Majestic Morrow conquers Europe

Adrian Morrow flew home from Austria yesterday on cloud nine after conquering a top class field to clinch the European Seniors Amateur Championship.

A stunning closing round of two under par 69 — the lowest score of the tournament — gave the Portmarnock star the crown to add to his Irish title won earlier in the year.

Morrow was a stroke adrift of Swede Tomas Persson going into the final round but overhauled his rival to triumph by one with an aggregate of 212 — one under par.

There was then a gap of four strokes to the third-placed Bart Nolte from the Netherlands.

Morrow appeared to face an uphill task when he reached the turn in 36 but then stepped up a gear to collect three birdies in seven holes — at 10,14 and 16.

* Leading qualifier Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell), twin sister Leona and tournament favourite Stephanie Meadow (Royal Portrush) are all safely through to the last 16 at the Irish Women’s Close Amateur Championship, Co. Louth, yesterday.

As the wind and rain of the qualifying rounds abated, Leona continued her return to form, defeating local girl Oonagh Purfield on the home green.

Sister Leona had a more comfortable journey to round two following victory over Mary Doyle on 15.

Curtis Cup heroine Stephanie Meadow was involved in a very competitive duel with Ballyclare youngster Megan Thompson, eventually closing out the tie on the penultimate green.

Other notable victories were notched by 2010 champion Mary Dowling (New Ross) and current International Paula Grant (Lisburn) while Maria Dunne (Skerries) won the tie of the round after a third extra tie hole win over current International Gillian O’Leary (Cork).

Local supporters were disappointed after 2004 champion Deirdre Smith dug deep but eventually succumbed to an impressive Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) on the home green.

The last 16 has thrown up some interesting pairings with Lisa Maguire now facing Lucy Simpson (Massereene) and Leona playing young Grant. Dowling has a tough assignment with local Carla Reynolds while Cunningham takes on Enniscrone’s Sarah Helly after her surprising defeat of junior International Jessica Carty (Holywood).

* Darren Fichardt survived a rough final round to clinch his third European Tour title as he won the St Omer open by three shots.

As high winds in Lumbres pushed the scores up once again, Fichardt closed with a two over par 73 and found himself under pressure from Lockerbie and Simon Wakefield as a lead that at one stage on Saturday stood at eight shots almost blew away.

“It definitely wasn’t pretty. I was absolutely terrified and I was happy we didn’t have to play any more holes,” said Fichardt.

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