Updated: 19/04/17 : 05:21:56
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This


First Sligo winner of 'The West' in 67 years

Rosses Point native Barry Anderson has become the first Sligo-born winner of the West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship since Cecil Ewing acheived the glory 67 years ago.

The 26-year-old Royal Dublin player beat beat Jack Pierse 3 and 2 in a performance that set local hearts racing.

“I am shell-shocked,” Anderson said after closing out the match on the 16th green. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d win this week.

“I thought other years when I was playing a lot more golf, I had a better chance. I was only teeing it up because I thought I would miss it if I didn’t. I had zero expectations and now I have surpassed my wildest dreams.”

Anderson, an accountant, came from three down after four holes to beat Newlands’ Jake Whelan 5 and 3 in the morning , Anderson started par-birdie-par-par, found himself three up after four and vowed to give nothing away cheaply.

“That start settled the nerves and gave me the cushion where I didn’t have to attack the course,” he said.

“It was important to keep that distance between us and keep it on the straight and narrow. That was my game plan. I just played steady all day. I just wore him down.”

Slow start

But the 26-year old accountant’s slow start in the final, where he took three from the edge of the first, failed to birdie the second and then took three from the front edge of the third and watched Anderson steal a half in par fives from 15 feet, proved to be a millstone.

“I thought if I could stick at it and stick at it and get him to 17, I’d be right there, but he didn’t let me back in,” Pierse said. “I needed to make a couple of putts to get back at him and they kept going by the edge.”

“I was trying to get him running out of holes,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to hand him a hole and the next thing I am only one up. It was important to keep that distance between us . . .”

While he was just two under par for the 16 holes played, Anderson’s birdie at the 457-yard 15th summed up his day.

“I’ve dreamed of playing in this championship since I was 12 years old,” Anderson said after lagging dead at the 16th to seal his dream win.

“This is the championship that got me involved in golf – coming down at Easter to watch the great players over the years. I wanted to play in it and then I wanted to go on and win it. It’s absolutely unbelievable to win it now.”

Read the full analysis in The Irish Times