Peter O’Keeffe has been playing top level golf for 20 years and today he captured the top prize, the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down. From an elite junior golfer he moved into the US college ranks and from there he spent close to a decade on the Challenge Tour and Europro Tour trying to make the breakthrough in the paid ranks. In late 2015 he was reinstated as an amateur and last year he challenged on the local scratch cup circuit. Today he broke through to elite senior golf ranks when he won the Irish Open in style. One-stroke clear overnight, O’Keeffe cruised through much of the final round, winning by three thanks to a final round 73. The 35-year-old from Douglas ended the week on two over, three clear of Scotland’s Christopher MacLean and England’s Tom Sloman.
Needless to say the Douglas man was delighted with the win. “It feels fantastic. It was tough to keep my emotions in check there going up the last,” said O’Keeffe, who claimed his maiden championship title. “It was nice to have a few shots to lean on. It hasn’t sunk in yet but I am absolutely delighted.”
From Friday night you could sense a level of confidence in O’Keeffe, he had just shot two rounds of 70 and he suggested that there was much more in the tank. As it happened he never had to go low. Steady golf in difficult conditions on Saturday saw him jump up a few spots on the leaderboard, and a two over par 73 was enough to put him into the lead. It was a case of steady golf again today, Peter was level par after the front nine and saw his lead increase to five shots at one stage. He did cause a few gasps on the 16th, after exiting a sand trap he went on to four putt for double bogey. But that was the only cause for concern, he parred the 17th and took six on the closing par five, knowing that he had a cushion of four shots to work with.
“In general, all week I loved the place,” said O’Keeffe. “When I got here first, I knew I was comfortable here. I had the pace of the greens so everything kind of slotted into place at the right time.” Holding a one-stroke lead going into the final round, O’Keeffe held sway by three thanks to a closing 73. From his opening birdie, where he two-putted the par-five, the title was never out of his grasp.
Pictures Cashman Photography, courtesy GUI.