Cairndhu Golf Club’s Neil McKinstry this week clinched the Irish Intervarsity Series title by seeing off last year’s champion at the final hurdle.
The Ulster University student carded a magnificent one-under 71, including four birdies, at Tramore Golf Club to claim top spot in the overall Order of Merit.
His dazzling display in County Waterford saw him land a three-shot victory over fellow Ulster student Alex McQuillan, Maynooth’s Robin Dawson and Jonathan Yates of University College Dublin. It also meant he pipped defending champion Alex Gleeson to the big prize.
Speaking to the Larne Times, McKinstry admitted that on his return from injury, he didn’t anticipate success coming his way so soon.
“I have been out for almost a year with a back injury and to beat so many good players is not something I expected to achieve this year,” he said.
“At Tramore, I was grouped with Alex Gleeson and Sean Flanagan in the last three ball, both of whom have played for Ireland. I needed to come first and hope Alex finished outside the top four to win the Order of Merit. It was really rewarding to accomplish this under so much pressure.”
The 18-year-old says he has really put the hours in to improve his game over the last 12 months and is now fixing his sights on his next big challenge at the Munster Youths in Tralee.
“I have worked tremendously hard, in particular on my short game and have been attending strength and conditioning at UUJ which has helped my long game as well,” he added.
“I am playing in the Munster Youths next and hope to play in all the major tournaments this year including the British Univerities in England.
“Having missed so much golf this past year, I am eager to play as many competitive tournaments as possible.”