Kearney and Rice earn top 5 finishes on EuroPro Tour

Bernie McGuire

A double bogey seven on unlucky hole 13 put paid to Niall Kearney’s chances at the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Dawson and Sanderson Classic at Longhirst Hall Golf Club, Northumbria.

The Royal Dublin professional was two-under on his round and within striking distance of the lead when all his momentum was halted on the par-5. It was too much to recover from and one more bogey on the way home saw him round in 73, good enough for a tied 4th finish on six-under-par.
That was the same number as Limerick’s Tim Rice who carded a two-under-par 70 to join Kearney in a share of 4th. The pair take home cheques worth £1,750 for the week but no doubt Rice will be feeling a lot better about the consolation prize than his compatriot Kearney.
Of the other Irish in the field, Headfort’s Joe Dillon fired his second successive 69 to grab a share of 21st spot alongside Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith at minus one – the latter having shot a one-under 71 to get it into the red for the week.
While West Cliff’s Brendan McCarroll posted a plus one round of 73 for a tie for 40th at three-over-par.
Sam Connor beat Joe Dean in a play off at Longhirst Hall Golf Club to claim his first PGA EuroPro Tour title this season, and the fourth of his career.

Connor (Alsager Golf & Country Club) carded rounds of 68, 66, and 72 to finish the week on ten-under par, matching his final round partner Joe Dean’s effort of 71, 66, and 69.
Dean had match point on the 18th hole to win outright but lipped out from 6 feet, forcing the duo to battle it out on the 17thhole in a play-off, which Connor won with a superb 12-foot putt. The win marks the second title Connor has won at Longhirst, the first coming in 2015 which was his first PGA EuroPro Tour title, three years on he has four wins to his name.
Reflecting on his win he said: “I feel amazing there is no better feeling than winning; this is what we do it for. I enjoyed the battle out there today with Joe.”


And a battle it was. Dean came back from a double bogey on the opening hole to collect five birdies and no further blemishes to stay in contention with Connor, whilst Tomasz Anderson (Centurion Club) lead on a number of occasions in the penultimate group. Anderson’s hopes of a win were all but gone with back-to-back bogeys on the 16thand 17thholes.
Connor said: “I wasn’t aware of how nip and tuck it was outside of myself and Joe, I tend not to look at leaderboards but I figured not many people were going ahead of us.”
He added: “I knew I wasn’t playing my A game today but I feel I’ve got a lot of heart and I dug in when it mattered. I love this game and coming to Longhirst, and I love that battle I had out there with Joe today.
The win moves Connor on the cusp of the Challenge Tour spots on the Order of Merit, which he hopes to build on as he heads into the second half of the season. He said: “I’ve felt like I’ve been close the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken a much more natural approach to my game and I’m just trying to enjoy my golf again.”

As well as receiving £10,000, Connor also received a Motocaddy S1 Electric Trolley, with features including a soft-touch ergonomic handle; low profile, quick-release wheels, a streamlined battery tray and super-fast QUIKFOLD assembly mechanism.
Highlights of the Dawson and Sanderson Classic will air on Sky Sports Golf on 17thJuly.
The PGA EuroPro Tour continues at Moor Allerton Golf Club with the Clipper Logistics Championship, 11-13 July.

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