Cork Golf Club’s Paul Buckley has won the Omega Emirates Men’s Amateur Open event at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. His two-under par total over two days saw him finish one shot clear of Zubair Firdaus from Malaysia.
Buckley had been tied for the lead on three-under after Thursday's opening round. And though he began the second round with back to back bogies, he rallied with an eagle and three further birdies to secure victory.
The Dubai venue is the same course on which Rory McIlroy won his first professional title in 2009.
Douglas’ Karl Bornemann was also in action at the event, finishing eighth on four-over par.
Banteer native Buckley is also a member at Kanturk Golf Club for many years and represented Munster in 2008, before moving to Australia for 11 years. Having returned, he joined Cork Golf Club.
"It's definitely the biggest event I've won," Buckley said, on returning to Cork today.
"It was a good field and Firdaus is a very good player. I definitely felt the pressure coming down to the last few holes.
"I had a poor start to the second round, but thankfully I birdied the third. I double-bogeyed the fourth, which was bad, but got up and down well on 5 and 6 and then I had an eagle on 9."
There were further birdies on 10 and 15, and when Firdaus found water on the 18, Buckley was left with two putts from eight feet to seal the title.
"Which I used," he laughed.
Covid restrictions were tight at the Dubai event.
"We were tested before we left and again on landing, and had to isolate for 24 hours until we got results. You had to wear the mask everywhere on the driving range and practice greens and only took it off on the first tee."
The win earns him a return to Dubai where he will play at a Pro-Am next October. But the immediate aim is to make a Munster team again.
"That's been my big target since I came back from Australia."
Great start to 2021 for our own Paul Buckley who got a win in the Emirates Amateur in Dubai today. Congrats from all @kanturkgolfclub Paul 👏👏👏👏👏💪💪💪💪— @KanturkGolfClub (@kanturkgolfclub) January 15, 2021
Buckley triumphs in Dubai — Talk Birdie To Me https://t.co/WOD8mGVBcT