Wilson grinds out Monaghan Irish Challenge victory – O’Rourke seals Christy O’Connor Memorial Trophy win at Concra Wood

Oliver Wilson

Oliver Wilson bagged his second European Challenge Tour title of the season on Sunday, winning the Monaghan Irish Challenge by two shots at Concra Wood Golf Club.
The Englishman, who triumphed at the Swedish Challenge hosted by Robert Karlsson in August, shot a final round of 69, three under par, to win by two shots in Castleblayney.
“I’m feeling pretty pumped after that. It was hard work today and a proper grind. We knew it was going to be tough and there was strong cross-winds everywhere,” said the 38-year-old former Ryder Cup player.
“I was delighted to come through it and I could’ve made it easier for myself but instead made it a little tricky when I was coming down the stretch.
“This course is such a good test that I had to keep hitting good shots and I managed to do that, and it wasn’t too stressful coming up the last.”
Wilson started the final round one shot behind overnight leader Niklas Lemke but surged ahead following three birdies in his opening four holes. He bogeyed the fifth hole to drop back to join Lemke, but it was not for long as he made his fourth birdie of the day on the seventh.
Gusty conditions tested the players throughout the day, however, Wilson showed his experience, keeping a calm head to move to 13 under par after a birdie on the par five 15th.
A bogey on the 16th did not shake him while Lemke dropped to nine under par following a double bogey on the same hole. With two holes to play and a two-stroke advantage over clubhouse leader Marco Iten, Wilson showed all his experience to finish with a couple of pars
“My par save on 11 was pretty big. I hit a lovely shot in, but it went through the wind and I missed it long, which was a disastrous miss, but I managed to get up and down. That felt pretty big to keep the momentum going,” added Oliver who moved from 38th to 15th in the Challenge Tour Rankings to increase his chances of returning to the European Tour.

“I played nice after that and had a chance on the par five, but played reasonably solid coming in, missing just a few putts on a couple of greens. Overall, in those conditions, I played really well.”

Swiss star Iten carded a final round four under par 68, including a chip-in eagle on the par four eighth to finish as runner-up spot. While Sweden’s Niklas Lemke closed with a round of 73, one over par, to finish three shots behind Wilson in third and two shots ahead of Simon Khan and Robert MacIntyre, who shared fourth place.
The Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy, awarded to the lowest scoring Irishman, went to Connor O’Rourke as he claimed a share of 23rd after carding a final round 70, two under par round to finish ahead of last year’s winner Ruaidhri McGee and Paul McBride.

“It’s not beyond the realm of belief that I can win one or two of these things,” said the 27-year-old O’Rourke.
Playing on an invite from Team Ireland Golf, the Kildare man was well placed on two under at halfway but went backwards on moving day, shooting 76.
Disappointed with his attitude during that penultimate round, O’Rourke improved in round four.
“My long game was as good as it has been all week and I just made a couple more putts,” he added.
“You have to find a way to score a bit better or else you’re just going home on Fridays.”
McGee, who closed with a 72 was left with mixed feelings.
“If I had done the simple things well I would easily have been up there,” said the 27-year-old.
“I had three or four bogeys in the middle of the round that were just stupid bogeys from the edge of the green. It’s frustrating.”
Although recording his best result as a professional, Dubliner Paul McBride was also frustrated after posting 74.
“I’m not happy with the score but I didn’t play too bad,” said McBride, 22.
“I got off to a good start and then two stupid three-putts on four and nine. I missed two three-footers and that set me back.”
After his error at the ninth, McBride made four bogeys in a row but continued to grind and was rewarded with birdies at 13 and 15.
Gavin Moynihan (73) and Kevin Phelan (76) were next best of the Irish players at one over, tied for 31st. Niall Kearney (75) finished on plus three, tied for 50th, and Neil O’Briain (78) was tied 55th on seven over.

With thanks to Brendan Coffey for additional reporting

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