Determination and patience won the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush for Chris Selfridge. In Saturday's final he defeated Gary Hurley by 2 and 1 after considering pulling out of the race before tee-off.
“I was sick on the days leading up to the championship and was on the point of withdrawing but then decided to give it a go. I really wanted to play in the event and my coach, Johnny Foster, wanted me to play, even if I was sick.
“Johnny told me that he had a real good feeling that I could do well at the North this year,” revealed Selfridge.
Foster’s feeling proved spot on, as Selfridge eased through the matchplay field after qualifying on the cut-off mark.
“I did feel a bit under pressure as Gary (Hurley) got off to a good start but I had faith in my own ability so I just told myself to stay patient. I knew I had it in me to win,” stressed the Moyola Park player.
Maynooth undergraduate Hurley (20) stormed off by winning the first hole when Selfridge missed from five feet, but the new champion’s touch on the greens was back in evidence when he rolled in a 20-footer at the fourth hole for the first of his five birdies to level the match.
The next four holes were halved before Selfridge got his nose in front at the ninth to turn one up. He was three feet from the pin and when Hurley missed par from four feet he conceded his opponent’s putt.
It was back to square at 10, however, when Hurley rolled a 60-foot downhill putt to three feet and Selfridge, after sending his 20-footer four feet past, missed the return. At the 12th hole, Selfridge slotted in a birdie three from 25 feet and Hurley missed from five.
Toledo-based Selfridge went two up at 15 as Hurley was in rough twice and also in bunker trouble.
The match ended two holes later. Hurley was pin high right with a fairway wood as Selfridge was 80 yards short with a six Iron but steered his third approach to six inches. Hurley needed to hole his chip for eagle to keep the match alive but he missed on the right and the Moyola man was champion.
"I made five birdies and two bogeys which wasn't bad for a final and I was well under par all week. I'm delighted," enthused the new champion.
Final - C Selfridge (Moyola Park) bt G Hurley (West Waterford/NUIM) 2 and 1.