Sean McLoughlin: “That’s probably my lowest score ever here”

Mark McGowan

Sean McLoughlin (Image:

Mark McGowan

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Local man Seán McLoughlin shot the lights out to win the West of Ireland Qualifier at Co. Sligo Golf Club this morning. McLaughlin, an 18-year-old from the adjacent Rosses Point village fired a six-under 65 to finish three clear of Holywood’s Scott Montgomery in second place.

The early starters had to deal with rain for the opening six or seven holes, but as the sky brightened the wind remained down and the course was there for the taking and McLoughlin did exactly that.

Amazingly, this was McLoughlin’s first competitive round of the year, with the Leaving Cert student focusing hard on his studies.

“I’m very happy with that,” a beaming McLoughlin said afterwards, “a good day’s work but it was a perfect day for it though. The first few holes were tough with the weather, but the course is in great condition and in benign weather like that, you have to take advantage.

“A lot of good rounds start with a bogey, so that’s what I said to myself and I got a couple of shots back and from then on, I just tried to play steady golf – hit fairways and greens and thankfully I was able to sink a few putts.”

Despite his youth, this will be his third time playing the West of Ireland Championship, qualifying both of the previous two years and though he spoke of potential rust, there were little signs of it today. “This is a good round to get in to get rid of some rust,” he said, “it’s the first competitive round of the year. I just finished my orals there yesterday, so I haven’t been playing too much golf in the build-up to this,” before adding with a smile, “maybe that’s a good thing.”

McLoughlin was tied 2nd after the opening round at the Irish Amateur Open last year, and though he faded over the additional three days, it was a clear signal that he was able to mix it with the game’s top amateurs.

And athletic prowess runs in the family; his mother Patricia (nee Naughton) was a 100m hurdles national champion and record holder and his sister Meadbh is a member of Irish under-16 hockey panel, and he’s clearly a man for the big occasion himself.

“That’s probably my lowest score ever here,” he added, “I shot two-under in the qualifier last year but that’s beaten that by a few today so it was a great time to do it.”

The hometown hero of the hour was quick to praise the greenkeeping staff for the condition of the course, despite the challenges faced with poor weather in recent weeks.

“It’s in brilliant condition,” he said, “I did play a few holes last week and the greens weren’t half as good as they are today, but the greenkeepers did an incredible job getting the course up to the standard that we saw out there today.”

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