Nicky Grant taps in at the last to claim victory in Mullingar.Nicky Grant would be the first to admit that he deserved to be suspended by the GUI for going out on the town and then missing a flight home on an official trip in 2006.

He looked likely to make the senior Home International team that year but got a six-month suspension instead. Yet even the hardest of hearts would be hard pressed to justify his apparent banishment from the  Irish panel since that dark day.

A consistently solid and frequently outstanding performer over the past five years, it seems odd that he hasn’t been recalled from the wilderness.

But he hopes it’s not too late to win the first official green blazer following his impressive five-stroke win in the prestigious Mullingar Grant Thornton Scratch Trophy on Sunday.

The 24-year old closed with a brace of three under par 69’s on the final day to finish on six under par 282, five strokes clear of Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith (74) and six ahead of recently selected Walker Cup player Paul Cutler (75) and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan (70).

After following in the footsteps of major winners Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy with victory in Mullingar, he’s contemplaing a plunge into the paid ranks at the end of next season and he wants to make that move as a fully-fledged international

“This is a wonderful tournament to win with such a great list of past winners and hopefully now I can get into the Irish panel again, which is something I have been trying to do for the last three or four years,” said the former Boys and Youth International who played an unofficial match for Ireland against the Metropolitan Golf Association of New York before his banishment.

“I was fourth in the Order of Merit two years ago and didn’t make so it would be a huge thrill to get an Irish cap before turning professional.”

Fourth in this year’s Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin, Grant’s Mullingar win was his first significant victory since he beat European Tour winner Oliver Fisher to claim the prestigious Faldo Junior Series in 2003.

He was two shots behind leaders Galbraith and Cutler after the opening two rounds on Saturday, but he defied squally conditions to shoot a third round 69 and grab a share of the lead with his fellow Ulstermen on three under par entering the afternoon finale.

Hitting the ball imperiously from tee to green, he fired a five iron to just four feet at the par-five fourth and while missed the eagle putt, he was off and running and never looked like being caught.

After pitching in for a birdie at the seventh to turn in 33, he headed for home three shots clear of Galbraith on five under and six ahead of Cutler, who doubled the fifth and then bogeyed the seventh and eighth to go out in 39.

Grant bogeyed the 10th when he was forced to chip out after a pushed drive but he holed two 20 footers for birdie at the 12th and 13th, before picking up a two-putt birdie at the 16th to get to seven under and move six clear of his rivals.

Cutler picked up a couple of birdie fours coming home but bogeyed the last for a 75 to finish on level par 288 in his final official event before he joins Alan Dunbar and the rest of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup squad in Scotland next weekend for their final week of preparations for the matches at Royal Aberdeen.

“It was a pretty average week for me to be honest and I didn’t play my best but I just struggled on the front nine this afternoon,” Cutler said. “Nicky has been a a good player for a very long time and it’s great to see him win one. I’m very surprised he hasn’t been on the Irish panel for the last few years because he has gone well, especially in the Irish Amateur Open.”

Playing in the penultimate group with Richard Bridges and James Monaghan, Grant two-putted birdied the par-five 16th to move six clear on seven under but went left into trouble at the 17th and bogeyed there before calmly two putting the last for victory.

Alan Dunbar drives off the 16th in the final round. Dunbar again failed to produce his best golf in Mullingar but showed signs that he is not far away despite closing with rounds of 75 and 72 to finish tied for 12th on eight over.

“I played well on the back nine but finished bogey-bogey,”Dunbar said. “I’m just looking forward to the Walker Cup now. I’ve been working on my game a lot this year with my coach Seamus Duffy and it’s going well. Hopefully I’ll be sharp for the Walker Cup because I’m really looking forward to it.”

As for criticism of his Walker Cup call up in Scottish circles following the non-selection of local boy David Law, Dunbar said: “It doesn’t bother me.”

Mullingar Grant Thornton Scratch Trophy 2011

Final scores

282 N Grant (Knock) 73 71 69 69

287 J Galbraith (Whitehead) 72 70 71 74

288 G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 71 75 72 70, P Cutler (Portstewart) 70 72 71 75

290 J Greene (Carlow) 78 72 68 72

292 S Healy (Claremorris) 75 78 72 67

293 D Morgan (Mullingar) 70 76 71 76

294 R Cannon (Balbriggan) 75 74 72 73

295 D Murphy (Portarlington) 75 72 72 76, J Monaghan (The Island) 75 70 75 75, C O’Malley (Westport) 73 77 73 72

296 A Dunbar (Rathmore) 77 72 75 72, S Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 75 74 72 75, C McKenna (Mallow) 75 74 71 76

297 J Hickey (Cork) 79 69 74 75

298 R Whitson (Mourne) 75 72 73 78, E Smith (Ardee) 74 75 76 73, M Shanahan (West Waterford) 73 75 72 78, I Brennan (Greenore) 69 74 75 80

299 A Doran (Ardee) 78 74 73 74, M McAlpin (Royal Portrush) 74 75 76 74, B Walton (The Island) 73 74 76 76

300 K McDonagh (Athlone) 79 76 72 73, R Walsh (Kilkenny) 74 76 77 73

301 S Ward (Co. Louth) 78 75 77 71, P O’Kane (Moyola Park) 77 77 76 71, J Lyons (Birr) 71 74 80 76

302 C O’Rourke (Naas) 77 75 79 71, S O’Connor (Skerries) 76 75 75 76, C Molloy (Ardee) 74 73 79 76

303 S Brady (Co. Sligo) 80 70 76 77, G Lawlor (Newbridge) 70 79 77 77

304 Q Carew (Edenderry) 81 71 78 74, P Connolly (Clontarf) 77 74 80 73, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 77 74 78 75

305 S Grehan (Tullamore) 79 75 74 77, K Rafferty (Greenore) 74 81 78 72

306 R Bridges (Stackstown) 72 73 80 81

307 C Glynn (Carton House) 73 74 84 76

309 J O’Rourke (Mullingar) 76 75 80 78

311 G Carew (Edenderry) 74 77 80 80

313 D Reidy (Co. Sligo) 74 80 81 78

314 C Tormey (Mullingar) 79 76 81 78

315 L Grehan (Mullingar) 78 75 80 82

NR A Grant (Killinbeg) 74 76 75 NR, J Leacy (Dungarvan) 75 75 NR

WTD R McNamara (Headford) 72 75 78 WTD, S McGlynn (South County) 78 75 79 WTD

Non-qualifiers:

156 G Shaw (Mullingar) 82 74, P O’Leary (Lucan) 82 74, R McKinley (Mullingar) 79 77, J McGuinness (Tullamore) 79 77, D Lally (Mullingar) 78 78, S Walsh (Baltinglass) 77 79

157 D Couglan (The Royal Dublin) 81 76, L Hutchinson (The Royal Dublin) 79 78, M Kelly (Mullingar) 78 79, D Holland (Castle) 78 79, D Higgins (Co. Meath) 78 79, A Lowry (Esker Hills) 77 80, J McGinn (L’town & B’town) 75 82

158 K Stack (Tralee) 78 80

159 R Symington (Lisburn) 78 81

160 D Foy (L’town & B’town) 81 79, B McCormack (Castlebarna) 79 81

161 C Moulds (Lisburn) 82 79, D Ruddy (Co Tipperary) 82 79, S McCabe (Killeen) 77 84

162 M Judge (Stackstown) 83 79

163 D King (Tramore) 87 76

164 S Quinlan (Killeen) 83 81, L McMillan (Blessington Lakes) 78 86

165 J Pierse (Grange) 84 81, P Burke (Mullingar) 82 83

166 K Egan (Curragh) 85 81

167 P Coughlan (Moate) 89 78

168 N O’Hare (Castleknock) 84 84

NR C Drumm (Rosslare) 77 NR, P McCrudden (Royal Portrush)

RTD R O’Donovan (Lucan) 74 RTD, C Cunningham (Carton House) 77 77, G McGrane (The Royal Dublin) 72 80