Determined Jack Hume digs deep to claim West of Ireland title
Pupil turns the tables on his fitness trainer Robbie Cannon to prevail in an exciting final
Jack Hume: “It would have been easy to let the head drop but to be able to stick it out and get over the line and get a win like this means a lot.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Robbie Cannon might be the ironman of Irish amateur golf but he could still take some measure of satisfaction as his fitness pupil Jack Hume dug deep when it counted to beat his trainer by one hole to claim the Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland Championship at Rosses Point.
The 20-year-old from Naas has worked hard with strength and conditioning coach Cannon for the past four years and it was his stamina, coupled with the great mental strength he gleaned from two major championship reverses last year that made the difference in the end.
Small of stature but blessed with a no-nonsense, repeating swing, Hume was two down after a nervy start and still two down when Cannon holed a gusty nine-footer for par at the short ninth.
Even when Hume claimed the 10th in birdie to cut the gap to one hole and then levelled with a par-three at the 13th, he three-putted the 14th from just 15 feet to leave himself one down with four to play.
Having lost in a play-off for the Lytham Trophy last year and then double-bogeyed the last to lose out on a place in a playoff for the Irish Amateur Open – which Cannon would go on to win – it would have been easy to capitulate. But Hume refused to go away.
Cannon, a 35-year-old career amateur, struggled off the tee all afternoon having played superbly up to that point. And the gremlins caught up with him towards the end of a final that was low on birdies but high in entertainment value.
When he pushed a five-iron right of the 196-yard 16th, Hume rifled a four iron to 20 feet to set up a winning par that squared the match. Fatefully, at the ogre that is the 456-yard 17th, Cannon pulled his drive into trouble and made six to find himself one down for the first time.
Hume, who was five under in beating West Waterford’s Gary Hurley 3 and 2 in the semifinals, missed the 18th green but after Cannon’s 20-foot birdie chance stayed above ground, he made no mistake with a 10-footer for the title.
“I was down early and got off to a bad start so I said to myself, ‘Be patient you’re playing well. Just stick it out and gradually get back into the match’,” said Hume. “ I told myself grind it out and the first time I was up was on the 18th tee and I eventually got the win. I’m delighted.
“It would have been easy to let the head drop but to be able to stick it out and get over the line and get a win like this means a lot.”
Cannon hit a stunning 102-yard wedge to six inches at the 18th to beat Reeve Whitson by one hole in the semi-finals but he was magnanimous in defeat to his young pupil in a final that saw him approximately five over to Hume’s three over.
“He is probably the nicest kid who plays on the circuit so I am truly delighted for him,” Cannon said. “So if I had to lose, I’m glad I lost to Jack. I’ve trained him for the last four years [as his strength and conditioning coach] and seen him develop from a boy into the gentleman he is now. I have no excuses. He played very well . . . The best man won. Clearly.”