Lernihan claims first professional victory after play-off

Dara Lernihan during last year's PGA Challenge. Picture: Thos Caffrey / www.golffile.ie

Dara Lernihan edged out Neil O'Briain after a three-hole play-off to win the Johnston Mooney & O'Brien PGA Challenge at Carton House and his first title as a professional at the remodelled O'Meara Course.

“Other than the triple-bogey I played pretty well all day. Didn't hole many putts but I sometimes find it hard to hole putts when it's windy,” said Lernihan.

Lernihan (Elm Park) opened his campaign with a flawless six under par round of 67 but found the blustery conditions tougher to handle yesterday, eventually signing for a two over 75 that included a triple-bogey at the 11th.

O'Briain (Old Conna), who started the second round three shots back, carded a composed one under 72 to set the clubhouse lead at four under par, which Lernihan matched with a four foot putt at the 18th.

“I wasn't too happy when I saw Neil coming out onto the practice range to warm up when I was standing over the putt at the 18th, because I thought I had it won,” added Dara.

The opening hole of the play-off was halved in bogeys, the second halved in pars before Lernihan finally triumphed when O'Briain failed to convert a par putt from seven feet.

“I was leading last year after the first round so it was nice to finally get the win this time around,” added Dara.

“I stuck to my plan today. Even though it was windy I continued to hit three-wood off the tee and just tried to keep the ball in play.”

Johnston Mooney & O'Brien PGA Challenge

At Carton House

Leading scores

T1 Dara Lernihan (Elm Park GC) 67/75 - 142 (Won after 3-hole playoff)

T1 Neil O'Briain (Old Conna GC) 70/72 - 142

T3 Robert Giles (Greenore GC) 74/72 - 146

T3 Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) 70/76 - 146

5 Noel Murray (Massereene GC) 74/73 - 147

T6 Barrie Trainor (Cairndhu GC) 75/73 - 148

T6 Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) 69/79 - 148

T8 Mark Staunton (Delgany GC) 74/75 - 149

T8 David Reilly (Westmanstown GC) 73/76 - 149

T10 Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin GC) 80/70 -150

T10 Peter O'Hagan (Luttrellstown Castle GC) 76/74 - 150

T10 Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny GC) 76/74 - 150

T10 Hazel Kavanagh (Carr Golf Services) 75/75 -150