O’Briain wins thriller to claim matchplay title in Sutton

Ronan MacNamara

Neil O'Briain

Ronan MacNamara

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Neil O’Briain pipped Michael McGeady on the first playoff hole to win the Annesley Williams Skoda 9 hole Match Play Championship in Sutton Golf Club.

The difference proved on the greens with O’Briain holing a succession of putts to keep himself alive including an eight-foot birdie on the tenth which gave him the victory in the last event of the 2023 PGA in Ireland calendar.

“It was a grind out there for the final against Michael, it was very tricky out there, the wind was up and the rain was coming in and out as well so I was trying to keep the ball in play and take advantage when I got the opportunities which was the key I stuck to what I needed to do and it was a good match to be fair it would have been good to watch. Delighted to get over the line and I’m very happy,” said O’Briain.

The McGuirks Golf player got the better of Paul Eivers and Richard Kilpatrick this morning to set up a decider with McGeady who saw off Damien McGrane and Nicky Grant.

Both players halved the first four holes in pars before O’Briain struck a dart to seven feet on the par-3 5th to set up a winning birdie and it was a lead he was determined to protect with a handful of clutch up and downs.

The Dubliner passed up an opportunity to win the title on the 8th hole and he was dealt a sucker punch as McGeady came up clutch with a birdie on the 9th to force extra holes.

Both players found the fairway and hit good approach shots into the green and the advantage seemed to have switched to the Derry man who had three feet for birdie.

O’Briain, rolled in his eight footer for birdie, expecting McGeady to hole out but he was relieved to see his opponent miss and grant him the title.

“I held a few putts I thought I hit a lovely shot into the sixth but it came up short in the bunker and I hit the shot to seven or eight feet and knocked it in and did the same on the following hole. I hit a reasonably acceptable second shot and chipped it to decent range and knocked it in. Hit good putts for birdies on 8 and 9 that just missed and it was exciting with Michael making the putt on the last to go up the first extra hole but it was very tidy on the greens today.

“Michael hit a great shot into the first to follow me in even closer so I hit a really solid putt that went in and Michael had a tricky right to left putt that unfortunately for him he just missed it. It was unfortunate for the match to end that way but it’s all done and dusted now.”

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