In what is always known as a great warm up for the West of Ireland, Richard Knightly will head to Rosses Point purring after he pipped Caolan Rafferty in a playoff to win the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup.
In testing conditions the Royal Dublin golfer birdied the third playoff hole after Rafferty had left his putt on the lip in what was a tense yet thrilling finish.
36 holes of stroke play gave way to a nail biting match play scenario after both players posted level-par.
On the 37th, Rafferty of Dundalk lipped out for birdie from distance before Knightly held a clutch eight-footer for a par and a gutsy up and down from over the back of the green.
The next was halved in par fours as both players headed back to the first tee.
Rafferty a former South and West of Ireland champion put the pressure on, driving just short while Knightly was almost pin high right. The 2019 Walker Cup player left his ten-foot birdie effort agonisingly short before Knightly drilled home from just inside that distance.
“Played lovely out there, it was a tough morning, battled and chipped and putted well, hit some nice shots. Had a nice start to the afternoon was three-under for my front nine and kept it going, ended up bogeying the last from a tricky spot.
“The playoff was great, Caolan I thought he was going to win, his first birdie putt was in all day and it was a slow lip out then we were both near the green back down the first and I hit a nice chip in and then he left his putt in the jaws and I had a six-footer and I crawled it in.
“Great to get the win, it’s a nice confidence builder going forward.”
Carton House’s Keith Egan held the morning lead after a first round of level-par 71 which was enough to see him edge one ahead of Annraoi Collins, David Shiel, Rian Carvill, Noel Crawford and Lorcan O’Connor.
Carvill was inches away from forcing his way into the playoff but his birdie effort on the last turned its nose up at the hole and he had to settle for third on plus one after a gallant second round of level-par.
Knightly trailed Egan by two shots on +2 entering the afternoon but he produced a superb second round effort of 69 while Rafferty showed his class with a 66 after shooting 76 in the morning.
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