South Africa’s Martin Vorster coasts to East of Ireland Championship triumph

Paul O’Hanlon from Carton House finishes second after losing touch down the final stretch

 Martin Vorster (South Africa) celebrates with the East of Ireland Championship trophy after his victory at County Louth Golf Club. Photograph: Pat Cashman

Martin Vorster (South Africa) celebrates with the East of Ireland Championship trophy after his victory at County Louth Golf Club. Photograph: Pat Cashman

 

South Africa’s Martin Vorster became the second teenage winner in the history of the East of Ireland Championship as he strode to a four-shot win at County Louth Golf Club in Baltray.

A brisk southwest wind that gusted to close to 30 mph at times proved no obstacle to the tall and powerful youngster from Mossel Bay in Western Cape Province as he who closed with a brace of five-under 67s to win from 2016 champion Paul O’Hanlon from Carton House on nine-under 279.

At the age of 17 years, four months and 12 days, he was just seven days older than last year’s winner Christo Lambrecht, who is a close friend and fellow product of the Louis Oosthuizen Academy and the GolfRSA set-up funded by South Africa billionaire, Johann Rupert.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Vorster, who won last year’s Junior British Open at St Andrews. “I have been close quite a bit the last few months to finally push through, I have no words. It’s a pretty amazing feeling. This is my first international senior win and it’s a big one for me. Hopefully the first of many.”

Vorster started the final day four strokes behind County Louth’s Adam Doran on one-over par but raced through the field in the morning, hitting 17 greens in regulation in a bogey-free, five-under 67 to lead by a shot at lunch from O’Hanlon, who shot 70, on four-under par.

Pulled clear

He then went out in two-under 35 in the afternoon and while O’Hanlon, who was playing two groups behind, birdied the 10th and 11th to get within one stroke of the eventual winner, Vorster pulled clear down the stretch.

After getting up and down for birdie from rough right of the 14th to go two ahead, he hit a six-iron to a foot at the 17th and then birdied the last with a facile chip and putt from just off the green

“I think that was the best six-iron of my life,” he said of his tee shot to the 17th. “It was 165 metres straight into the wind and I just wanted to hit a small draw six iron and to hit it to a foot was fantastic.”

He wasn’t the only one smiling afterwards as word filtered through that the local caddies had already spotted his talent in practice and made a small killing on him at odds of 20-1.

EAST OF IRELAND AMATEUR OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, County Louth GC (Par 72) Final scores

279 M Vorster (RSA) 72 73 67 67;

283 P O’Hanlon (Carton House) 69 74 70 70;

285 C Campbell (Warrenpoint) 69 75 73 68;

286 R Brazill (Naas) 71 77 67 71;

287 P O’ Keeffe (Douglas) 71 74 73 69;

288 R Mullarney (Galway) 73 75 72 68, A Lowry (Esker Hills) 70 77 70 71, S Flanagan (Portmarnock) 70 76 69 73, G Cullen (Links Portmarnock) 67 77 76 68;

289 H O’Hare (Fortwilliam) 70 77 72 70, Y Premlall (RSA) 68 77 72 72, S Ryan (Royal Dublin) 70 72 76 71, A Doran (Co Louth) 70 71 77 71;

290 J Duminy (RSA) 70 76 72 72, P Murphy (Rosslare) 68 78 71 73;

291 G Dunne (Co. Louth) 70 78 73 70, T McLarnon (Massereene) 70 77 72 72, M Boucher (Carton House) 73 72 74 72, G O’Mahony (Fota Island) 70 75 71 75, E Smith (Links Portmarnock) 68 74 77 72;

292 D Brady (Co. Sligo) 74 73 76 69, D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 71 72 74 75;

293 S Desmond (Monkstown) 69 78 74 72, O Brown (Wal) 68 78 74 73, S Walsh (Portmarnock) 69 76 75 73, H Foley (Royal Dublin) 69 76 75 73;

294 J Gourley (Shandon Park) 73 75 75 71, K Egan (Carton House) 70 78 73 73, D Morley (Oughterard) 68 78 77 71, C Jarvis (RSA) 72 73 78 71;

295 J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 73 75 73 74, J Blake (Island) 71 76 80 68, D Flynn (Carton House) 71 76 76 72, M McClean (Malone) 66 80 77 72, R McCormack (Palmerstown House Estate) 69 73 78 75;

296 B Best (Rathmore) 72 75 78 71, S Murphy (Portumna) 70 77 75 74, J Madden (Royal Portrush) 72 74 71 79, F O’Sullivan (Tralee) 71 73 76 76, A Ryan (Thurles) 71 72 77 76;

297 R Moran (Castle) 73 74 74 76;

298 E Murphy (Dundalk) 73 75 78 72, P McKeever (Castle) 71 75 75 77;

299 L Power (Galway) 70 78 76 75, P Murray (Clontarf) 69 75 77 78;

300 R McNelis (Fintona) 73 75 76 76, D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) 71 76 78 75, G Smyth (Clonmel) 72 74 80 74;

301 W Small (Tandragee) 67 81 76 77, T Ford (Co. Sligo) 74 74 73 80;

302 J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little) 76 72 77 77;

303 D Shaw (Belvoir Park) 72 75 77 79;

RTD 226 A McCabe (Links Portmarnock) 72 72 82; RTD 148 S Carter (Royal Dublin) 73 75.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.