Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell survived a spectacular back nine charge from Jack Hume to clinch a heart-stopping, wire-to-wire win in the Flogas Irish Amateur Open.
Two clear of Hume overnight and six ahead of him with 10 holes to go, the 29-year old international saw his lead whittled back to just one shot with two holes to go when the Naas man birdied the ninth, 13th, 14th and 16th in the sparkling sunshine at Royal Dublin.
Campbell, the 2014 East of Ireland champion, looked to have his second major title in the bag when he holed a 25 footer for birdie at the 17th to go two ahead on 16 under par and then left himself a 30 footer for birdie at the last with Hume missing the green.
But Hume would not go quietly and opting to putt rather than chip off a bare lie, he holed a double-breaking 60 footer for birdie and a 69 that set the target at 15 under par 273.
Campbell had two putts for the win and duly took them, lagging his downhill birdie putt up to just two feet before tapping in for a 70 and a winning 272 total that gives him a start alongside GUI selection Hume and one other Irish amateur in next week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at The K Club.
“I’m thinking ‘don’t three putt’,” Campbell confessed afterwards when asked what it was like to stand over his 30 footer following Hume’s incredible effort. “Don’t leave myself a three, four footer. To be fair, it was a nice putt, it was downhill, sort of wee bit of right to left.
“It was a nice putt to be able to tap in and become the Irish Amateur Open champion.”
Campbell also won wire-to-wire fashion at Baltray in 2014, holding off Paul Dunne for the East of Ireland Championship.
And so he was especially proud to edge out a star like Hume and put himself in the frame for selection for Ireland’s six-man European Team Championships team and the three-man Eisenhower Trophy side not to mention the Great Britain and Ireland St Andrews Trophy team.
“It shows I’m heading in the right direction,” said Campbell, who birdied the first and third to turn in two under 33 and a bogey-birdie-bogey start to the back nine gave Hume encouragement.
Hume blamed his slow start for his defeat with bogeys at the third, where he three-putted, and the fifth leaving him six behind the eventual champion.
Disappointed not to claim his third individual win of 2016 after birdies from four feet at the eighth, 18 feet at the 13th, 12 feet at the 14th, and 10 feet at the 16th, before that 60 footer at the 18th, Hume said: “I just got off to a poor start and left myself a lot to do.
"I stuck in there and holed some really nice putts at the right time and gave myself a great chance in the end.
"But I am delighted for Collie. He gets to play the Irish Open now. He won it. No-one handed it to him.”
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