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Beth Coulter: I drew on previous pain to seal Irish Girls’ title triumph


Beth Coulter

Beth Coulter

Michael Reid. Credit: Thos Caffrey

Michael Reid. Credit: Thos Caffrey



Beth Coulter

Kirkistown Castle ace Beth Coulter admitted her Irish Senior Close agony drove her on to success as she defended her Irish Girls' Close Championship title at Tramore.

The 17-year-old lost in the final of the Senior event to Anna Foster at Ballybunion a couple of weeks ago, but on this occasion she would make no mistake as she saw off Elm Park's Emma Fleming in the final 2&1 to reclaim the trophy she won in 2019.

Coulter had triumphed in an all-Ulster semi-final as she defeated Knock's Katie Poots, also 2&1, and then battled through the mental fatigue of four days' competition to beat Fleming as well.

"I’m delighted now. Obviously Emma had a great comeback there on the last couple of holes but I wanted to start well because after Ballybunion a couple of weeks ago I didn’t want to go home disappointed," admitted Coulter.

"I held it really well until around the 12th and she started to make a bit of a comeback but I hit a great shot in there on 17 to finish it out, so I’m really happy.

"The last one (in 2019) was a bit more of a rush, we got off the plane from Europeans in Spain and went straight to Galway, but I’m delighted to get home for a couple of days and then have my brothers and family to come down this time, so I’m happy."

It's been an excellent summer for Coulter who, as well as also finishing runner-up at the Irish Senior Close, won the Royal Portrush Scratch Cup and represented Ireland at the European Ladies Team Championships at Royal County Down last week.

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Now she heads to Italy for the European Women's Individual Championship next week aiming to continue her fine form with back-to-back victories.

Meanwhile, a clutch eagle on the par-four 17th at Royal Portrush helped Laytown & Bettystown's Alex Maguire claim the North of Ireland Amateur Open crown with victory in the final over Galgorm Castle's Michael Reid.

The Ulsterman came into the final as the favourite having finished as leading qualifier in the stroke play, but the fatigue of being taken to the 18th hole in all but one of his previous five matches - including his semi-final win over Royal Dublin's Max Kennedy on the second play-off hole - took its toll.

It was a tense final, with neither player holding more than a one-hole lead at any point, but Maguire struck the crucial blow by rolling in an eagle putt after driving the 17th green to go 1UP, and Reid then conceded on the 18th to confirm a 2UP win for the Meath man.

It continues a sensational summer for Maguire, who also won the Connacht Stroke Play earlier this summer, and he revealed his inspiration came from watching Shane Lowry's Open triumph at Royal Portrush the night before.

“I was watching Lowry’s Open win last night before going to bed. I think it paid off! It was nice to watch it and to get my win, where so many players have won," he smiled.

“I can't describe how I’m feeling to have my name on that trophy. Winning the Connacht Stroke Play felt like validation for the hard work I’ve put in, in recent years. To win what is one of Irish golf’s majors - I still can't believe it.

“It’s a dream. I felt my game was in good shape coming into the week. I had a bad start on the Valley Course, but since then I’ve played what felt like flawless golf."

The champion was also quick to praise opponent Reid who, while understandably disappointed with how it finished, can take a lot of pride from finishing as leading qualifier and going all the way to the decider despite having the marathon of being taken the distance in most of his matches.

“Michael played great today. His short game was excellent. To go down extra holes and each time win showed how much bottle he has," praised Maguire.

Elsewhere, Shandon Park's Philip Purdy was the best Ulster finisher at the Irish Men's Senior Close at Waterford as he secured a tie of third at six-over after closing with a one-over 72, while Clandeboye's Colm Murphy was tied-fifth at seven-over.

Former European Seniors medallist Karl Bornemann (Douglas) secured the title, closing out his commanding six-shot overnight lead with a one-over 72 in his final round to finish level-par, five clear of Castlemartyr's John O'Brien, to lift his maiden national title.

And at the Munster Under-16 Boys Championship, Massereene's Noah Bickerstaff was the leading Ulsterman after finishing second at four-over after back-to-back rounds of 72 at Douglas, one shot behind the winner, Galway Bay's Adam Challoner.

On the PGA EuroPro Tour, Ballymena's Dermot McElroy finished in a tie for 39th at the Wright-Morgan Championship in Clevedon at eight-under, where the USA's Stephen Shephard claimed the title in a play-off with England's Dan Brown.

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