James McVicker and Niamh Ward celebrate double golfing success for Ulster University
Ulster University students James McVicker and Niamh Ward chalked up a double in the Irish Universities' Championships at Rosapenna winning the men's and women's titles to give the northern college a unique double, writes Tony McGee.
Both players stormed from behind on the final day to collect the silverware and overhaul the favourites with McVicker, who plays his club golf at Knock in Belfast, posting a closing 70, one of only three sub-par rounds in the entire competition.
Starting the day in joint third position and three shots behind leaders Callum Spicer (UCC) and title favourite Ronan Mullarney (Maynooth), McVicker couldn't have fancied his chances of victory when he bogeyed both the first and third holes.
However, that was the last of his woes as he went one-under for the day with birdies at the fifth, seventh and eighth holes, pencilling in 3-2-4.
After turning in 34, McVicker then carded an unusual run home of nine straight pars for a round of 70 and a winning tally of 217 (+4).
Best round of the 54 holes championship was super 67 yesterday by Eoin Murphy (Dundalk IT) which shot him up the leaderboard to 218, just a stroke shy of McVicker's winning tally.
After bogeying the difficult first and third holes, Murphy made four pars and then covered his last 11 holes in an amazing six-under-par.
However, he had to share second place with front runner Ronan Mullarney who opened with a pair of 72s to be top of the leaderboard each night.
Bogeys at the first and fourth and a double-bogey at the sixth dropped him down the list and even birdie threes at 13 and 15 weren't enough for victory.
Lurgan girl Niamh Ward stormed from behind overnight to top the women's leaderboard and snatch the title with an excellent closing 70, having opened on Wednesday with an 81 that didn't look promising.
However, the Ulster senior Interpro was six shots better in the second round and carded her best score of the championship yesterday to leapfrog the field from second place overnight into the winner's position.
Irish Universities' Men & Women's Championship at Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris)
Leading Final Scores – Male:
217 - J McVicker (Ulster University) 73, 74, 70
218 - E Murphy (Dundalk IT) 73, 78, 67; R Mullarney (Maynooth University) 72, 72, 74
220 - J Hood (Maynooth University) 75, 75, 70; J Knipe (Ulster University) 74, 77, 69
222 - E Collins (Dublin City University) 72, 75, 75
224 - R Steedman (Maynooth University) 79, 71, 74
225 - A Hickey (Maynooth University) 79, 75, 71; T Ford (Maynooth University) 72, 81, 72
226 - D Brady (Maynooth University) 81, 71, 74
228 - J Mackin (Dundalk IT) 75, 75, 78
229 - E Griffin (Maynooth University) 79, 70, 80; J McCarthy (University College Dublin) 76, 76, 77; C Ryan (Maynooth University) 73, 80, 76
226 - N Ward (Ulster University) 81, 75, 70
231 - M Doyle (Maynooth University) 75, 80, 76
245 - E Corcoran (Dublin City University) 87, 78, 80
247 - R McDonnell (University College Dublin) 80, 88, 79