Desmond is King of the South

Sean Desmond South of Ireland Winner_1

South of Ireland Champion Sean Desmond.  Pic: Brian Arthur

Sean Desmond took full advantage of a South of Ireland that was full of shocks to become the 118th winner of the famous championship.  Desmond was a part of those shocks, beating Irish Internationals Conor Purcell and Tiarnan McLarnon.  His  good run started on Wednesday when he shot a five under par 67 in the fine conditions in Lahinch.  Although he followed with a 78 on day two it was enough to finish in the top thirty to get safely through to the matchplay.  There was an impressive list of golfers in the top 64, but after just two rounds of matchplay ten of the top ranked players were gone.  Desmond was part of that, beating Walker Cup panelist Conor Purcell on the 18th green in the second round.  Desmond was on fire on Saturday morning, but that was the standard needed – he was four under through nine holes and all square with Paul Coughlan, he went on to win on the 17th.  Later on Saturday afternoon he took out another international, he beat Tiarnan McLarnon in the fourth round when the match went to the 19th hole.  With his cousin Eoin Sawyer on the bag for the week resilience seemed to be Desmond’s theme for the tournament,  whether it was a big gun or a few bad holes, Desmond took it one hole at a time and battled when he needed to.

Gallery: South of Ireland Saturday

That win on Saturday evening took him through to this mornings semi-final where he faced Sligo native Sean Flanagan.  Desmond was up at the turn but things changed on the back nine when Flanagan went ahead.  Even though Sean’s drive on the 17th ended up on the 15th fairway, he made a great recovery and birdied the hole to get back to level terms.  He went on to birdie the 18th with a clutch five footer to advance to the final.

Sean Desmond Golffile_2

The Champion!  Pic: Thos Caffrey, Golffile

The Monkstown man faced Keith Egan in the final, and his opponent had also slayed a few giants.  The Carton House member had a good start and was two up after three.  Desmond hung in there, the resilience came to the fore again and he pegged back Egan to level.  He went ahead on the 13th but lost his lead on the 16th.  A nine foot par putt on the 17th gave him a lead going up 18. When Egan missed his birdie, that effectively crowned Desmond as the Champion.  It was another amazing five days in Lahinch, with the course, the club, the village and the atmosphere making it one of the most popular events on the calendar.

See the action from the final green below thanks for Brian Keogh:

 

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