Golf

Dubliner Alex Gleeson snatches Irish Amateur golf's top spot

WINNER: Alex Gleeson. Picture: Pat Cashman
Tony McGee

Dubliner Alex Gleeson has leaped over Robin Dawson at the last hurdle in the Bridgestone Irish Amateur Order of Merit to snatch the top spot at the end of the 2018 series.

A semi-final place in the National Championship was sufficient for Gleeson to take over from long-time leader Dawson, who missed the Close because of business in America.

The Waterford man, winner of the Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down, had qualified for the US Open at Pebble Beach which clashed with the Irish Championship at Pat Ruddy's European Club.

“To win the Bridgestone Order of Merit is very rewarding for me,” said Gleeson (24). “My goal at the start of the year was to get into contention in as many events as possible.

“Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a win but I was able to have three top-three finishes, which shows that my game was very close. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to have performed well at home in the Irish championships.”

Colm Conyngham, Marketing Manager Bridgestone Ireland, congratulated Gleeson on his performances throughout the season and wished him every success going forward. “We were very impressed at the quality of the players and we hope that our initiative with the GUI helps keep the spotlight on Ireland's amateur golfers and emerging talent,” said Conyngham.

Bridgestone became title sponsor for the men's Order of Merit earlier this year and, over the eight competitions covered by the award, Gleeson produced all round performances across the series to finish at number one.

Dawson finished in second place and will join Gleeson, once more, in the Irish team for the Home International Matches in Wales, next month. The top two players in the Order of Merit are guaranteed places in the team for that event.

It has been a memorable season for Gleeson, who plays out of the Castle club in Dublin. He began at the West of Ireland in April, where he was runner-up, and he backed up that performance the following month at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open, where he was tied second to Dawson, at Newcastle.

That victory put Dawson ahead on the Order of Merit, a position he held until he missed the Irish Close, but Gleeson eventually reeled him in at the final event of the series.

By reaching the semi-finals of the Irish Close, Gleeson finally moved past Dawson in the race for the Bridgestone title.

Bridgestone order of merit top 10

1 Alex Gleeson (Castle) 615 points.

2 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 503.

3 Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) 430.

4 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 420.

5 James Sugrue (Mallow) 404.

6 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 393.

7 Robert Brazill (Naas) 375.

8 Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) 351.

T9 Eanna Griffin (Waterford), Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 306.

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