Alex Maguire is through to the semi-finals of the 127th Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes after a 2&1 win over Australia’s Max Charles.
The Laytown & Bettystown golfer is the last Irishman standing after Peter O’Keeffe lost out to John Gough.
Maguire turned with a one hole advantage before Charles levelled affairs after he was forced to take an unplayable on the 12th after his approach shot hit a spectator and disappeared into a gorse bush at the back of the green.
A bogey on 14 saw the Meath man fall one down before a par on 15 and a long birdie putt on 16 saw him turn the tie on its head and two putts was enough to advance to the last-4 this afternoon.
Not bad for someone who nearly withdrew yesterday with a neck injury.
“The neck injury was against Mark (Power) yesterday and I was very close to calling it quits and shaking his hand and lets walk in. I didn’t know how I was going to keep going but my mother works in a pharmacy so she gave me the right pills to keep going and a little bit of perserverance. I didn’t think yesterday morning I would be here.”
The Mornington native is in sensational form having won the East of Ireland Championship in Baltray last week, the same Sunday that his favourite golfer Rory McIlroy picked up the RBC Canadian Open and with Rory in the mix at the US Open, the 21-year-old is hoping he can rub shoulders with his idol at next month’s Open Championship if he can claim the Amateur title this weekend.
“I’d love to see an Irish double. People always slag me whenever he does well I do well, I don’t know it’s a coincidence but I would love to get my hands on the trophy but a long way to go.
“It’s not fun out there. It’s very nerve-wracking I am just delighted to get through to the afternoon. Max played great we didn’t have our best stuff today but we matched each other on most holes I think. Just delighted to get through.”
In the second quarter-final Peter O’Keeffe held a sizeable amount of footage on the back nine to keep in touch with Gough but the Englishman whose father hails from Co. Meath proved too strong in the end.
O’Keeffe was 2Up through six before Gough who has now lost just once in his last 24 matches, came roaring back to win four holes on the bounce and that proved the difference.
The Douglas golfer rallied with an eagle on the par-5 11th to halve the deficit but as his long game deserted him his putting kept his hopes alive.
A superb up and down from the back bunker on the par-3 12th secured the 40-year-old a half before he held a forty foot putt on the 13th for a par after taking an unplayable.
Gough birdied the 16th to go 2UP with two to play but Irish Close champion O’Keeffe wasn’t going away without a fight and he held another long putt on 17 and it looked like this thrilling match was going down the 18th.
However former English Amateur champion Gough responded with a 15-footer of his own to half the hole and win the match.
“His putting was flawless I knew every putt he looked at had a chance of going in. I think he only had like two putts,” acknowledged Gough about O’Keeffe’s putting.
Maguire’s semi-final tie with South Africa’s Aldrich Potgieter is live on Youtube. Go and support him!
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