Tom Cafferky (Ballinasloe) and Beth Coulter (Kirkistown) are the 2022 Irish Boys’ and Girls’ Amateur Close Champions.
After 36 holes of Stroke Play and 4 rounds of Match Play, 2 Championship and 2 Plate winners were crowned at Kilkeel Golf Club.
Having beaten Matthew Lynch (Greenore) in this morning’s semi-final, Cafferky was up against Charlie Kelly (Athlone) in the final and went ahead early in the match. Kelly initiated the beginning of a comeback with a birdie on the 14th but a 3-putt bogey on the 15th meant he was 3 down with 3 to play and Cafferky duly finished the match on the next green.
‘I knew what I was doing,’ said Cafferky. ‘I just hit fairways and greens and tried to make pars because, Charlie is good and will make a few birdies, but you’ll win holes with pars as well.’
Cafferky took up the game just 4 years ago and is completely self-taught.
‘I don’t really have a coach,’ he said. ‘I just do it myself and plug away at it. If I’m not playing well then, I just go to the range and figure it out.
‘It’s a bit ridiculous to be honest to think I’m Irish Boys’ Champion, even making the top 16 would have been an achievement, I didn’t think I was good enough to get this far.’
Meanwhile, Beth Coulter makes history as the first person in the 62-year history of the event to hold both the Irish Women’s and Girls’ Close Championships in the same year and is the first to win three in-a-row in the Girls’.
Her final against Katie Poots (Knock) couldn’t have been closer, with the tie needing 2 sudden death holes and an eagle from Coulter to decide a Champion.
‘I suppose last year when I won it in Tramore, Dad looked at the trophy and said that nobody had ever won it three times in-a- row,’ explained the 18-year-old. ‘So that was a big goal at the start of this year to come back and to win it.’
Coulter will travel to the European Women’s Team Championships in Wales with Ireland tomorrow and, in her final year under 18, feels like the elder player with everything to lose.
‘It’s just about taking one match at a time. You can’t underestimate anyone. They’re going out with no fear and all the pressures on me. It’s just about getting up and staying up and I was delighted to get through in the end.’
Roisin Scanlon (Woburn) was the winner of the Irish Girls’ Amateur Close Plate while Donnacha Cleary (Tipperary) won the Boys’ Plate. Ellen O’Shaugnessy (Co. Louth) and Calum Duane (Naas) were runners-up.