Amazing O'Rourke wins St Andrews Links Trophy
 Conor O'Rourke. Picture: St Andrews Links Trust

Conor O'Rourke. Picture: St Andrews Links Trust

Conor O’Rourke completed an amazing journey from the fringes of the Irish set up to the top of the pile following his gutsy, one shot win in the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy at the Home of Golf.

The 24-year old Kildare man became only the second Irishman winner of one of amateur golf’s top event, following in the footsteps of 2009 winner Alan Dunbar, when he held off the challenge of Nairn’s Sandy Scott, adding rounds of  71 and 70 on the Old Course to a 65-69 start (New-Old) to win on 12 under par 275.

Level with two to play, O’Rourke parred the infamous Road Hole as Scott made bogey and then held on for a famous, wire-to-wire win.

Only added to the Irish Development squad last year and with only the Lucan Scratch Cup to show for it despite some fine weeks in places as diverse at Rosses Point and Baltray, playing week in and week out with the likes of Walker Cup player and club mate Jack Hume has clearly helped.

Naas has had a bumper few years with Jonathan Yates following in Hume’s footsteps as West of Ireland champion this year and there is now a very good chance that Naas, where professional Gavin Lunny has been highly influential. could make up half of Ireland’s team in the six-man European Team Championships in Paris.

“To win is fantastic, to win my first proper tournament here is just unbelievable,” he said. “The only thing I’ve won before was a wee scratch event in Ireland. I’m  just relieved I managed to keep my head together.”

Leading by one after 36 holes, he was tied with Scotland’s  Scott’s heading in the final round only to immediately find himself two ahead when the Nairn man found the Swilcan Burn for an immediate double bogey.

According to the Dundee Courier’s Steve Scott: 

"However Scott, again wearing his favoured “Duffer” woolly hat despite the summer sunshine, got one back at the fourth and made his charge around the loop with birdies the 9th and 10th, and when O’Rourke’s tee shot went over the back of the 11th, the teenager’s birdie at 12 had them tied for the final stretch.

"Scott holed out for par from 15 feet at the long 14th to stay tied only for O’Rourke to hit a nine-iron to within six inches at 15. But the Irishman handed it back  at the 16th by tugging his second shot way left and three-putting from 90 feet.

"At the 17th O’Rourke pushed his second right, bouncing over the bank but stopping on the strip of grass between the path and the road, while Scott hit his eight-iron from a good position into the infamous trap.
 Working with the Development Panel, one step below the Irish panel, on 17 January 2015

Working with the Development Panel, one step below the Irish panel, on 17 January 2015

 Skills challenge at the GUI Academy

Skills challenge at the GUI Academy

O’Rourke was able to chip to three feet and make his par, while Scott escaped from the sand but saw his par putt from ten feet burn the hole on the right.

“I was just happy to see my ball on grass of some kind,” admitted O’Rourke. “It wasn’t a great lie but I was able to do something with it.”

“My second shot was maybe a bit of nerves,” said Scott about 17. “I’d played pretty well all day and come back well from my mistake at the first, but I’m happy with my performance.

“That’s most of the events this year I’ve finished in the top 10 or 15 and I feel I’m in good form. I’ll keep wearing the hat throughout the summer, I think!”

St Andrews Links Trophy, St Andrews (New Course, Old Course x 3)

Irish at a glance

  • 1st 275 Conor O’Rourke 65 69 71 70
  • 7th 279 Dermot McElroy  71 69 69 70
  • 20th 285 Colm Campbell  68 73 71 73
  • 29th 287 Jack Hume   69 71 71 76
  • 31st 288 Robin Dawson  69 71 75 73
  • 32nd 288 Stuart Grehan  67 74 73 74
  • 37th 289 Jonathan Yates   66 74 73 76
  • 51st 297 Colin Fairweather  71 71 81 74
  • 53rd MC 143 Alex Gleeson 72 71
  • 73rd MC 144 John-Ross Galbraith 71 73

St Andrews Links Trophy, St Andrews (New Course, Old Course x 3)

Detailed scores

275 Conor O'Rourke (Ireland) 65 69 71 70

276 Sandy Scott (Nairn Golf Club) 68 67 70 71

277 Ewen Ferguson (Bearsden Golf Club) 66 70 70 71

278 Victor Veyret (France) 72 69 70 67, Calum Fyfe (Cawder Golf Club) 71 67 71 69, Jamie Savage (Cawder Golf Club) 67 71 71 69

279 Dermot McElroy (Ireland) 71 69 69 70

280 Liam Johnston (Dumfries & County Golf Club) 66 70 72 72

281 Brett Coletta (Australia) 70 71 69 71, Adam Chapman (Carus Green Golf Club) 70 69 71 71, Craig Howie (Peebles Golf Club) 65 72 72 72

282 Grant Forrest (Craigielaw Golf Club) 71 69 71 71

283 Federico Zucchetti (Italy) 71 71 74 67, David Micheluzzi (Australia) 70 70 70 73

284 Jesus Montenegro (Argentina) 70 71 72 71, Travis Smyth (Australia) 69 69 75 71, Jovan Rebula (South Africa) 67 70 75 72, Sigot Lopez (Spain) 68 72 69 75

285 Blake Collyer (Australia) 71 71 73 70, Colm Campbell (Ireland) 68 73 71 73

286 Joshua Davies (Celtic Manor Resort) 68 71 79 68, Joey Savoie (Canada) 70 72 72 72, Mark Dickson (New Golf Club St Andrews) 71 68 75 72, Jack Yule (Middleton Hall Golf Club) 67 72 71 76

287 Mateusz Gradecki (Poland) 69 73 73 72, Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood Golf Club) 70 72 70 75, Connor Syme (Drumoig Golf Club) 71 69 71 76, Owen Edwards (Llanwern Golf Club) 70 72 69 76, Jack Hume (Ireland) 69 71 71 76

288 Daniel Brown (Masham Golf Club) 69 72 74 73, Robin Dawson (Ireland) 69 71 75 73, Stuart Grehan (Ireland) 67 74 73 74

289 Lukas Lipold (Austria) 70 71 75 73, Jacopo Vecchi Fossa (Italy) 70 72 73 74, Kim Koivu (Finland) 66 69 79 75, Alejandro Del Rey Gonzalez (Spain) 66 74 74 75, Jonathan Yates (Ireland) 66 74 73 76

290 George Bloor (Cavendish Golf Club) 73 69 74 74, Andres Gallegos (Argentina) 72 67 76 75, Cameron John (Australia) 69 71 73 77

291 Alfie Plant (Sundridge Park Golf Club) 66 72 77 76

292 Daniel Sutton (Walsall Golf Club) 70 72 76 74

293 Giacomo Fortini (Italy) 69 72 76 76, Josh Hilleard (Farrington Golf Club) 70 72 74 77, Steven Robins (Hull Golf Club) 72 70 73 78, James Walker (Oaks Golf Club (The)) 70 72 72 79

294 Alexander Matlari (Germany) 72 70 74 78, Blake Windred (Australia) 68 74 73 79

295 Andrew Wilson (Wynyard Golf Club) 69 73 78 75, Sebastien Gandon (France) 67 73 77 78

297 Colin Fairweather (Ireland) 71 71 81 74