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Fairweather bounces back to lift NI title

By Paul Kelly

Knock's Colin Fairweather came out on top of a three-way play-off to win the 36-hole Northern Ireland Amateur Open yesterday.

The 26-year-old birdied the first extra hole at Galgorm Castle to beat Thomas Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) and former winner Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene GC).

In doing so, Fairweather earned a place in the field alongside the professionals at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, Presented by Modest! Golf (August 10-13).

"I just wanted to win. I wasn't really thinking about the chance of playing in the NI Open," said Fairweather who lost to Rowan Lester in the final of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush last Friday.

"I didn't get it last week, but I got that winning feeling again today. It didn't matter where it was or what tournament it was in. I just wanted to win something, especially after last week when I finished runner-up at Royal Portrush.

"It took me a wee while to get over that so it was great to bounce back so quickly. I've always wanted to play in the Challenge Tour event as well, so this win meant an awful lot to me."

The trio of Fairweather, Mulligan and McLarnon finished the 36 holes on four over par (146) and went back down the par five 18th to decide the winner.

"It was really tough today, even though the weather was perfect. They have let the rough grow up with the Challenge Tour event in mind," he added.

"I felt I had the advantage on the hole because I was the longest off the tee. I was determined to stay aggressive, you only have one shot at a play-off."

A drive into the middle of the fairway followed by a seven iron into the green set him up for a comfortable two-putt birdie. Mulligan lost a ball off the tee and was effectively out of contention leaving McLarnon as the only challenger. McLarnon's eagle putt from off the green finished six feet away and when his birdie putt stayed above ground the title was heading to Knock.

As the leading U18 player, Mulligan also earned a spot in the NI Open field.

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