Glory for Galbraith and a small killing with the bookies adds to joy

Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith made a small killing with the bookies as he put Pat Murray to the sword with a one-hole win in the AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship final at Seapoint.

Glory for Galbraith and a small killing with the bookies adds to joy

The former Boys international (20) holed a string of clutch putts coming down the stretch to take advantage of a few unforced errors by the Limerick veteran (42) and not only claim what is arguably the most prestigious championship in Irish golf but also a tidy £322.50.

“I had a fiver on myself each way at 50-1,” Galbraith said. “But I can’t believe it. It will take a while to sink in. I’m just delighted, obviously. I had four or five clutch putts and I holed them all. That’s what did it for me.”

A host of top internationals skipped the event to play in the clashing St Andrews Links Trophy, with Murray the clear favourite in the final after ousting recently crowned East of Ireland winner Colm Campbell 2 and 1 with an almost faultless display in the morning semi-finals.

“I just ran out of steam,” sighed the Warrenpoint man, who had two shanks in the first six holes to go three down. He hit back to level by the 11th, but while Murray was clinical down the stretch in winning the 15th and then the 17th, he faltered on the last four against a gutsy Galbraith in the decider.

Winner of the Ulster Boys title and a quarter-finalist in the British Boys Championship in 2011, Galbraith left school that year and has working on his game full-time ever since.

He claimed the Faldo Ireland Series U21 title earlier this year and proved too strong for Stackstown’s Richard Bridges in the semi-finals, holing a 12 footer for birdie at the 17th to set up a two-hole win. In an enthralling final, Galbraith turned one up and then won the 10th with a birdie from two feet to double his lead before holing a clutch 12 footer for par at 11 to stay in front.

Murray fought back, winning the 12th in birdie and the 13th in par to square the match. But after under- hitting a 12 footer for what would have been a crucial winning birdie at the 14th, the Tipperary native opened the door with poor bogeys as a result of semi-fluffed pitches at 15 and 16.

Galbraith barged through to win both holes, holing a pair or clutch four footers for pars each time to go two up with two to go. While Murray bravely birdied the par-three 17th from 12 feet to take the match to the last, his 12 footer to force extra holes slipped by.

Semi-finals: P Murray (Limerick) bt C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 2/1; J-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) bt R Bridges (Stackstown) 2 holes.

Final: Galbraith beat Murray 1 hole.

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