Cathal Butler will go into this week’s Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin with confidence following his play-off victory at the Munster Stroke Play Championship.
The Kinsale golfer came from seven shots behind the 54-hole lead held by Gary O’Flaherty at Cork Golf Club on Sunday to force a play-off and take the title at the second hole of sudden death.
Butler, 19, shot a last-round 69 to O’Flaherty’s 76 but had not realised he was in contention until GUI Munster Branch official Liam Harkin informed him ahead of the 7 2nd hole.
O’Flaherty, hoping to be the first Cork Golf Club member to win the Munster Stroke Play since its inception in 2006, was playing in the final group and parred the last 20 minutes later to move the tournament into a play-off.
Both parred the first hole before going to the 17th.
It was there that O’Flaherty’s hopes for victory came to an end, Butler two-putting from 10 feet for the victory after the home player missed the green with his approach.
“When you’re in a situation like that all you can do is make the best swing you can,” Butler said of his approach on 17 to the front of the sloping green.
“There’s nothing else to it. You’ve no idea what’s going to happen so that’s what I did and I left myself below the hole, which with the pin where it was and the greens that good and so fast this week, is what you had to do.
“I actually think that was my first ever play-off. I can’t remember any other so that was nice.”
Butler, on a Paddy Harrington scholarship at the University of Maynooth, now turns his attention to Royal Dublin and a stellar field led by Ireland’s Walker Cup hero and current amateur world number nine Jack Hume.
“Plenty of rest is needed before that,” the Munster Stroke Play champion said.
“I’m getting loads of support from the people around me, Kinsale Golf Club and my friends.
“They’re really lifting me up and keeping me going, so hopefully we can bring the form into the Irish Am.”
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