Crowds gather for the start of the 2013 South of Ireland final. County Louth’s Simon Ward left the amateur ranks as a winner when he beat Kilkenny’s Paul O’Hara at the 19th in a high competitive South of Ireland Amateur Open final at Lahinch.

Played in wind and rain with occasional bursts of sunshine, it ended at the first extra hole when 34-year old Kilkenny player O’Hara three putted from off the back of the green, missing a putt of little more than four feet to stay alive.

It was a sad end to a tremendous tussle in which the lead changed hands three times and while there was never more than a hole in it at any stage, only six holes were halved.

Ward, who won this title as a 19 year old in 2006, now turns his sights to the professional game and a tilt and the European Tour qualifying school in September.

South of Ireland Amateur Open


Paul O’Hara (Kilkenny) bt Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) 6/5

Simon Ward (Co Louth) bt Alex Gleeson (Castle) 2/1

Final (Wednesday 31 July 2.15pm)

Simon Ward (Co Louth) bt Paul O’Hara (Kilkenny) 19th

Play by play

1st halved in par fours. All square

2nd Ward hits two great shots to the green and lags dead for birdie. O’Hara lays up and pitches to 15 ft but misses. Ward 1 up.

3rd O’Hara short in two, chips to 4ft. Ward two putts from 50ft, holing five footer. O’Hara makes. Ward 1 up.

4th Both miss the fairway, lay up and two putt. Ward 1 up.

5th Ward finds front right with pin back left. O’Hara, beeped by passing car, backs off then comes up short on the hill. O’Hara pitches to 8ft but Ward lags poorly. Still away. Misses for par. O’Hara to square against the head. Wriggles it in. All square.

6th Fine two putt par for O’Hara as Ward misses the green left and fails to save par from 20ft. O’Hara 1 up.

7th O’Hara three putts for bogey from 25ft. Misses a short putt, perhaps three feet. Match all square.

8th Kilkenny’s Paul O’Hara stone dead. Conceded birdie. Ward can’t match him from long range. O’Hara 1 up

9th O’Hara left off the tee, moves second just 50 yards from the deep stuff, doesn’t make the green with his third or fourth with Ward 12ft away for birdie. Concedes. All square.

10th On march the Lahinch hordes. Both men short in two
O’Hara has this 10 footer for par. Ward chipped to three feet.
‘Hara lips out from around 10-12 feet for par and Ward, who chipped to three feet, makes no mistake. Ward 1 up

Seven holes in a row without a half.

12th Ward two putts from 25ft for birdie. O’Hara, in rough left off the tee, made a great four to halve, pitching to three feet. All square.

13th Both have 30-40 yard pitches. O’Hara doesn’t make the correct tier. Par. Ward has ticklish eight footer but misses low. All square.

14th O’Hara has to lay up after a pulled tee shot. Can’t save par from 30ft and Ward makes a simple but impressive regulation par. Ward 1 up

15th O’Hara just off the front edge but Ward in bother now, right of the right-hand, green side bunker.

O’Hara putts up to 21/2 ft. Excellent from 50ft. Ward pitches to 5ft, holes and concedes half. Ward still 1 up.

16th Ward putt from just off front right to back pin. And off the back into the swale. Wow. O’Hara has nearly 30ft for birdie. He’s been the main culprit for the slow play - 4hrs 30 plus so far. Two putts for par,Ward fails to chip in, narrowly. All square.

17th Both have lengthy birdie putts. O’Hara goes 7ft past from front edge but Ward’s 45-50 footer is 10-12ft short. He misses right. Bogey. O’Hara, who hasn’t been to the 18th all week, has 7ft to go to the last 1 up. No!!! All square. #squeakybumtime

18th Both find fairway trap right. O’Hara in right rough, Ward finds fairway.

O’Hara with 200 yards to stick, barely clambers over front right trap. Fortune favours the brave. Just short. Ward finds the green, just on.

@IrishGolfDesk: Correction. It’s only been 4 hrs 15 but it feels like 5. O’Hara weighing up his chip. 25 yards and he hits it inside 3 ft. Conceded.

Ward for the title. He’s walking it in…..from 35 ft… So close. Up the 19th we go.

19th Warm and breezy now. Good crowd out. O’Hara in right rough. Ward on short grass.

Ward hits the green at lags dead from 25ft. O’Hara went over the back and elects to putt. Speedy. Careful now.

Excellent putt. Has a 3 footer back to continue [in hindsight it was more than four feet]. Misses left. Simon Ward wins at the 19th. Cruel game.


Playing in horrific conditions, the 2006 champion beat Castle’s Alex Gleeson 2 and 1 in what will be his last major Irish championship appearance before he takes the plunge into the professional ranks later this year.

O’Hara, 34, continues to play very solidly and was simply too resilient for an out-of-sorts Ryan McKinstry of Cairndhu in the first semi-final, winning four holes in a row from the seventh en route to a 6 and 5 victory.

Simon Ward (Co. Louth) on the first green during the South of Ireland Amateur Open Championship Semi-Finals at Lahinch Golf Club 31th July 2013 Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ieWith puddles forming in parts of the course, the final has been put back from 2pm to 2.15pm though the rain has now eased somewhat.

Final (Wednesday 31 July 2.15pm)

Paul O’Hara (Kilkenny) v Simon Ward (Co Louth)

Semi-finals (Wednesday 31 July)

Paul O’Hara (Kilkenny) bt Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) 6/5

Simon Ward (Co Louth) bt Alex Gleeson (Castle) 2/1