Monkstown’s Shane Irwin held his overnight lead to claim the PGA Assistants title in Nuremore yesterday, winning by a margin of five shots over the field. Rounds of 76 and 72 yesterday were more than enough to keep a healthy distance between himself and the pack as the Limerick native went on to claim his biggest PGA win to date. Irwin’s impressive 69 and 67 on day one gave him a great start, he had a six shot lead at the halfway stage.
“I didn’t expect to win but I expected to do well. I went for a lesson with coach Eddie Doyle a couple of weeks ago and I did feel confident,” said the 24-year-old. “The first day was very good. I played some solid golf in round one. The second round was very similar and I managed to pick up a few birdies.” Holding the top spot was a new experience for Shane, but he retained a comfortable margin despite much tougher conditions on day two. “It was tough over the final 36-holes. I had never led a PGA tournament or anything like that. I tried to stick to the game plan and hit irons off the tee when others were hitting drivers. I knew they would make some big numbers chasing.”
Although he posted a five over 76 in the third round, Irwin still had a comfortable lead, and a chat with Cian McNamara helped settle him before the final round. “He encouraged me to stick to the game plan, not to do anything stupid and just to go out and play,” added Shane who thanked Cian and the Monkstown members who drove up from Cork to support him. “That helped me a lot when I played in the last round. I just tried to keep it in play and let the other lads make mistakes.”
Shane now qualifies for the Birdietime PGA Assistants’ Championship which takes place next week at Pleasington Golf Club.