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Lisburn ace Marshall clinches Boys' title after stirring revival

 

Winner: Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) after his victory in the Irish Boys’ Amateur Open Championship at New Forest Golf Club
Winner: Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) after his victory in the Irish Boys’ Amateur Open Championship at New Forest Golf Club

By Paul Kelly

Lisburn golfer Aaron Marshall won the Irish Boys' Open Championship title by one shot following a dramatic final day at New Forest, Co Westmeath.

Five behind at the start of play, the 18-year-old Marshall made a crucial par at the last for a round of 74 and a one-stroke victory over Connemara's Luke O'Neill.

The leading pair battled it out all the way to the finish and Marshall's victory was a reward for his tenacity down the stretch.

With four holes remaining, Marshall was an improbable winner. At that stage, O'Neill enjoyed a four-stroke lead over his Ireland team-mate, and even when Marshall birdied 16 to narrow the gap, a victory for the Ulster player seemed unlikely.

When Marshall made another birdie at 17, a straightforward up and down, the Championship came to life. A three-putt bogey at the same hole reduced O'Neill's lead to the minimum. After such a seismic shift in momentum, O'Neill found himself on the back foot.

The 54-hole leader, in need of a break, found a bunker off the final fairway. He then caught a bad lie short of the green with his second shot. From there, his ball pitched beyond the green into another sand trap.

Meanwhile, Marshall secured a composed par in regulation. O'Neill, now putting for bogey, had a four-footer to keep the Championship alive. His failure to convert left Marshall in the clear.

Third place went to Rian Carvill of Warrenpoint on countback. Carvill, who closed with 75, finished on four over par - the same total as Eoin Sullivan (Carton House), Fionn Hickey (Muskerry) and Josh Black (Lisburn).

Hickey won the U17 trophy on countback ahead of Black.

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