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Ross and Campbell relishing big chance after Ulster wins

Winners: Colm Campbell and Jessica Ross
Winners: Colm Campbell and Jessica Ross

By Paul Kelly

Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell and Clandeboye's Jessica Ross came out on top in the inaugural staging of the Ulster Stroke Play Championship at Galgorm Castle as the Ulster pair celebrated two very different victories.

Ross blew the field away with her nearest challenger, Maeve Cummins from Lurgan, 12 strokes behind her in second place in the first men's and women's championships staged simultaneously at the same venue.

The 24-year-old chemical engineer carded a four round total of level par. Her final round included an eagle three on the 18th and a stunning birdie from 170 yards on the fourth hole after she found trouble off the tee.

Seasoned campaigner Campbell, who has spent the last two years fighting his way back to fitness following a hand injury, earned his first championship since the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin with a two-stroke winning margin, on four-under par, from Marc Boucher of Carton House.

Campbell's battle back hasn't been easy but this win gives him a major boost in the Bridgestone Order of Merit.

"It's been tough," he admitted. "I struggled with the injuries and then I lost my grandad who was a big supporter and this one is for him. I know he would be very proud. It's been a tough road and I'm glad to be back and get a win under the belt."

Off a plus-four handicap, Ross makes the trip to St Andrews for the St Rule Trophy later this week and is hoping for momentum to help her pick up another win.

"I've started working full-time as a chemical engineer so I guess I'll just play as good as I can and get another win. I'll just take every event as it comes."

Both Campbell and Ross pick up invitations to the European Challenge Tour's newest event, the ISPS Handa World Invitational, at Galgorm Castle from August 15 to 18.

Ross is thrilled to be able to tee it up with the pros, saying: "I'm delighted. I've never played a professional event before so it will be cool to see how your game matches up with the world's best."

Campbell is no stranger to playing in professional events and is excited by the prospect of both men and women teeing it up at Galgorm in the professional tournament.

"It's brilliant, especially for the ladies game. They play to an exceptional standard. I think it's only right and it's great to see and it's great to see Galgorm is on board with it as well," he said.

Joining them in the ISPS Handa World Invitational will be Boucher (Carton House), Matthew McClean (Malone), Cummins (Lurgan) and Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) for their second and third place finishes in the Ulster Stroke Play.

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