Carew relishing AIG Irish Close defence after euphoric victory last year

Ronan MacNamara

Garda Quentin Carew back at work with his gleaming AIG Irish Close trophy - Image @gardainfo

The 2022 AIG Irish Men’s Amateur Close Final at Headfort Golf Club. The day David stopped Goliath.

This wasn’t a lucozade advert nor did he have a spear, but what Castleknock’s Quentin Carew did have was a never say die attitude and an ability to pull off sensational shots under extreme pressure as he came from four down after nine holes to beat the all-conquering Hugh Foley on the 20th hole.

Starting the week as a 200/1 outsider, Carew scraped into the matchplay stages as the 64th and final strokeplay qualifier before embarking on an electrifying run to the decider, beating course record holder and Walker Cup hopeful Alex Maguire before edging Rory Milne, Jake Foley, Sam Murphy and Paul Conroy. 


It was a win that has inspired the Allenwood native to look upwards rather than over his shoulder when it comes to major championships and his career aspirations as he continues to weigh up a leap into the professional ranks, a decision which seems imminent.

But first, his eyes are firmly set on keeping the Irish Close trophy in his grasp at Malone GC this week and enjoying similarly jubilant celebrations as he did twelve months ago.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never gone back to defend a title,” said the Tallaght based Garda. “My first championship to win so I’m really looking forward to the week, the family are coming up as well just because of what it is so to experience that for the week is going to be great.

“The feeling of winning it last year is still in me so I don’t want to give it up I will be doing everything I can to bring the Close back down with me again. Last year gave me great confidence in myself like before that I was wondering if I would ever win one feeling like I was only there to make up the numbers. Now this year I’m looking up the leaderboards rather than looking at the cut mark.”

Carew’s Irish Close win in Headfort Golf Club was one of the great stories in Irish Amateur Golf, less than a year after suffering a back injury following a car accident, he began 2022 only able to complete 18 holes of golf. 

But with adversity often comes perspective and a renewed sense of motivation. While recovering, the 32-year-old came into last year with a fresh sense of purpose and dedicated himself to golf with an eye to winning and potentially turning pro. 

“When the accident happened that was one of the things that pushed me to give golf a real good go. You want to take advantage of every opportunity,” said Carew who holds honorary life membership in Edenderry Golf Club. 

“By the way it finished it was a good year. My target at the start of the year was to win one of the championships and I achieved that. I wanted to win one of the earlier ones to push through for the Leinster team and stuff like that. Obviously I’ll take whichever one I get and this was one worth waiting for. 

“The start of the year was tough managing my back injury and other things like that. It was about getting into the winter and getting into the gym and working on it. I’m really happy with how the year went and it’s a good stepping stone for this year to push on further.”

Carew’s win was also a great example of what could be achieved by a part-time amateur in there thirties who has to balance golf and work commitments. 2022 was the year for the over thirties as Colm Campbell picked up the Irish Amateur Championship while Peter O’Keeffe was named in the GB&I provisional Walker Cup panel.

Campbell continued to fly the flag for the working amateur when winning the South of Ireland last month, beating O’Keeffe in the final. As the Irish amateur scene continues to produce young talent, Carew looks up to the Warrenpoint native as an example of what can still be done.

“I played with Collie in the first two rounds of the South and he was so solid he just didn’t get the putter going, then in the matchplay I saw him play against Paul Coughlan in the semi final and the display he put on was unbelievable, he put on a show, he struck the ball so well and just rolled the putter. I think he was six or seven under and that score just wasn’t out there in the rain and wind. Any of the four lads left said the same thing that morning, it was class golf.

“It gives me a great boost to know that you can work and you can win and Collie has shown that and it proves how good of a player he is and shows us that it is doable if you put in the work and believe you can do it.”

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