Dermot McElroy is a PGA EuroPro Tour champion for the second time in his career; the Northern Irishman has catapulted to the throne of the Order of Merit.
Greg Dalziel had played terrifically well to hold the lead across 36 holes, but the Scotsman got off to an unfavourable start this morning.
One thing that’s important to note is his age – Greg Dalziel is just 21 years old.
To have that much talent, composure and dedication at such a young age is remarkably impressive – and something that should be highly lauded.
Dalziel rapidly found himself four-over after his opening three holes, but he displayed his grit and determination to bounce back with birdies at 6 and 9 to make the turn in 38 (+2).
He bravely fought back from that troubling introduction to post a round score of one-over, which helped him secure T4.
Whilst it quickly became apparent that Dermot McElroy would be pulling ahead of his playing partners – Dalziel (-10, T4) and James Frazer (-8, T9) – he had plenty of competition from the group ahead.
Pavan Sagoo, Paul Maddy and Ben Hutchinson combined to make the penultimate grouping – and it did not take long for the latter two to stamp their mark on this golf tournament.
There were several comments from golfers who revealed that the front nine was significantly trickier than the back – which is the complete opposite for club members!
Whilst the front is tight and requires pinpoint control of the golf ball, the latter half is longer but more spacious, and length is certainly not a problem for these bombers.
Hutchinson made the turn in 32 (-4) to propel his tournament score to -12, whilst Maddy finished his front nine in 34.
Unfortunately for Hutchinson, his unbelievable start was matched by McElroy who looked in complete control until a certain hole.
The Back Nine
As is typical in professional golf, the back nine of the final day is the true test of a golfer’s character and fearlessness; do they have the conviction to be the one of 156 supremely talented golfers to close out victory?
Maddy had carded bogey on the par-3 11th hole – the scene of Leon Fricker’s first competitive hole-in-one on Wednesday – but bounced back tremendously at the following hole with an eagle.
McElroy, on the other hand, was in cruise control; despite the abundance of pressure, he stayed true to his game, plotting his way around and waiting for scoring opportunities to present themselves.
A birdie on the same hole that Maddy had eagled extended his lead to three and the 29-year-old looked destined for victory.
That destiny started to unravel suddenly after a wayward tee shot on the 14th hole ended up in bushes and a drop was required.
Unfortunately, he had to drop in the rough, which brought the possibility of a flier coming into play – which is exactly what materialised.
The moment the ball left McElroy’s club, screams of sit followed instantly, and repeatedly too.
“14 was a big one for me – hitting it in the bushes to the right, taking a drop and then getting a flier well over the back of the green,” he shared with us post-victory.
McElroy then overestimated his chip and was left with 30-foot for bogey; for the first time during the final round, Dermot McElroy looked vulnerable.
It’s important to note that he was overwhelmingly HOT with the putter today. The two-time EuroPro champion roughly holed 130-150 feet of putts – including a 60-foot monster!
Perhaps his confidence with the short stick was the reason why he would go on to hole that putt – that was slightly off the green – but he was exceptionally brave considering the speed that the ball departed the putter at.
Realistically, if he had not read the line perfectly, he was looking at a 7 – not many golfers can generate a potential 7 into a fabulous 5.
“It was a big weight off my shoulders holing that putt. It would have changed everything if I missed it; double bogey and everyone is back into play again,” a relieved McElroy revealed.
That was ultimately the moment of victory for the golfer whose three recent professional results read T2 – W – W.
It’s difficult to determine a player more explosive than the Northern Irishman on this tour, he seemingly has the ability to shoot exceptionally low every time he graces the course with his presence.
An unbelievable approach into 15 left inches for birdie, which was duly sunk as Maddy would bogey the 16th following a three-putt.
In the space of 15 minutes, McElroy held a three-stroke victory, which quickly turned into a one-shot advantage, before his three-stroke edge was restored.
He played the remaining three holes at even par and became a PGA EuroPro Tour champion for the second time.
This win is of monumental importance, as it launches him to the summit of the Order of Merit with a seasonal total of £23,000 – which is £6,385 better than Ryan Brooks, who occupies second place.
Speaking about his ambition for the remainder of the season, McElroy believes there’s every chance he has already done enough for Challenge Tour status.
“I think I’ve basically confirmed my place within the top 5 – going off of last season’s money.
“I was in quite a dilemma before this week, I thought to myself: ‘if I win this week, then I can go into the German Challenge [Challenge Tour event] next week’ – I really did not know what to do.”
If we look at the total money accumulated from last season’s fifth place finish, it was £23,143.15.
McElroy is correct in thinking he is almost there and his next performance on the PGA EuroPro Tour will be at Clandeboye Golf Club, which is located in his home country.
When reminded about his outrageously impressive recent form, he was as humble as you would expect.
“I don’t know why I have finished T2 – W – W, but maybe it’s holing the one putt that you wouldn’t normally sink – it’s very fine lines in golf – but I thought I played well this week.
“I’m playing really good golf at the moment and it’s a real confidence booster.”
Up next for the PGA EuroPro Tour is a trip to The Vale Golf & Country Club, where the weather forecasted can best be described as scorching.
We’ll see you in Worcestershire for then. In the meantime, have a great weekend and get yourself out on a golf course!