Moran hoping disappointing season can bare silverware at the Close

Ronan MacNamara

Robert Moran (Photo by Luke Walker/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

For much of the afternoon it looked like Castle Golf Club star Robert Moran was going to be out in front at the AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close Championship after he posted a superb round of 68 in some nasty morning conditions at Malone Golf Club.

The 24-year-old held the clubhouse lead on two-under and was the only player to break par in the morning wave as he opened up an early two-shot advantage. He was soon caught by Belvoir Park’s Simon Ward before Carton House star Keith Egan soared to the summit with a late birdie barrage for a round of 66.

Moran carded five birdies and three bogeys as he teed off in the marquee group alongside Brabazon Trophy and South American Amateur champion Liam Nolan and defending Irish Close champion Quentin Carew both of whom carded level-par 70s.


“I’m pretty happy it’s a pretty hard golf course and the weather wasn’t kind to us today so happy to have got through it,” said the Dubliner. “It was enjoyable playing with the two lads we kind of fed off each other and played pretty solid golf. For as bad a day as it was we made it as enjoyable as possible so yeah, it was fun.

“Just try and keep everything dry, not teeing off until the afternoon so hopefully I can dry off everything and hopefully do something similar to today.”

Moran was named in the provisional GB&I Walker Cup team over the winter but so far has failed to catch fire this season despite a bright start to the year with top-10 finishes in South Africa and the Lytham Trophy.

He has shown signs of life as of late and was impressive in the recent R&A Home Internationals for Ireland, winning 2.5 points from 3 singles matches while he also won one, lost one and drew one from three foursomes matches alongside Colm Campbell.

A previous runner-up in the Irish Close, he would love the opportunity to lift his maiden national title and join club mates Dara Lernihan and Alex Gleeson on the roll of honour and boost his Walker Cup hopes at the same time.

“Not very happy with my season so far! The last few weeks I am feeling a bit better about my game so looking forward to playing in the next few events I am playing in.

“It would be pretty cool it’s a national championship it would be very special I know in Castle you walk up and see Dara Lernihan won it ten or twelve years ago and then Alex Gleeson so it would be cool to have my name alongside them but there is a long way to go.”

As for the new 72-hole strokeplay format, it should come as no surprise that one of the best players and ball strikers in the amateur game prefers strokes over matchplay.

“I way prefer it as strokeplay. My Matchplay record hasn’t exactly been great in these knockout tournaments, and I do feel it does crown the best player at end of the week.”

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