McNamara leads big push

Ireland finished a highly-creditable third in the European Nations Cup after a splendid final day at Sotogrande.

Fine last-round performances by Mourne’s Reeve Whitson, winner of the recent Spanish Amateur Championship, and Rory McNamara from Headfort moved Ireland up the leaderboard.

England and France were the only countries to finish ahead of Ireland. Both Scotland and Wales were well down the field in ninth and 15th spots respectively.

Both Whitson and McNamara enjoyed a successful tournament with their cards counting on all four days — and they ended the contest in joint 12th and 10th places respectively.

McNamara closed with a 68, coming on top of scores of 76 and a pair of 73s, for an aggregate of 290 while Whitson posted a closing 69 following 74, 72 and 76 for a total of 291.

With three of the four cards counting each day, Ireland finished on 869, 13 strokes behind England and seven adrift of France.

Reigning Amateur champion Alan Dunbar (pictured) returned a 73 on Saturday but generally he experienced a topsy-turvy week. Both Dunbar, from Rathmore, and Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy carded four-round aggregates of 300 and ended in joint 36th place in the individual reckoning.

Spain won the women’s event ahead of Germany and Wales. There was no Irish women’s team in the field.

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