Boy Wonder — Power stuns rival with 129-yard walk-off eagle to retain Irish Boys

A delighted Mark Power with the Irish Boys Amateur Open trophy. Picture: Pat Cashman

A delighted Mark Power with the Irish Boys Amateur Open trophy. Picture: Pat Cashman

Jordan Spieth eat your heart out. Kilkenny’s Mark Power went one better than the Texan’s tournament winning bunker shot in Connecticut on Sunday when he incredibly holed out from 129 yards for an eagle two at the third hole of a playoff to retain the Irish Boys Amateur Open at Castletroy.

The 17-year old Irish international — rated one of the best Irish prospects in recent years and already a member of the Irish men’s panel — closed with a two under 70 to tie with England’s Jack Cope on five-under 283 before his amazing finish made him the first player to win back-to-back Irish Boys Championships since Paul Dunne in 2009.

“It’s like a dream,” said Power, who knew he needed something special when Cope hit his approach to eight feet at the third playoff hole.

“If you wanted to win a tournament you really couldn’t script it better than the way it worked out.

Mark Power (Kilkenny) after holing his second shot at the 3rd tie hole to win the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club  (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

Mark Power (Kilkenny) after holing his second shot at the 3rd tie hole to win the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club  (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

“I was between a pitching wedge and a 52-degree gap wedge, and I said, under pressure, you’re better off hitting something full. Don’t do anything fancy with it. 

“I hit it a little right of the flag because of the slope and the minute I hit it, I knew it was perfect. 

“I couldn’t see the bottom half of the pin, but I saw it take a bounce and then I heard the loudest roar I’ve ever heard in my life and all the lads who from the panel who were out supporting me, just jumped on top of me. The rest of it is a bit of a blur. It was unreal

“To hole out is fantastic but to do it when I really needed it is something else.”

Power was two shots behind Cope and his compatriot Danny Daniels overnight, but it was soon clear that this was going to be a three-horse race.

Mark Power (Kilkenny) is congratulated by his father Eddie after holing his second shot at the 3rd tie hole to win the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club. (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

Mark Power (Kilkenny) is congratulated by his father Eddie after holing his second shot at the 3rd tie hole to win the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club. (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

The leading trio were level on four-under par with seven holes to play when Daniels double bogeyed the 12th (and bogeyed the 13th) to bow out of contention.

Power made birdie at the 12th to go ahead before being pegged back to level when Cope birdied the 16th.

But the Kilkenny ace then got up and down for a crucial par at the 17th, holing a six footer to remain on terms.

After pars at the last left them tied on five-under, the leaders headed out for a three-hole aggregate play-off at the 16th, 17th and 18th.

Power struck the first blow, making a 12 footer for a birdie four to go two shots ahead as Cope failed to make the green with his first chip from a difficult position and bogeyed.

But the birdie-bogey dynamic was reversed at the 17th, where Power caught a bunker short of the green after attempting a low recovery from the trees and Cope made a 15 footer, leaving the protagonists deadlocked playing the 394-yard, par-four 18th.

Cope looked to have struck a decisive blow when he rifled his approach to around eight feet.

But Power, who was composed all afternoon, even after following birdies at the second and third with a double bogey at the fourth, was not found wanting.

Mark Power picks his ball out of the cup after his dramatic 129-yard hole out of an eagle two to win the Irish Boys Amateur Open at the final hole of a three-hole aggregate playoff at Castletroy. Picture: Pat Cashman

Mark Power picks his ball out of the cup after his dramatic 129-yard hole out of an eagle two to win the Irish Boys Amateur Open at the final hole of a three-hole aggregate playoff at Castletroy. Picture: Pat Cashman

Knowing he might have to get up and down to stay alive, he produced a shot in a million, holing out from 129 yards with a 52-degree wedge to seize the title.

“After he had birdied 17 and I’d bogeyed, I was thinking, ‘He’s hit it in close again, I have to stitch this,'” the champion said. 

“Two shots ahead going into the last two holes of the playoff, I really would have been kicking myself if I didn’t put the foot down and win it. 

I hit it a little right of the flag because of the slope and the minute I hit it, I knew it was perfect. I couldn’t see the bottom half of the pin, but I saw it take a bounce and then I heard the loudest roar I’ve ever heard in my life and all the lads who from the panel who were out supporting me, just jumped on top of me. The rest of it is a bit of a blur. It was unreal

— Mark Power, 2017 Irish Boys champion

“When I saw him in close, holing it wasn’t out of the question, but I was thinking, just get inside him. 

“I’ve never had a hole-in-one, but I haven’t holed out in a while either, so it was nice.”

Power’s father Eddie, a three-time Irish Amateur Close champion, was watching proudly from the gallery.

“There was a big crowd around the green and down the fairway, and everyone went into a frenzy, led by myself,” said Power Snr. “I just dropped everything and jumped in the air.”

The champion was mobbed by his Irish Boys international team-mates after his wedge bounced right of the pin and spun back into the hole.

Now it remains to be seen what he can do for an encore, having won the Peter McEvoy Trophy and Irish Boys last year and moved up to the Irish Senior panel this season, making a winning debut in an unofficial international against the MGA of New York.

Hotly fancied to make the Irish team for the Men’s Home Internationals at Moortown in August, he’s keeping his feet on the ground and taking things one round at a time.

Mark Power (Kilkenny) plays his second shot to the 12th green during the final round of the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club. (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

Mark Power (Kilkenny) plays his second shot to the 12th green during the final round of the 2017 Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship at Castletroy Golf Club. (26/06/2015). Picture: Pat Cashman

His next goal is to play well for Leinster in next week’s Interprovincial Matches in Carlow, then help Ireland win the European Boys Team Championships at La Manga before heading for the British Boys Amateur Championship at Nairn.

“We have the Interpros next week in Carlow, but then there’s the European Boys in La Manga, Power said. “That’s a big one after getting promoted back to Division one last year.

“It would be good, obviously, to stay in Division One but we have a good squad with Reece Black, who won the East, John Brady and a few other guys who are in form like Rob Moran, Jack Hearn and Cameron Raymond. So we have a good squad. 

“Then the British Boys is a big target of mine. The Irish Boys was my main target but the British Boys is pretty much the British Open for Boys, and it’s at a great venue in Nairn and Dunbar where Ireland won the Home Internationals last year. 

“After that, there’s the South, and I am a member of Lahinch, so I am looking forward to giving it a go.”

“To make the men’s squad this year and get experience so early in the MGA match was great. It was really good of the captain Tony Goode to give me that opportunity and great to have an experienced fourball and foursomes partner like Colm Campbell for my first Irish cap. 

“The Home Internationals?  We will see what happens from here. I am just going to take each event as it comes and see how we get on.”

So far, he’s getting on just fine.

His finish certainly impressed 2014 European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley, who spent the week in the south-west as his son Killian was competing at Castletroy, finishing 55th.

“Congrats Mark Power – what a way to win,” McGinley tweeted before adding, “Congrats also to the hosts @CastletroyGC providing an excellent course with 50 volunteers.”

The bad news (for his rivals) is that Power will be back looking for a hat-trick of Irish Boys titles next year. 

Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship, Castletroy (Par 72)

Detailed scores

283 M Power (Kilkenny) 67 72 74 70 (won 4-5-2 to 6-3-x after a 3-hole playoff) J Cope (England) 71 70 70 72

286 D Daniels (England) 72 68 71 75

291 J Brady (Rosslare) 68 69 77 77 (Winner U17 Trophy)

294 A Boland (Mallow) 71 73 71 79

296 R Le Bot (France) 69 76 78 73

297 C Glennon (Glasson) 78 73 72 74; J Hearn (Tramore) 74 71 78 74; A Marshall (Lisburn) 70 71 77 79

298 L Schiergen (Germany) 74 72 73 79

299 S Carroll (Castle Dargan) 78 69 75 77; A Laussot (France) 77 72 76 74; S Doyle (The Island) 74 76 76 73; C Larcelet (France) 74 70 75 80; B Rossiter Gargan (Rosslare) 73 73 75 78

300 A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 79 71 76 74; R Moran (Castle) 75 75 76 74; J Hanney (The Island) 73 71 83 73

301 E Murphy (Dundalk) 77 73 78 73; O Maguire (Slieve Russell) 74 74 75 78; A Edwards-Hill (England) 70 76 75 80

302 D Gurr (England) 75 72 77 78

303 C Denvir (Elm Park) 75 68 78 82; L O’Neill (Connemara) 74 75 77 77; K Van der Weele (Netherlands) 70 76 82 75

304 J Mackin (Dundalk) 74 73 80 77; R Williams (England) 74 73 78 79; R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 73 77 75 79

305 T Westenberger (Germany) 79 72 80 74; B Howlin (The Heritage) 78 76 75 76; T Smyth (Castle) 78 73 74 80; J Temple (Portmarnock) 77 74 80 74; C Raymond (Newlands) 74 78 78 75; R Kelly (Tuam) 74 73 77 81

306 A Hill (Athenry) 73 75 78 80

307 J Doherty (Carton House) 76 78 73 80; A Hickey (Ballyhaunis) 76 77 76 78; A Telli (Turkey) 76 73 77 81; D Cunningham (Tandragee) 71 79 77 80

308 R Latimer (Knock) 76 76 74 82; M Marin (France) 73 77 73 85

309 D Kitt (Athenry) 82 74 74 79; J Madden (Royal Portrush) 79 73 79 78; B McGuinness (Claremorris) 75 78 78 78; J Keane (Lahinch) 75 75 81 78; N Hearns (Mountrath) 75 72 84 78

310 J Tuohy (Galway Bay) 75 75 75 85

311 E Sullivan (Carton House) 80 74 76 81; J Shellard (Lisburn) 78 76 77 80; J Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 76 75 79 81; D Kelly (Cill Dara) 75 81 74 81; M Hanley (Limerick) 73 78 77 83; R Fitzgerald (Limerick) 73 78 76 84

315 J Hrinda (Slovakia) 74 75 81 85

316 K McGinley (Sunningdale) 76 76 78 86

RTD Z Glynn (Bray) 77 73 78

Non-qualifiers

232 O Telli (Turkey) 80 75 77; K Robinson (Castlewarden) 79 73 80; P Cunnane (Malone) 71 79 82; 

233 D Li (Germany) 82 75 76; L Merrigan (Bray) 80 78 75; R Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire) 79 75 79; B Haq (England) 79 73 81; 

234 J Connolly (Elm Park) 82 79 73; S Laverty (Dundalk) 81 71 82; E Walsh (Mallow) 80 74 80; S Jones (Belvoir Park) 74 82 78; 

235 T Plunkett (Crover House) 84 76 75; J Brown (The Heath) 83 73 79; M Kennedy (The Royal Dublin) 82 76 77; H Riboud (France) 81 75 79; J McCabe (Roganstown) 79 77 79; J Egan (Muskerry) 78 84 73; J Hyland (Omagh) 77 80 78; C Byrne (Strabane) 77 76 82; D Lynch (Clonmel) 75 77 83; J Rooney (Co. Armagh) 75 75 85; 

236 S Galvin (Fota Island) 80 79 77; D Raher (Dungarvan) 80 76 80; C Ffrench (Carton House) 79 78 79; L Nolan (Galway) 79 74 83; 

237 D Rochford (Bray) 84 76 77; A Mulhall (Waterford Castle) 83 80 74; R Thompson (Greenacres) 83 78 76; E Telli (Turkey) 83 77 77; S O’Brien (Nenagh) 82 76 79; R Rikardsson (Iceland) 82 71 84; I Halpin (Cahir Park) 81 78 78; J Rowe (Tandragee) 80 75 82; J Small (Elm Park) 77 79 81; N Saldarov (England) 77 77 83; A Lennie (Clandeboye) 77 75 85; C Dawson (Tramore) 75 77 85; L Power (Galway) 73 78 86; 

238 S Fitzgerald (Tullamore) 82 80 76; R Eccles (Carton House) 81 76 81; D O’Connel (Kanturk) 79 81 78; H Gillivan (Westport) 78 79 81; R Cowhey (Elm Park) 78 79 81; C McGuinness (Claremorris) 77 83 78; I Turner (England) 77 78 83; D Steinarsson (Iceland) 76 77 85; 

239 J Robinson (Lisburn) 87 74 78; L O’Sullivan (The Heritage) 82 81 76; D Leufer (Athenry) 82 80 77; R Galligan (Elm Park) 82 80 77; J Hogan (Castletroy) 81 80 78; B Phipps (Ardee) 80 80 79; S Miller (Clandeboye) 80 75 84; K Tanpolat (Turkey) 79 84 76; D Keating (Seapoint) 76 80 83;

240 W Eardley (England) 86 75 79; J Pontes (Portugal) 85 75 80; E McGrath (Athlone) 83 79 78; J Logue (Hilton Templepatrick) 80 85 75; N Grant (The Island) 79 75 86; 

241 D Boden (Belvoir Park) 83 79 79; C McDonald (Lurgan) 80 84 77; O O’Driscoll (Golf Clementader) 77 80 84; 

242 B Hynes (Greystones) 84 79 79; R Hynes (Oughterard) 84 78 80; J Heatherington (Glasson) 76 83 83; 

243 C Dunn (Foyle) 88 81 74; S Murphy (Portumna) 86 78 79; C Roe (Powerscourt) 84 77 82; P Bird (Co. Sligo) 80 82 81; P Callaghan (Castle Dargan) 80 81 82; 

244 A Doherty (Carton House) 85 80 79; R Duggan (Kilkenny) 81 76 87; 

245 D Twomey (Elm Park) 88 73 84; P Conroy (Enniscorthy) 84 79 82; 

246 C Murtagh (Balcarrick) 79 82 85; 

247 K Patton (Lisburn) 86 84 77; R Milne (Faithlegg) 81 80 86; 

248 C Meade (East Clare) 86 82 80; 

251 S Kestell (Woodbrook) 81 90 80; 

261 B Peden (Grange Castle) 86 82 93

NR J Everard (Kilkenny) 82 79

RTD D Graham (Woodenbridge) 77 79

WD S Leonard (Mitchelstown) 78 WD

RTD S Downes (The Royal Dublin) 83 81

WD S Kearney (Esker Hills) 80 WD

NR D Kelleher (Blarney)

RTD S Dowling (The Island)

from News – Irish Golf Desk http://ift.tt/2utgnsm

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