Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy set a new course record en route to a four-stroke victory in the 36-hole Rosapenna Senior Scratch Cup.
The Irish international, 19, fired a three under par 69 to set a new best for the Sandy Hills Links in his morning round before adding a level par 71 on the Old Tom Morris Links in the afternoon to win on three under 140 from Rathmore’s Ben Best, who shots rounds of 70 and 74.
British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar opened with a one over 73 but dropped four shots in a three hole stretch from the 12th on the Old Tom Morris Links in the afternoon to finish well out of the frame.
McElroy headed the field by a shot from plus one handicapper Best after carding six birdies and and three bogeys in his course record 69 with Simon Ward carding a 71 and the quintet of Dunbar, Connor Doran, Rory Leonard, Francis McGinn and Forrest Little’s Caolan Kennedy all signing for 73s.
After 27 holes, Dunbar was still in the mix on one over after going out in two under par. But the Rathmore star bogeyed the 12th and 13th and then double bogeyed the par-three 14th to see his challenge evaporate.
Best went into his final nine holes on two under total and birded the 11th and 13th to reach four under only to drop a shot at the short 14th and then double bogey the 15th and bogey the 16th and 17th to finish on one over par 144
McElroy covered his front nine of the afternoon round over the Old Tom Morris Links in two over 37 and dropped another shot on the par-four 10th to fall back to level par overall.
But he finished like a champion, notching a crucial par at the long and difficult 11th before reeling off three birdies in a row on the 12th, 13th and 14th to get back to level for his round and three under for the tournament.
He then cruised home, finishing with four solid pars to post a three under par total of 140 that left him four clear of runner-up Best with Galway’s Eddie McCormack in third place on two over 145.
Mourne’s Reeve Whitson finished fourth on five over 148 with Ardee’s Evan Farrell in fifth.
McElroy thanked the sponsor Noel McGinley of McGinley Motors of Letterkenny for his backing of an event which boasts a high quality list of winners. including world No 1 Rory McIlroy in 2005.
2012 Dermot McElroy, Ballymena
2011 Aaron Kearney, Castlerock
2010 Connor Doran, Banbridge
2009 Enda Kennedy, Rosapenna
2008 Simon Ward, Co Louth
2007 Connor Doran, Banbridge
2006 Brendan McCarroll, Ballyliffin
2005 Rory McIlroy, Holywood