Hugh Foley was full of praise for AIG Irish Close Champion Quentin Carew despite letting a four-hole halfway lead slip in a thrilling final in Headfirst Golf Club.
After winning the 8th and 9th to go 4UP it seemed inevitable that The Royal Dublin golfer would cruise to a historic victory and become the first man since Darren Clarke in 1990 to win the North, South and Close titles in the same year.
However, he began to falter on the back nine, losing the 10th and 12th to see his advantage whittled down to 2 and after handing his Castleknock opponent the 14th and 16th holes the match was level pegging going down 17.
From there it was rank outsider Carew who had the three opportunities to win the title on 18, 19 and the par-5 20th with the highlight being a sensational 2-iron from 267 to eight-feet while Foley could only par the hole.
“He had great back nine I would say, three-under or something. That was pretty impressive there from Quentin, eagling that 20th hole. That was brilliant. But that shot was awesome there. Fair play to him. That was awesome,” acknowledged Foley who still had a superb year, winning two major titles and the Bridgestone Order of Merit but wasn’t in the mood for reflection.
“It’s hard to reflect on the year now but’s great to get to a final. It’s just a really long week. Really tiring. I am wrecked. I tried my best and just came up short. It’s been a good year. Pity, but a good result I suppose,” said the 25-year-old who beat Eisenhower Trophy representative Matt McClean 3&2 in the morning semi-final..
“I suppose I felt I struggled off the tee, even in the first match. I was getting it around and I scored brilliantly this morning but I was just getting it around with the driver. I just didn’t score as well in the afternoon. I had a good lead through nine. And the back nine, I don’t think I had a birdie.
“I was pretty solid. I was pretty tired. I felt pretty tired but I had a good talk to myself after 18 and felt I hit some pretty nice golf shots and I was pretty riled up again and got some adrenaline.”