English golfer Tom Etridge spoke of his pride after he claimed a thrilling play-off victory over Joe Lyons (Galway) for the Irish Senior Men’s Amateur Open Championship.
The eventual winner carded a closing 70 to join Lyons on the top of the leaderboard and bring the drama to a play-off in Hermitage Golf Club.
The play-off continued into a second hole and when Lyons missed a four-foot putt, the 51-year-old Sunningdale star tapped in to seal a famous win.
“Much like the rest of my round, I didn’t hit the ball that well in the play-off but I managed to get it around,” said Etridge.
“I’m lucky, Joe didn’t hit a very good putt there and he will be disappointed. I’m sorry for him because he played well today. Unfortunately, that’s golf sometimes.
“I’m hugely proud to win. It’s a super event to get across the line. Just delighted, it was great fun. This is the first thing I’ve won this year. I won a couple of things last year but nothing like this. I’m very proud.”
Etridge was red hot with his putter all day and he needed it down the home stretch of his third round. 16 was the highlight when he had to chip out sideways onto the fairway after an errant tee shot, only to get up and down from 144 yards.
He holed crucial putts on 17 and 18 too to tie with Lyons on level par and send it to a play-off. Lyons shot six birdies in his round with his birdie on 18 securing a 68 and the clubhouse lead, only for Etridge to hold his nerve when the pressure came on.
The players halved their first play-off hole and when Lyons missed his short putt it was left for Etridge to seal the win.
“I just wanted to play my game and give myself a chance,” said Etridge.
“I didn’t start with a very good first round. I had five birdies and then a bunch of bogeys and started with a 74. So I knew yesterday I had to play well and get back into contention. I had a 69 which I thought would get me a little closer but didn’t expect to be one shot back which was lucky because some of the leaders didn’t have a great day.
“It gave me a decent chance and here I am on the last day. I didn’t hit the ball well but I managed to get up and down and got it around and that’s golf.”