McNamara in form for repeat West success

Rory McNamara has been working hard on his game and having claimed the 36-hole Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup last weekend, he’s playing well enough to retain his West of Ireland Amateur Open title. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Rory McNamara has been working hard on his game and having claimed the 36-hole Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup last weekend, he’s playing well enough to retain his West of Ireland Amateur Open title. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Fri, Apr 18, 2014, 01:00

Rory McIlroy was the last player to successfully defend the title but Headfort’s Rory McNamara has the form and the pedigree to follow in some famous footsteps when the Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open gets underway at Rosses Point today.

The 24-year old from Co Meath, a full-time amateur, has been working hard on his game at his Spanish base and having claimed the 36-hole Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup last weekend, he’s playing well enough to pull it off.

“My game is getting a lot better all round and what I am looking for now is consistency, which is what is needed for the pro ranks,” said McNamara, who will turn professional later this year.

‘Good place for me’
“The last four years have been great at Rosses Point, reaching two semis and losing to Paul Cutler in 2012 before winning it last year. It’s been a good place for me and I am looking forward to getting back into tournament mode.”

McNamara is the bookies’ favourite ahead of 21-year old Dermot McElroy from Ballymena, who is still seeking his first amateur major despite his rise to 61st in the world rankings.

After going all the way to last autumn’s European Tour Qualifying School final stage in Spain, McElroy was expected to turn professional but will remain amateur until the autumn at least as he continues his search for that first amateur “major” victory.

The putter
“It’s all going to depend on how the putter is working,” said McElroy, a member of the winning Great Britain and Ireland side in Europe’s recent Bonallack Trophy win over Asia-Pacific in Bangalore

“I’ve a habit of missing four three-footers a round and that’s just giving holes away so that’s going to be key, especially if it’s very windy.”

Beaten in the early rounds in his first four visits to Rosses Point, McElroy’s goal is to become a “major” winner before joining the paid ranks.

“I just want to win one of the big amateur events, so it would be nice to win a ‘West’ or the North of Ireland, or any of them, to be honest,” he said.

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