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Battling Galbraith has to settle for second

 

By Adam McKendry

Whitehead golfer John Ross Galbraith pushed all the way, but had to settle for second place at the St Andrews Links Trophy in Scotland, a continuation of his fine recent form.

The 23-year-old backed up his eighth-placed finish at the Scottish Amateur Championship by shooting four sub-par rounds at the home of golf, but ultimately fell one shot short of eventual winner, Matthew Jordan of Hoylake, England.

Galbraith, a former North of Ireland winner, got off to a flying start in the opening round on Friday, shooting a six-under 66 on St Andrews' second course, the Jubilee, to put him into an early lead.

The Ireland international followed that up with a one-under 71 around the world famous Old Course on Saturday, leaving him at seven-under par at the midway point of the tournament.

There were eight other Irishmen who made the cut, including defending champion Conor O'Rourke of Naas.

Of those Irishmen, Tramore's Robin Dawson and Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell were the best placed at four-under par, but that was still three shots off early pace setter Galbraith, who held a one shot advantage over several golfers, including Jordan.

The third and fourth rounds were both held on Sunday around the Old Course, and Jordan fired an impressive three-under par round of 69 in the morning, a score that took him level with Galbraith at the top after the Ulsterman's two-under 70.

It led to a tense final round shootout between the two men, and Jordan held his nerve better at the start of the round, picking up birdies on five of his first 12 holes and opening up a five shot lead with six holes to play.

It got even worse for Galbraith, who double bogeyed the par-four 14th to extend Jordan's lead even further, only for the Englishman to drop three shots on his way in to finish at 11-under par.

That opened the door for Galbraith, who worked his way back into contention and managed to reduce the gap back to just two shots with only the short par-four 18th to go.

Needing an eagle to tie Jordan's score and force a play-off, Galbraith found himself in the infamous Valley of Sin just short of the green with his tee shot.

He gave the putt a good go, but ultimately it went past the hole, handing Jordan the victory and meaning the tap-in birdie was only for solo second place.

Fellow Irishmen Dawson, Campbell and Conor Purcell finished in a tie for 10th at four-under par, while Galgorm Castle's Jordan Hood tied for 30th after finishing at one-under.

O'Rourke had to settle for a disappointing finish at four-over, only good enough for a tie of 42nd.

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