Alex Maguire admitted he felt proud of himself for making it to the semi-final of the 127th Amateur Championship but said it feels bittersweet after he bowed out after a 3&1 defeat to South Africa’s Aldrich Potgieter at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The Laytown & Bettystown golfer came through the quarter-final 2&1 against Max Charles of Australia but unfortunately came up just short against his 17-year-old opponent in the last four.
“Yeah, it’s a bittersweet moment at this point. You get so close to the final, you really want to make it and I know all the stuff that comes with it but I was never thinking about that. Never got in my mind this week. I just didn’t have it today. I drove it quite poorly. Putter went cold.
“But yeah, you look, you take last week and you say, right, you’re in the semifinal at the British Am, I would have bit your hand off. It’s been a fantastic week. It’s one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life to be honest. Getting so close, but it was just a wonderful week,” he added.
The Meath man found himself under the cosh early on after he fell 3 down through six holes but despite narrowing the deficit to the minimum twice on the back nine, Potgieter was always able to keep him at arms length.
It has been a remarkable run to the semi-finals for Maguire who has had a sensational month picking up the East of Ireland Championship last week. The Mornington native entered the week 449th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and he took a few scalps on his journey to the semi-final.
“That you can beat anybody. One of the biggest things for me was to beat Mark power yesterday, everybody sort of knows how good he is and to take him down gave me a lot of confidence. I felt like, no disrespect to the rest of the lads, but I always felt like I could beat anybody and any match would be easy. Obviously they are not easy. Just a lot of confidence that I can do it on the big stage when it matters, even though I fell short, I’m not going to go home deterred.”
The 21-year-old who attends Florida Atlantic University came from ten shots back at the halfway stage to win in Baltray last week with the Alex Maguire ultras bursting into wild celebrations when he rolled in that famous eagle putt for a final round 65 and the win and he was delighted to have a lot of support in Lytham this week.
“Yeah, the support, takes you back a little bit. I know my friend, Jack, came over to caddie for me today. He got a half six flight. If that doesn’t show you what support is, no one knows what it is. A lot of support from home. My dad’s mates came out today to follow. It’s massive. It’s really special to have a really good support group behind me that if things don’t go too well, I can go home, have a few pints with them. They will console me. The support this week and the last couple years have been incredible.”