little tighter but I made good decisions so even if I did hit a bad shot, I didn’t short side myself. I was just always trying to hit it to the middle of the green and rely on my putter.”
Greens in regulation might’ve been the order of the back-nine for the runaway leader but O’Hanlon admits he had no idea where he stood until the 18th tee box.
“I actually didn’t know – I asked Geoff [Lenehan – playing partner] where I stood on 18 and he said I was four-up,” O’Hanlon revealed.
“I kind of knew when people started wandering out that I was going well but I said there was no real point at looking at anything until I need to know something. That was my attitude right up to 18 and I said if I need to birdie, or eagle, or wing one right, then I’d know what to do!”
In the end, he hooked it left, dangerously towards OB: “Typical,” O’Hanlon laughed. “I got away with it!”
And having recovered from the trees to find another green in reg on the closing par-5, it was two-putts for the win for the former East and Close champion, though this victory was made all the sweeter with supportive wife Síofra and nine-month old Emily waiting to congratulate dad on his win.
So how does O’Hanlon, who also shot 68, 64 at last month’s Captain’s Prize at Carton House maintain such a standard with a new-born back home?
“It’s efficiency, isn’t it. You’ve just got to practice when you can but I’ve a great wife who’s very understanding and gives me plenty of time, thankfully, so that helps, too,” he smiled.
“It’s been a great year. I won the Leinster Mid-Am as well – I’ve only ever played in two Mid-Am’s but my golf has been good. I have good control of the ball and it got the job done today.”
As for the race for the places, Edenderry’s Quentin Carew came through the field with a superb final round three-under 69 to snatch outright second at one-under par.
Gavin O’Connor [Malahide], Gary O’Flaherty [Cork], Adrian Hiney [Moate], Andrew McCormack [Castletroy] and Sean Ryan [Royal Dublin] all squeezed onto the podium in a tie for third at level.