Niamh Ward drives to Irish Universities' Golf Championship title double

Tony McGee

Accountancy student Niamh Ward got her figures right during the Irish Universities' Golf Championships, at St Anne's in Dublin, but almost missed the presentation function as she won the title for the second year running.

She was packing up for the journey back home when she discovered that she was the winner again and she rushed back to the clubhouse for the celebrations.

The Lurgan club member, an Irish international, has returned from a stint in college in the US to study at the University of Ulster.

The defending champion began the last round five shots behind overnight Ellen O'Gorman (UCD).

She birdied the first and fifth holes but wiped out that advantage with bogeys at the sixth and eighth.

However, the champion reduced both par fives on the back nine to birdie proportions and as O'Gorman slipped down the leaderboard Ward climbed up to secure her second Irish inter-varsities title.

“I actually didn't know that I had won again and was nearly heading home,” Niamh revealed.

“I love competing for the University and It's great to win again for both the university and for myself and my club.”

Fresher Charlie Denvir teed off his college career at UCD with a win in the men's event as

rain battered Bull Island during the final round in the 54-holes championships.

Like Niamh Ward, Denvir powered from behind after the second round with the conditions making life difficult for the players.

“I was wearing my rain jacket down the first but couldn't swing so I took it off, didn't bother with the umbrella and just ground it out,” explained Denvir.

Struggling to find his form on the greens, his short game suddenly changed when Denvir rolled home birdie putts in on the fifth and sixth greens. He followed up with a 20-feet putt for par on the eight surface to launch his challenge.

“That was the turning point where I thought I was still definitely in the race,” said Denver.

The first year Sports Management student, from Elm Park Golf club in Dublin, climbed to the top of boy's golf when he represented Ireland in the Home Internationals last year.

Now, only a couple of months into his studies, he has firmly set his sights on the next step up.

“I've only started at college but it seems like student golf is going to be great to bridge the gap between boy's and men's golf.

“There are a few events over the winter which is nice to keep you sharp heading back into the season again next year,” he reflected.

Maynooth University's David Kitt and Alan Hill took second and third places in the men's event while Kate Dwyer, also Maynooth, and Ellen O'Gorman (UCD) took the runners-up podium places in the women's event.

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