Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

John-Ross Galbraith emulates star Rory McIlroy

Winner: John-Ross Galbraith on way to Irish Close title success at Seapoint yesterday

John-Ross Galbraith has followed in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell by winning the Irish Close Championship.

The 20-year-old from Whitehead beat Limerick's Pat Murray by a single hole at Seapoint, Drogheda yesterday.

And how appropriate that Galbraith's victory came on the very day Royal Portrush was confirmed as host of the 2019 Open Championship – something in which McIlroy, Clarke and McDowell have been instrumental.

McIlroy played one of the most famous ever amateur rounds when he blazed a course record 61 at Royal Portrush in the 2005 North of Ireland Championship when a 16-year-old schoolboy.

Murray edged ahead on the second hole with a conceded par yesterday, before the east Antrim starlet levelled the match on the next with birdie.

On the sixth, a wonderful second shot to the par five set up an eagle for Galbraith to put him one up.

Murray quickly responded by winning the seventh with a par.

Wins at 10 and 11 edged Galbraith ahead before Murray won the 12th and 13th.

The 14th was halved, before Galbraith won 15 and 16 with pars.

But Murray refused to throw in the towel, winning the 17th with a birdie two.

Then a poor tee shot on 18 saw Murray's hopes dashed as he was blocked out by the two trees on the left edge of the fairway, allowing Galbraith to claim his first senior victory.

Galbraith is clearly a young man going places in the world of golf and will have been thrilled to hear that the Open Championship is coming to Royal Portrush.

The five years until 2019 could offer a world of opportunity for the gifted John-Ross Galbraith.

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