Barry Anderson has returned to his roots in perfect style claiming the West of Ireland Championship at Rosses Point. Now playing out of Royal Dublin, Anderson took the strong form he’s shown all week into the final, beating Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse 3&2 in a brilliant performance in front of delighted crowds.
In truth, Anderson dominated the match and his victory never looked in doubt. A winning par at the first set him on his way and he was three holes ahead after nine. Pierse made par on 10 to get one back but Anderson held his nerve to complete a comfortable win. An eight-foot birdie at the 15th had Anderson three clear with three to play with a par on the 16th proving good enough to take the spoils.
Yet Anderson’s route to the final was anything but easy. In a tough first round draw he rode his luck at times, edging Irish Close Champion Alex Gleeson at the third extra hole. The 26-year-old had to go the distance in round three against Jordan Hood and withstood another nail-biting finish against Co Sligo’s David Brady in the quarter-finals, winning the last for a one-hole victory.
A rough start against Jake Whelan (three down through four) couldn’t stop a flawless Anderson on the back nine from clinching a comprehensive semi-final success 5&3. Jack Pierse was just as convincing during his semi-final clash with Tandragee’s William Small. Pierse won the first and never trailed, closing out the match on 16. The final was a different story for Pierse however, going Anderson’s way from the start, with birdies at the second and the fifth while Pierse lost ground with bogeys at the first and the fourth. The momentum remained with Anderson who became the first Sligo born player to win the West in over thirty years.
Earlier in the week, defending champion Jonathan Yates produced the low round of the day but it wasn’t enough to deny Naas club mate Conor O’Rourke in the race for the Silver Medal at the Championship. A three under par 68 by Yates fell short of O’Rourke who added a 74 to his opening day 66. At the end of day two, O’Rourke was one shot clear of the field, winning the silver medal as leading qualifier.
After a slow start to his second round, O’Rourke rallied on the back nine, making three birdies in his last seven holes. Yates began the defence of his West of Ireland title with a 73 but produced five birdies in a second round 68 that helped him leapfrog the field into second place. At the other end of the leaderboard, Waterford’s Eanna Griffin claimed the last place in the match play draw as the cut fell at 151 (+9).
O’Rourke went on to beat Griffin 4&3 in round one but his progress went no further, beaten 3&2 by 17-year-old Abernethy. A whole host of favourites bowed out early as rising winds meant the West showed its teeth. Defending champion Yates was beaten in the first round by Royal Dublin’s Hugh Foley2&1. Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith was surprisingly beaten, losing at the 19th against Michael Ryan from New Ross. As much as Barry Anderson had impressed in beating Castle’s Alex Gleeson, Dundalk’s Eoin Murphy was better still, handing out a 6&5 beating to Tiarnan McLarnon. Colin Fairweather lost out to local star Gary McDermott 2&1.
But these top talents are there to be beaten and in tough conditions, though the same for everybody, it was Anderson who prevailed much to the joy of the Sligo crowd. What a great renewal and here’s to next year!
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