Wilson and Buchanan crowned in Clandeboye

Irish Golfer

Adam Buchanan and Annabel Wilson winners of the Ulster Men's & Women's Amateur Stroke Play Open Championship, Clandeboye Golf Club, Tower Rd, Bangor, Newtownards, Northern Ireland. 28/05/2024. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit (© Golffile | Fran Caffrey)

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On a hectic morning in Clandeboye where heavy rain fell, 48 of Ireland’s best amateur golfers decided this year’s Ulster Men’s and Women’s Amateur Strokeplay Open Championship.

As the clouds broke and the sun shone at the end of play it was overnight leaders Annabel Wilson (Castlerock Golf Club) and Adam Buchanan (Royal Portrush) who reigned supreme.

With rain forecast for Tuesday morning it was decided a shotgun start would get the final round underway with Buchanan setting off from hole one and Wilson from hole two, both holding two-shot leads over their nearest competitor.

Wilson, who came into the final round off the back of two under-par rounds of 71 looked solid in the early going, level par for her front nine. It was on the back nine though where she really shone, carding five birdies across the closing stretch signing for a final round 68. A -9 total for the tournament enough to hand the Castlerock golfer a nine-shot win over local Clandeboye hopeful Rebekah Gardner.

“We were thrown everything today weatherwise, I felt like the first six holes was very much just find the fairway, find the green and two-putt,” said Wilson.

“I was open to all challenges that was thrown at me and then the clouds opened and it was nice and from there on in I felt like I was playing well enough to give myself plenty of looks for birdies and a couple of them dropped on the way in and I just kept that momentum, kept the foot down on the pedal so certainly a rollercoaster day we were thrown everything.

“Feels good, need a wee minute to sit down and take it all in but I’m delighted overall.”

While it was a comfortable win for the former AIG Women’s Irish Close champion, the same could not be said for Buchanan as a playoff was needed to decide the men’s champion.

The Royal Portrush golfer took some time to get going in the final round as Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) and Jake Whelan (Grange) made ground on the leader, racking up nine birdies between them. Buchanan would not be denied however as he steadied the ship in the closing six holes. They battled right to the very last hole with nothing to separate them as all three walked into the clubhouse on +1.

A sudden death playoff would go down the par four first to crown the winner.

“I hit my iron shot long but I always knew I had a chance, anything can happen in golf, so I was just waiting for my chance. I had a putt then to win it and take it with both hands,” said Buchanan.

The young Ballymena man chipped from off the back of the green, sank his short putt and with a fist pump of relief and joy embraced his caddie as the 2024 champion.

“Pretty eventful day, just kept on going throughout the day and stayed positive, suppose I have to thank my caddie for that as well, nice to have someone to keep you calm.

“Feels good that it’s finally over.”

View the final scoring here

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