Eddie comes of age in Portumna
 Eddie McCormack and his daughter Aoife show off the Connacht Stroke Play Championship trophy after his victory at Portumna

Eddie McCormack and his daughter Aoife show off the Connacht Stroke Play Championship trophy after his victory at Portumna

Thirteen years after a 16-year old Rory McIlroy denied him the Irish Close title, Galway Bay's Eddie McCormack claimed his first senior championship at the age of 45.

The Co Cavan native knew he had little chance of overcoming a stellar McIlroy at Westport in 2005, going down 3 and 2 to a player who has gone on to become a global star and four-time major winner.

But there was no stopping him in the Connacht Stroke Play Championship at Portumna Golf Club, where he carded rounds of 70, 70, 71 and 72 to win by two strokes from Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan on five-under-par 283.

Leading by one stroke from Castle’s Peter McKeever and Dun Laoghaire’s Paul Murphy on four-under-par at halfway, the former international went out in two-under on Sunday morning.

But while he then bogeyed three holes in a row from the 10th, he recovered with birdies at the 14th and 16th to lead by three strokes after a 71.

In the final round, he was one over with two holes to play and just one ahead of Flanagan, who had set the target at three-under with a closing 69.

But despite finding found trouble at the par-five 17th, where his recovery shot ran through the green, he holed a clutch eight-footer for birdie to go the par-three 18th with the luxury of a two-stroke lead.

He then hit a sublime tee-shot to eight feet and strolled to the green to take two putts for what was a long overdue senior win for a player who has won six-time Mid-Amateur titles since 2009.

Connacht Stroke Play Championship, Portumna (Par 72)

Detailed scores

283 E McCormack (Galway Bay), 70, 70, 71, 72

285 S Flanagan (Co. Sligo), 71, 73, 72, 69

286 D Morley (Oughterard), 70, 72, 72, 72

288 P Coughlan (Castleknock), 76, 70, 70, 72; K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire), 72, 69, 76, 71; P McKeever (Castle), 72, 69, 73, 74

289 P O' Keeffe (Douglas), 71, 76, 74, 68

290 R Black (Hilton Templepatrick), 74, 73, 73, 70

291 M McClean (Malone Golf Club), 70, 78, 72, 71

292 S Walsh (Portmarnock), 75, 75, 73, 69; J McLoughlin (Portumna), 73, 70, 75, 74

293 T Ford (Co. Sligo), 73, 76, 73, 71

294 E Griffin (Waterford), 73, 71, 71, 79

295 E Long (Monkstown), 77, 73, 67, 78; H Foley (The Royal Dublin), 72, 73, 74, 76

296 R O'Doherty (Enniscrone), 76, 74, 76, 70; M Boucher (Carton House), 75, 68, 74, 79; A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire), 74, 74, 73, 75; L Nolan (Galway), 74, 73, 77, 72

297 J Hearn (Tramore), 75, 74, 75, 73; P Murphy (Rosslare), 73, 75, 73, 76

298 G Royston (Cotswold Downs, RSA), 73, 71, 82, 72; A Ryan (Thurles), 72, 75, 73, 78

299 D Kitt (Athenry), 77, 72, 73, 77; T Plunkett (Crover House), 74, 75, 75, 75; C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire), 73, 74, 79, 73; J Lyons (Galway), 68, 74, 80, 77

300 S Mc Dermott (Co. Cavan), 73, 71, 80, 76; S Hogan (Nenagh), 71, 76, 74, 79

301 J Hickey (Cork), 74, 74, 76, 77

302 A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud), 73, 75, 76, 78; P Connolly (Killeen Castle), 71, 77, 77, 77

304 D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh), 74, 74, 78, 78; A Smith (Mullingar), 73, 76, 79, 76; B McGarry (Birr), 72, 73, 78, 81

305 D Bradt (Co. Sligo), 77, 72, 81, 75

307 R O'Connor (Co. Sligo), 73, 75, 80, 79

308 E O'Brien (Clontarf), 77, 73, 81, 77

311 C Butler (Kinsale), 72, 77, 78, 84

WD E Smith (Laytown & Bettystown), 76, 73, WD

Missed cut

152 M Shiel (Galway Bay) 77 75;

153 J Temple (Portmarnock) 77 76;

154 J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 77 77; D McAleenon (Edenmore) 77 77;

155 A Hill (Athenry) 78 77; J Keane (Lahinch) 78 77; L Power (Galway) 78 77; 

156 M Kennelly (Galway Bay) 78 78; C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 75 81; M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 75 81; S Ledbury (Louvain la Neuve (Beg)) 75 81;

157 M MacGrath (Lahinch) 81 76; E Leonard (Wentworth Golf Club) 78 79; J McCarthy (Stackstown) 77 80; S Brady (Galway) 76 81;

158 T O’Connor (Athlone) 80 78; R Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 76 82;

160 M Fitzsimons (Ardglass) 82 78; H O’Hare (Fortwilliam) 79 81; H Gillivan (Westport) 79 81; M Healy (Kinsale) 78 82; A GAYNOR (Co. Sligo) 78 82; D Crawford (Bundoran) 76 84;

161 P Carey (Nenagh) 81 80; P Brennan (Belvoir Park) 80 81; 

162 H Duggan (Kilkenny) 84 78; G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 79 83; M McKenna (Dun Laoghaire) 77 85; 

163 S McGlynn (Portmarnock) 77 86

DQ S O’Brien (Nenagh)

RTD I O’Rourke (The Royal Dublin)

WD J Sugrue (Mallow)

NR R Kenny (Arklow)

RTD G Carr (Mullingar); R Brazill (Naas)