Experience counts as Selfridge retains North of Ireland Amateur Championship title

selfridge at north_edited

Chris Selfridge drives off the first in the final of the 2014 Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship

Chris Selfridge was forced to call on all his Championship experience to hold off Robin Dawson in the final of the Cathedral Eye Clinic sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.
The Moyola golfer joined an elite band of champions in retaining the title at the North Coast with a display that owed more to guts and determination than stellar play.
“I felt under pressure today and it felt like I played some of my worst golf in the final,” said the 22-year-old from Castledawson.
“I got the ball in the hole and and I got over the line but the golf wasn’t flowing as in previous rounds.”
Selfridge, who beat David Mulholland (Castlerock) 3&2 in the morning semi-final got off to a great start in the final when Dawson (Faithlegg) handed him the first by almost putting off the green.
However, the 18-year-old, who saw off Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 2&1 in the last four, steadied himself and won the fourth and fifth to take a one-up lead.
Selfridge won the sixth, seventh and eighth to go two ahead but then proceeded to lose the 10th, 12th and 13th to go one behind again. A poor chip from Dawson at 14 left the pair level again and they then halved the 15th in birdie three and the 16th in par fours.
The match turned Selfridge’s way on the 17th when his opponent went for the green in two and saw his five iron approach fly the putting surface. The ball finished in a hedge behind the green and he was forced to take relief under penalty.
Selfridge, who laid up after a poor drive, found the green with his third and coaxed in an eight foot par putt to take a decisive one up lead down the 18th.
The defending champion hit a nervous drive which found trouble and he could only hack out leaving Dawson with a chance to find the green in two, but his approach finished in the green side bunker and his recovery left him with 15 feet for par.
Selfridge played his third to the green and missed his 18 foot putt for par leaving the way clear for Dawson to take the tie down the 19th but the teenager’s putt was too firm and failed to drop after hitting the hole.
“That is the hardest match I have ever had in the North and it was the first time I was behind all week,” said a relieved Selfridge who has now won two North of Ireland titles and the 2012 Irish Close title at Royal Portrush.

“I love this place, I have so much confidence here. It’s a relief to get another win. Looking back, I am a far better player now than when I won the Close and East in 2012.

“I am doing the right things regarding nutrition and fitness and have a good team working with me in Fergie Wallace, Johnny Foster, Tony Mulholland and Robbie Cannon.
“I was confident in my ability today but I was relying on the experience of winning the other three titles to get me home and I have to say coming up 18 I was nervous.
“Robin was unlucky at 17 when his ball flew the green but I knew I had to take my chance.
“When it was my turn to putt, I walked away, had a drink of water, waited a minute and settled myself before lining it up and holing it.

Robin Dawson

Robin Dawson

Dawson was naturally ‘gutted’ to lose out and shocked at just how far his five-iron approach flew out of the rough at the 17th.
“With Chris forced to lay up after his drive I felt it was the right time to take it on and go for the green but I never expected the ball to go that far,” said the former Irish Boys Open champion.
“It was downwind but I even measured it out to the back of the green. It was 275, I usually hit my five iron 190. I suppose, overall it’s been a positive week and it certainly helps with world ranking points etc.”
The finalists will represent their respective  provinces this week in the inter-provincials at The Island and could well force themselves into contention for Ireland’s Home International team.
Selfridge will compete in the Euro Individual Amateur Championship and has also pencilled in a trip to Lahinch to play in the South of Ireland Championship at the end of July.
“I’m going to give it a lash, I have only played there once, around four years ago and I would love to get another win,” he added.

North of Ireland Amateur Championship
Sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic
Semi-finals
David Mulholland (Castlerock) lost to Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) 3&2
Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 2&1
Final
Chris Selfridge bt Robin Dawson 1 hole

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