PGA Europro Tour — Gavin Moynihan shot a third successive 68 to beat best pal Dermot McElroy by a stroke and claim his maiden professional title after a top quality battle for the Lookers Championship at Close House.
The 22-year old from The Island began the third and final round one stroke behind 23-year old Ballymena man McElroy in Newcastle upon Tyne.
But after going out in 33 to go one ahead, he started back par-bogey to McElroy's birdie-birdie to find himself one behind again before birdies at the 13th and 17th, and a solid closing par gave him his first win and a cheque for £10,000.
“I am delighted to win,” said Moynihan, who finish on nine-under-par.
“It was a good battle there with myself and Dermot. I had a great start to be three under after eight. Then I had a bogey at 11 and Dermot had gone birdie, birdie so suddenly from one ahead I was one behind and a little bit shell-shocked.
"But I knew I was playing well, and the last six holes I played really well – the approach into 18 was probably my best shot of the day.
“Myself and Dermot played GB&I boys teams together and were foursomes partners. We have known each other since we were 14, we are best friends.
"It made it easier for me because I like to have a chat through the round, so it was probably to both of our advantages.
“My game has been there for a long time but I haven’t really got much out of it, but hopefully this is the start of a good year for me.”
McElroy finished on eight-under after rounds of 67, 68 and 70 on the par-71 Colt Course at Close House and the pair are now first and second on the Order of Merit after the opening tournament of the season as they seek Top-5 status and automatic promotion to the European Challenge Tour.
"It was a great battle," Moynihan added. "Both of us played great on a very tough track. But my putter was good today, and I drove it great all week, as I have been all year.
"The game been good for a while so great to see the results come in.
"The plan now is to play the EuroPro Tour event in Ireland in a few weeks, then Challenge Tour events in Spain and Switzerland."
Moortown's Nick McCarthy (69, 69, 68) finished two behind Moynihan in third on seven under tournament with Clandeboye's Jonny Caldwell (69-72-67) finishing in a five-way tied for fourth on five-under.
The HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour season continues with the Great National Hotels Irish Masters at Ballykisteen Golf Hotel in Tipperary from May 10-12.
Highlights of the Lookers Championship will air on Sky Sports on Tuesday, May 9.
The Lookers Championship, Close House (Colt Course, Par 71)
- 1 Gavin Moynihan (ISM) 68 68 68 204 £10,000.00
- 2 Dermot McElroy (Ballymena GC) 67 68 70 205 £6,000.00
- T4 Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye GC) 69 72 67 208 £1,475.00
- T16 Niall Kearney (The Royal Dublin) 69 71 71 211 £522.14
- T48 Brian McElhinney (North West GC) 72 71 74 217 £297.50.