Mary Dowling brilliantly holed a slippery eight foot birdie putt on the 18th to beat Curtis Cup star Leona Maguire one up and clinch her first Lancome Irish Women’s Close title at Portstewart.
The New Ross player lost heavily to Leona’s twin sister Lisa at Fota Island last year but she exacted sweet revenge on the Maguire clan with a dramatic victory in Wednesday’s final.
Dowling got off to a great start with a birdie at the first and solid pars at the next three holes putting her tow up after four.
She extended her lead to three holes at the next with a solid two putt par from the bottom tier as Maguire failed to get up and down for a half.
The Slieve Russell talent hit back, winning the sixth and seventh in par to cut the gap to just one hole and then squared the match at the 10th, where Dowling failed to save par after being awkwardly bunkered.
The Cavan teenager edge ahead for the first time with a birdie at the 312-yard 11th but it soon became obvious that Dowling was not prepared to come up short for the second year in a row.
In trouble at the par-five 13th, she rescued a brilliant half in par when she hit a 200 yard third into the heart of the green and two putted to remain just one down.
And while Maguire birdied the 14th from 12 feet to go two up, she was quickly pegged back to all square when she failed to get up and down from greenside sand for halves at the par-three 15th and again the tough 16th, where Dowling sank a six footer for the win.
Still all square after halving the 17th in par, the finalists went to the par-five 18th with the title on the line.
Both players were just short of the green in two but Dowling chipped to closer.
Maguire knocked her 12 foot birdie chance three feet past and looked on as Dowling sized up a treacherous, downhill right to left from eight feet for the title and duly slotted it home to rapturous applause.