County Louth's Thomas Mulligan followed a super 65 with a 73 to cruise to a three-shot win in the 53rd edition of the Jeffers Sportsturf sponsored Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup.
Five clear of the field with 18 holes to go, the 16-year old Boys international held firm in the second round to finish on six under 138.
"I'm very happy, I played very well," said Mulligan, who was third in the Peter McEvoy Trophy 10 days ago. "The second round was a bit tougher but I got it around."
He came into the tournament as one of the favourites and it didn’t take him long to show why as he chipped in at the par-four first for a birdie three in the first round. Further birdies at the par-five seventh and par three ninth saw him turn in 33.
He moved quickly to seven under courtesy of eagle threes at 10th (15 ft) and 12th (10ft) and although he dropped his only shot of the round at the 15th he got it back on the 18th when, after a drive in excess of 300 yards, he left his chip stone dead for a tap-in birdie.
His 65 left him five shots clear of Athlone’s Thomas O’Connor and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty, who both shot two-under par 70s.
O’Connor’s round featured birdies on each of the par fives while Rafferty produced a bogey free round with birdies at the 10th and 17th.
It proved to be a big enough cushion for the youngster, who is also a member of Laytown and Bettystown, closed with a one-over par 73 to win from Baltray clubmate Gerard Dunne.
"I didn't know if there were any good scores in and said I'd try to shoot level par," Mulligan said. "I was one under through nine and let a couple slip. It rained and it got a bit windier in the afternoon but it wasn't playing that much tougher because my playing partner shot 66!"
He bogeyed the fourth and fifth on the front nine during his second round but birdies at three, six and nine moved him to eight-under for the tournament at the turn.
However, bogeys at 10 and 11 brought him back to six under and finished on that number after a birdie at 12 was cancelled by a bogey on 16.
It gave the chasing field a glimmer of hope but O’Connor shot a three-over 75 in his second round while Rafferty couldn’t find the birdies he needed to close the gap and eventually carded a 71 for a two round total of 141, three under par, and three shots adrift of Mulligan.
Rafferty was actually pipped for second place by Mulligan’s clubmate Gerard Dunne who followed a disappointing 74 with a super bogey-free second round of 67 that featured birdies on the third, seventh, 12th and 15th.
"The course was great and I know they have redeveloped the bunkers," Mulligan added, explaining that his course knowledge was key.
"I am up with the Leinster panel with Leslie Walker and I was up yesterday and got in a few holes, which was a help. The course is in great condition. The greens are nice and smooth and quick. They couldn't have been much better for this time of year on a parkland course.
"I've been going to Leinster training sessions with Leslie for five or six years and know this place very well — cold mornings coming up here, hitting balls on that range and going out for a few holes. It knocks it into you what you should be doing out there. It helped today anyway.
"It's my first win of the year and that's always nice, especially in such a big tournament with so many big names on the trophy. I think Harrington might have won it, so it's a big one."
Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup 2015
- 1st Thomas Mulligan (+1) (Co Louth) 138 (65/73)
- 2nd Gerard Dunne (+1) (Co Louth) 141 (74/67)
- 3rd Caolan Rafferty (+3) (Dundalk) 141 (70/71)
- 4th Seamus Cullen (+1) (Slieve Russell) 142 (76/66)
- Best Nett: Randal Cross (4) (Enniscrone) 144 (73/71)
- 1st 18 Gross: Thomas O’Connor (+2) (Athlone) 70
- 1st 18 Nett: Ciaran Tracey (4) (Seapoint) 71
- 2nd 18 Gross: Ryan Symington (+1) (Lisburn) 71
- 2nd 18 Nett: Stephen McCabe (3) (Headfort) 71/34.5
1st Round CSS 73 l 2nd Round CSS 73
Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup - Winners
- 2015 Thomas Mulligan (Co Louth)
- 2014 Rory McNamara (Headfort)
- 2013 Aaron Grant (Dundalk)
- 2012 Stephen Healy (Claremorris)
- 2011 Ciaran Molloy (Ardee)
- 2010 Rory Leonard (Banbridge)
- 2009 James Fox (Portmarnock)
- 2008 Derek Downie (Sutton)
- 2007 Stephen Grant (Birr)
- 2006 Simon Ward (Co Louth)
- 2005 Michael McGeady (North West)
- 2004 Des Morgan (Mullingar)
- 2003 Noel Fox (Portmarnock)
- 2002 John McGinn (Greenore)
- 2001 Michael McGeady (City of Derry)
- 2000 Michael Hoey (Shandon Park)
- 1999 Gary Cullen (Beaverstown)
- 1998 John Foster (Ballyclare)
- 1997 David Doggett (Co Louth)
- 1996 Graeme Kennedy (Skerries)
- 1995 Padraig Harrington (Stackstown)
- 1994 Colm Murphy (Clandeboye)
- 1993 Ray Moore (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1992 David Gibson (Downpatrick)
- 1991 Dan Coyle (Dundalk)
- 1990 Pat Killeen (Claremorris)
- 1989 Paul Bray (Hermitage)
- 1988 Peter Rogers (Dundalk)
- 1987 Pádraig Hogan (Elm Park)
- 1986 Barry Reddan (Co Louth)
- 1985 Frank Flynn (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1984 Paul Rayfus (Trim)
- 1983 Eddie Condren (Greystones)
- 1982 Frank Gannon (Co Louth)
- 1981 Frank Flynn (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1980 John Carr (Sutton)
- 1979 Ray Moore (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1978 Val Smyth (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1977 John Dickson (Holywood)
- 1976 Mick Morris (Portmarnock)
- 1975 Adrian Morrow (Hermitage)
- 1974 Rory McCormack (Warrenpoint)
- 1973 Declan Branigan (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1972 Declan Branigan (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1971 M.J. Malone (Belvoir Park)
- 1970 G.N. Fogarty (Royal Dublin)
- 1969 J Clynch (Laytown & Bettystown)
- 1968 Pat Mulcaire (Woodbrook)
- 1967 B.P. Malone (Tullamore)
- 1966 J.B. Carr (Sutton)
- 1965 J.B. Carr (Sutton)
- 1964 G.N. Fogarty (Royal Dublin)
- 1963 David Sheahan (Grange)