Lyons wins the West

By Brian Keogh

Banagher bruiser Joe Lyons produced a sensational putting show to grab the Radisson-SAS West of Ireland title at Rosses Point.

The quiet man from Galway Golf Club, 34, holed a series of incredible putts to stay alive against Portstewart young gun Paul Cutler.

But with his wife Vera reading the line, Lyons rolled in a sweet six footer at the 18th to win by one hole and notch his first amateur Major.

But he admitted that his week started so badly that he thought he was better off elsewhere.

Lyons beamed: "I started 6-6-5 in the qualifying last Friday and I was walking to the fourth tee on four over par thinking, 'What am I doing here?' To shoot 72 after that as the best achievement of the week."

In the morning semi-finals he closed out a 2 and 1 win over Simon Ward with a 40 footer at the 17th.

And it was hit putter that made the difference against Cutler in a tight, tense final.

The Portstewart ace, 18, beat red-hot favourite Rory McIlroy in the quarter-finals.

And while his putting was incredible in a 20th hole win over Strandhill's Tommy McGowan in the morning semi-finals, he had no answer to Lyons in a final that was watched by over 500 fans including former Republic of Ireland boss Jackie Charlton.

Lyons went two up after five and while he lost the sixth and seventh, he holed a 30 footer at the ninth to go one up.

The former Birr player three putted the 13th to go back to all square.

But that wake up call spurred him on a superb putting performance over the last five holes.

Par putts of between 10 and 25 feet gave him unlikely halves at the 14th, 15th and 16th.

And when Cutler missed a tricky five footer for a win at the 17th, Lyons took full advantage at the 18th with that super six-footer.

Lyons added: "Winning Senior Cup with Galway last year was brilliant and I put this on a par with that. It is nice to win something individual. It's special, I have to say."

J Lyons (Galway) bt S Ward (Co Louth) 2/1;
P Cutler (Portstewart) bt t McGowan (Co Sligo) 20th.

Final: J Lyons bt P Cutler 1 hole.