There were smiles all round at the EMC Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup as newly-crowned champion Colm Campbell got the perfect boost for a busy schedule ahead and tournament organisers got a winner of the calibre they feel their event deserves.
Campbell, from Warrenpoint, was a two-stroke winner of the 54-hole tournament in Cork on Sunday holding off fellow international Robin Dawson and 36-hole co-leader Andrew McCormack in the final round with his third consecutive one-under-par 71 of the weekend.
For Campbell, the victory confirms encouraging early-season form which saw him claim a last-16 spot in the Spanish Amateur, reach the West of Ireland semi-finals and win the Dublin Scratch Foursomes with Ryan Gribben.
Adding his name to previous EMC Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup winners, including 2009 champion Shane Lowry, also provides Campbell with the ideal platform heading into a six-tournament run which starts with the Lytham Trophy at Royal Lytham St Annes on April 29 and takes in the Flogas Irish Amateur at Royal Dublin, the French Amateur, St Andrews Trophy and Brabazon.
“My game’s in good shape, I’ve played the Home Internationals the last two years and the goal this year is to get picked on the six-man team for the European Amateur Team Championships (in Chantilly, France), at the start of July,” Campbell said. “Hopefully I’ll do enough to get a call-up.”
Campbell was one of five Irish internationals in the 80-strong Lee Valley field alongside Tramore’s Dawson, who finished third, Geoff Lenehan of Portmarnock, Naas’s Conor O’Rourke and Massereene’s Tiernan McLarnan. All claimed a top-20 finish, to the satisfaction of tournament director Vincent Drinan.
“It went clean as a whistle,” Drinan said. “We had a field we were delighted with, 80 golfers, and 64 of them were at two (over par) or better, which tells you we had a very high standard. We nearly called it off on Thursday because it was so wet, but Lee Valley amazes us all the time. It dried out so quickly. They all expected it to be soft because most of the country is soft but nobody complained to me. ”
Drinan’s assessment was endorsed by Campbell, who praised not just the course but the tournament, which this year enjoyed the sponsorship of EMC and carried World Amateur Golf Ranking points.
“The greens were unbelievable considering the weather,” Campbell said. “They are so undulating and slopey, they’re a huge protection, they were brilliant. They were fast and with a good surface and with them being so slopey it just made it difficult to get at pins. It was a good set-up and the course played brilliantly.”
Such was the welcome extended by Drinan and fellow tournament organisers, Campbell will have no hesitation returning to Lee Valley to defend his title, if he’s still an amateur.
“Fingers crossed, it’s hard to say where we’ll be this time next year but if I’m still amateur I’ll most certainly be down and I’ll definitely be recommending this tournament to anybody to come down and play it because they certainly know how to put on a show here.”
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