TWO Limerick-based golfers secured top 10 finishes with impressive performances at the 111th Irish PGA Championship, played on the Carne Golf Links.
Jack Ryan, Assistant PGA Professional at Castletroy Golf Club, finished fifth in the prestigious 54-hole event that ended on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Limerick Golf Club’s Tim Rice shot an impressive final lap of 73 on Sunday in extremely difficult weather conditions, finishing fifth at the Mayo venue.
David Higgins (Waterville Links) made the final birdie, beating overnight leader Mark Staunton (Mark Staunton Golf) to win a second Irish PGA Championship title.
In very wet and windy conditions, the 2012 winner used a double bogey on Staunton’s 18th hole to seal the win.
“I knew I was a little behind so I had to commit to the tee, try to take it and do Adler,” said David.
“I hit my best drive of the week and then a 7 iron in 15 feet (he missed the eagle but knocked for an easy par).
“I think that put some pressure on. You see, Mark was unlucky, but you have to hold on, especially in conditions like today.
“You never know what’s going to happen. Anything you can do works on your own ball and I did that and won the tournament. I am proud of myself for that. “
Higgins started the day five shots behind Staunton, but by the 12th he had reduced that lead to three shots.
While the other contenders struggled – the wind was blowing at 35 mph – the final holes became something of a match-play encounter.
Higgins played 18th, found the green in two, but Staunton missed the green and disappeared into the thick rough that was never found.
His makeshift had also missed the green, but he managed to find it and hit the putting surface, but his putt to force a play-off failed to materialize.
“It was a difficult time for everyone with Covid. I haven’t played golf in the past eight and a half months, ”added Higgins.
“I didn’t know if I would come or be honest, but that shows that I am on the right track.
“I’ve been there long enough to know that anything can happen in this weather
You have to keep trying and digging deep.
“Go on to the end, that happened and I won a huge tournament.”
Defending champions Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) took third place.
111th Irish PGA Championship at Carne Golf Links
sponsored by Columbia Sportwear
1 D Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) -3 71/69/73 (213)
2 M Staunton (Mark Staunton Golf) -2 68/67/79 (214)
T3 S Thornton (Tulfaris Golf Resort) E 69/73/74 (216)
T3 R Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) E 66/71/79 (216)
T5 S O’Donoghue (Mount Wolseley G&CC) +5 70/77/74 (221)
T5 J Ryan (Castletroy GC) +5 71/73/77 (221)
T5 C Moriarty (Glasson Lakehouse) +5 72/70/79 (221)
T8 T rice (Limerick GC) +7 77/73/73 (223)
T8 N O’Briain (Old Conna GC) +7 75/71/77 (223)
T8 L Walker (Dundalk GC) +7 72/72/79 (223)