Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell holed two crucial putts coming down the stretch to see off defending champion Paul Dunne and clinch the East of Ireland title at Baltray.
The 27-year old shot a third round 68 - holing in one at the 15th — to take a four-shot lead into the final round and then closed with a two over 74 to win by two from Dunne on six under.
Having lost his 54-hole lead by the fifth in the final round, he dug deep to move clear after thanks to a series of clutch putts - a 15 footer for par at the ninth, a 10 footer for birdie at the 10th and a 15 footer for par at the 11th
Dunne made a birdie at the 12th to close within three and it took a 20 foot par putts by Campbell at the 16th to retain that lead.
Dunne refused to go away and birdied the 17th from 10 feet, which forced Campbell to hole an eight dotter for par there to go down the par-five 18th with a two shot cushion.
With Dunne driving it a trap on the left, Campbell wisely laid up off the tee with a three iron and two-putted for par and a title that puts him in the frame for a UIster return and a possible Ireland call up.
He beamed: “That’s the icing on the cake, it is what I have always been working towards.
“To get one of these championships isn’t easy come by, there are a lot of great players out there.
“I played really, really good all week. Tee to green, I was really solid.”
He immediately paid tribute to his caddie and uncle, former amateur legend Paddy Gribben, who was crucial when things got tight early in the final round and again coming down the stretch.
Campbell said: “He has been there, he has been at the top and he knows what it is all about. He is there to give you a wee word in your ear, keep you calm, try not to let you get too far ahead.
“His experience really helped me over the four rounds as well.”
Campbell and Dunne were tied for the lead at halfway but the Greystones man shot 76 in the morning and couldn’t quite recover.
Dunne said: “My long game let me down today really. I just didn't hit it in the right spots to make birdies and was scrambling a lot on the back nine.
“He doesn't like to miss putts and the two putts he holed on 16 and 17 were big.
“So congrats to Colm, he played great. He deserved to win today. He played better than I did.”
West Waterford’s Gary Hurley (72-72) was third on level par with Limerick’s Pat Murray (67-76) and Cork’s Gary O’Flaherty (71-77) tied for fourth on one over.
282 Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) 72 68 68 74
284 Paul Dunne (Greystones) 68 72 76 68
288 Gary Hurley (West Waterford) 74 70 72 72
290 James Fox (Portmarnock) 76 73 70 71
294 Gary Collins (Rosslare) 74 73 74 73
295 Steffan O'Hara (Co. Sligo) 75 76 75 69
304 Tony O'Leary (Wexford) 76 73 79 76
306 William Hanna (Kilkeel) 74 75 77 80
311 Brian O'Reilly (Athenry) 74 72 84 81
313 Shane McGlynn (Carton House) 76 73 84 80
1639 - Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell has a three stroke lead over Paul Dunne and Gary O'Flaherty with nine holes to play in the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray.
Campbell, 27, leads on 5 under par — 3 over for the day — with Pat Murray back to one over for the championship, four over for his final round after 12 holes.
2:05pm: Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell had a hole-in-one at the 15th en route to a third round 68 and a four-stroke lead over Cork's Gary O'Flaherty (71) on eight under par heading into this afternoon's final round in the East of Ireland Amateur Open at Baltray. LIVE SCORING
The 27 year old started the day tied for the lead on four under with defending champion Paul Dunne of Greystones, one clear of O'Flaherty. But the Greystones man had a morning to forget, carding a four over par 76 to slip back to level par alongside Gary Hurley (72) and Eoin Arthurs (71).
Birdies at the second, sixth and eighth and a bogey at the ninth saw Campbell move to 6 under of the Championship through the turn before he following a birdie at the 12th with an ace at the 15th to go five under for the day.
He bogeyed the 16th to lead on eight under but looked on as O'Flaherty made his fourth bogey of the day at the 18th to leave him four clear with a round to play.
Limerick's Pat Murray fired a five under par 67 to get in at three under par 213 and then picked up two birdies in the first three holes of his final round to join O'Flaherty as Campbell's nearest rival on five under.
A former Irish Close and South of Ireland champion, Murray birdied the first and sixth in his third round and followed a bogey at the eighth with a birdie at the ninth to turn in two under 35. He then came home in three under 32 with further birdies at the 13th, 15th and 18th for a super 67.
Former European Tour pro Stephen Browne had faint hopes of mounting a final day charge from five over but after a birdie at the 11th, he bogeyed the 17th to go out in level and then crashed to a horror 45 on the homeward nine for an 80 that left him on 13 over.
After 54 holes
Par (72) CSS 75 SSS 74
208 Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) 72 68 68
212 Gary O'Flaherty (Cork) 70 71 71
213 Pat Murray (Limerick) 72 74 67
216 Paul Dunne (Greystones) 68 72 76 , Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little.) 75 70 71 , Gary Hurley (West Waterford) 74 70 72
219 James Fox (Portmarnock) 76 73 70 , Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 74 74 71
220 Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) 69 76 75 , John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) 73 73 74 , Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) 78 72 70 , Alex Gleeson (Castle) 72 75 73 , Michael Sinclair (Knock) 71 79 70
222 Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) 70 75 77 , Connor Doran (Banbridge) 75 75 72 , Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 79 70 73 , Sean Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 75 70 77 , Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) 71 77 74 , Aaron Grant (Dundalk) 75 71 76 , John Hickey (Cork) 75 74 73
223 Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 73 73 77 , Niall Gorey (Palmerstown Stud) 71 78 74 , Chris Carroll (Shandon Park) 72 75 76
225 Alan Lowry (Esker Hills) 75 75 75
217 Paul Reavey (Warrenpoint) 70 76 71
221 Gary Collins (Rosslare) 74 73 74 , Kevin Le Blanc (The Island) 71 75 75 , Eddie McCormack (Galway) 74 72 75
226 Steffan O'Hara (Co. Sligo) 75 76 75 , Jeff Hopkins (The Royal Dublin) 77 73 76 , Ally Purdy (Ballyclare) 76 73 77 , Ben Best (Rathmore) 74 76 76 , William Hanna (Kilkeel) 74 75 77 , James Lindsay (North West) 76 73 77 , Keith Egan (Carton House) 77 74 75 , Eugene Smith (Ardee) 72 77 77
224 Conor O'Rourke (Naas) 76 68 80 , Harry McHugh (Skerries) 68 79 77 , Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 78 69 77
227 Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 76 74 77 , Mark O'Rourke (Royal Tara) 77 73 77 , Caolan Kennedy (Forrest Little.) 73 76 78
228 Tony O'Leary (Wexford) 76 73 79 , Phillip Purdy (Shandon Park) 76 75 77
229 Liam Ashby (Naas) 76 74 79 , Stephen Browne (Hermitage) 75 74 80
233 Shane McGlynn (Carton House) 76 73 84 , Matthew Wylie (Portugal) 73 78 82
230 Brian O'Reilly (Athenry) 74 72 84
231 Alan Thomas (Dungarvan) 74 77 80
235 Simon Bryan (Delgany) 73 75 87
11.21 — Shane Lowry is out on the links where Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell has a one stroke lead over Cork's Gary O'Flaherty on six under par after nine holes of the third round at Co Louth.
The 27-year old and Cork veteran O'Flaherty are both two under par for the day with defending champion Paul Dune from Greystones now three shots off the pace, one over for the day and back to three under.
West Waterford's Gary Hurley turned in one under to sit alone in fourth on one under for the championship with former winner Eoin Arthurs (one under), Barry Anderson (two under) and Pat Murray (two under) tied for fifth on level par.
European Tour player Lowry has made an appearance and is following his brother Alan, who is eight over for the championship late in the third round.
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