“I feel like I am good enough to beat any of these guys” – schoolboy Tiernan buoyed by performance

Ronan MacNamara

Gavin Tiernan (Photo by Barrington Coombs/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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County Louth schoolboy Gavin Tiernan will sit his leaving certificate exams in a few weeks time but he has already come through a tough test with flying colours at the Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open Championship in County Sligo Golf Club.

Ahead of the final round, Tiernan sits in third place on six-under-par trailing Liam Nolan by seven shots after rounds of 65, 72 and 70 having held the first round lead in Rosses Point. The Irish Boys International is relishing the new experience of competing at the upper echelons of a men’s championship.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve tried to embrace the challenge I feel like I am good enough to win, I feel like I am good enough to beat any of these guys. It’s nice believing it, but doing it is a different story,” said the 18-year-old from Baltray.

Tiernan teed off in the penultimate group on Saturday alongside local favourite TJ Ford, which meant there was a crowd following them.

It was a culture shock for the leaving cert student but after an opening bogey he recovered well and enjoyed the challenge.

“A bit shaky to be honest, there was a few people out watching us so it took me a few holes to settle in but after the bogey on 1 it was nice to bounce back.

“I did that a couple of times, found myself making a few silly mistakes but I was happy with how I was able to bounce back which I was happy with.”

The highlight of the round was an eagle on the par-5 12th which lifted him to seven-under and within three shots of Liam Nolan at the time. Bogeys on 14 and 15 stalled his charge but a nice finish of birdie, par, par has given him a glimmer of hope that he could perhaps upset the odds.

“That was nice I hit a 2-iron from 260, it was a bit into the breeze so I said ‘I can’t go long’ and obviously went long, then drained it! Which was really nice. That got the spark going and finished with a nice par save on the last.”

Tiernan has been studying in between rounds but all eyes will be on this test this afternoon before he looks to become a local winner at the East of Ireland Championship at the start of next month.

“Probably not much golf over the next few weeks, nice to have good weather at the moment.”

It’s a big summer for Tiernan who will play a busy schedule after his exams before heading Stateside on a golf scholarship to East Tennessee.

“I really can’t wait, no excuses out there really good facilities, perfect weather, great schedule, the coach is great so I’m really excited.”

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