Lester bags big game at TPC Deere Run — three-shot win

Lester bags big game at TPC Deere Run — three-shot win
 Rowan Lester. Picture:  Pat Cashman

Rowan Lester. Picture: Pat Cashman

Freshman Rowan Lester completed a wire-to-wire win in the NAIA Individual National Championship TPC Deere Run in Illinois.

The Dubliner closed with a final round 74 at the rain-soaked tour track 160 miles west of Chicago on Friday to win by three shots on three-over 287.

His performance led the Texas Wesleyan University Rams back into contention for the title on their way to a third place finish.

Lester's win marked the second consecutive year that the NAIA Individual title was won by a freshman from Texas Wesleyan following David Ravetto's win last season.

Scores

 Rowan Lester in action for Texas Wesleyan

Rowan Lester in action for Texas Wesleyan

The Hermitage international stormed in front with a two under  69 on a windy opening day, then added two 72s to lead by one with a round to go before closing out a three-stroke win with a grinding 74 in tough conditions.

"It was similar to yesterday," Lester said following the final round. "I didn't play that well, but I chipped and putted amazingly. From number nine to fourteen, I think I had four one-putts and many of those were to par. 

"That kept me in it. I stuck to what I could hit well, and my putting was just amazing all week."

Lester's title extended Texas Wesleyan's record to 11 individual national championships. The top-5 finish was Texas Wesleyan's 37th top-5 finish at the NAIA National Championship all-time.

The 21-year-old flies home on Sunday and is one of 10 Irish players entered for the Brabazon Trophy, which begins at Woodhall Spa on Thursday.

Brabazon Trophy entrants

More details

  • Alex Gleeson Castle
  • Colin Fairweather Knock
  • Colm Campbell Warrenpoint
  • Conor O'Rourke Naas Golf Club
  • Conor Purcell Portmarnock
  • John Ross Galbraith Whitehead
  • Kevin LeBlanc The Island
  • Robin Dawson Tramore
  • Rowan Lester Hermitage
  • Tiarnan McLarnon Massereene