Ireland’s Anchorman: Campbell gunning for Home Internationals duty

Ronan MacNamara

Colm Campbell (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/R&A via Getty Images)

If you need a putt to drop, there’s arguably nobody better than Ireland’s anchorman.

Colm Campbell feels his record in an Irish shirt speaks for itself as he looks forward to another Home Internationals appearance for Ireland next week.

Campbell cut an extremely disappointed figure when he was omitted from the Golf Ireland High Performance Panel for t his season despite winning the Flogas Men’s Irish Amateur Open Championship at the Island last year. So much so that he contemplated not entering any championships this term and prioritising his work and family life, feeling his part-time amateur status and age were going against him in terms of selection.


But after edging Peter O’Keeffe (who was included in the panel but left out of the Home Internationals) to win his maiden South of Ireland Championship, his perseverance paid off as he forced his way into the side.

“I was bitterly disappointed to be left out of the High-Performance panel for this year,” said the Warrenpoint man. “There was a point at the start of the year where I wasn’t going to play any championships because I just felt like what more do I need to do? I won the Irish Amateur the year and was excluded from the panel for the coming year so what chance have I got?

“I sat down and looked at it and I wanted to prove that I wasn’t a one hit wonder. My form wasn’t great until I made the cut in the St Andrews Links Trophy in a good field and then winning last week so it was a nice moment.

“I think I’m probably a better player than I was five or six years ago because I feel like I am free wheeling it, there’s no pressure when I turn up. When I get the putter going I can beat anybody and I proved it this week with the players that I beat. I had the hardest draw this week and nobody gave it to me, I beat them. I backed it up over the years so I won’t shy away my record speaks for itself. I was four from four in the Home Internationals so that says it all.”

Campbell has a glowing amateur record winning two Irish Amateur titles and an East of Ireland while he has played a pivotal role in Ireland’s four in a row in the Home Internationals developing a reputation as Ireland’s anchorman and he won four out of four matches at last year’s contest in Ballyliffin.

Now he is back in the fold having thought he was further away than ever and in truth given his matchplay record at international level, it was about time he added the South to his last in Lahinch. However, he did it the hard way, coming from two down with three to play to pip Walker Cup hopeful O’Keeffe to the post in biblical weather conditions.

“I’m buzzing. This was one I had been trying to get my hands on for a while now. I had won a few Irish Amateur’s and an East but matchplay was one I have been trying to knock off the CV to win the South makes it even sweeter.

“You couldn’t have had two more experienced men like myself and Peter in the final and to be honest it was just a matter of who could hang on the best. Peter was in control the whole way through and I had never hung on as much in my life but that was the story of the week. I was behind in all my games going into the last few holes and it was just a matter of staying in there and using my experience as much as possible and take my chances when they came.

“It was a real push just to tell myself I still had a chance. The last three holes are nasty, they are so tough and in any other tournament I would probably say my chances are done, two down with three to play against Peter but in those conditions I had a slight glimmer of hope.

“I hit a great tee shot down 17 which was probably the best shot of the afternoon. The beauty of playing with Peter is that you will be hitting first after the tee shots. We both hit good tee shots and decided to not go for the green and leave myself a nice number. I kept it in play and put some pressure on him. It was just so tough to hit golf shots.

“I was in complete shock I just couldn’t believe what had unfolded in those three holes. Peter had such control most of the way around but to be fair I hung in and hit good golf shots when required.

“There’s great satisfaction in getting it over the line and I’m sure we’ll all agree that the level Irish amateur golf is at is phenomenal. Anybody can win on their day so when you can close it out and beat a quality player in Peter is hugely satisfactory.”

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