Robin Dawson shines at European Championship

Robin Dawson (Tramore) driving at the 11th tee during day two of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club today (18/05/2018). Picture by Pat Cashman.
Tony McGee

Results have been disappointing for Irish players, both men and women, on the international stage over the past week, although the men's challenge for European Championship success at Royal Hague was much better than the women's efforts in bringing home the British Open Amateur trophy.

Robin Dawson (Tramore/Mount Juliet) tied second just one stroke behind winner Nicolai Hjgaard (Denmark) who finished at seven-under-par 281 with in-form Dawson, the Flogas Irish champion, sharing 282 after the 72 holes strokeplay championship and, officially, in second place.

That performance, along with other notable finishes, has earned Dawson the Bridgestone Player of the Month award for June.

Next best of the Irish was Portmarnock's Conor Purcell who finished sixth just a further stroke back with Rowan Lester (Hermitage) on 284, meaning three of the Irish entrants finished in the top dozen, within three shots of the winner.

Teenager Mark Power (Kilkenny) missed the cut by four with Alex Gleeson (Castle), Jonathan Yates (Naas) and Tiernan McLarnon (Massereene) also failing to get into the 60 qualifiers for the last round.

Rory McIlroy (Holywood) was the last Irish player to win the European Amateur title in 2006 while other winners were Brian McElhinney (North West) 2003, Stephen Browne 2001 and Paddy Gribben (Warrenpoint) 1998.

The best that the Irish representatives in the Ladies' British Open, at Southport, managed was second matchplay round as German 20-year-old Leonie Harn took the title with a 3&2 win over American Stephanie Lau.

Only Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL), Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) and Jessica Ross (Clandeboye) of the six Irish challengers players among the 144 entrants from 23 counties survived the 36 holes cut but none of them got through the first day's matchplay.

Ross went out in the morning's first round losing 2&1 but Mehaffey carded a two holes victory and Wilson went into lunch after beating Yuka Saso, from the Philippines, on the 18th green. However, both Mehaffey and Wilson were beaten in the afternoon second round leaving no Irish player in the competition. Mairead Martin (Kanturk) 85th, Paula Grant (Lisburn) 93rd and Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) were the other ILGU nominees in the draw.

The cut was made at 10-over and, ironically, the three joint leading qualifiers were all beaten in the matchplay on the first day.

At home, it was double delight for Castlewarden teenager Lauren Walsh as she won both the Connacht Women's and Connacht Girls' Championships at Ballinrobe.

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