Dermot puts ‘pro’ plans on hold after ‘West of Ireland’ win

Dermot McElroy claimed one of the biggest successes of his golfing career by winning the West of Ireland championship last week.
Dermot McElroy claimed one of the biggest successes of his golfing career by winning the West of Ireland championship last week.

Dermot McElroy insists he has no plans to turn professional just yet, despite landing one of the biggest achievements of his amateur career last week.

THe Ballymena golfer won the prestigious West of Ireland open championship in Sligo - one of the most sought-after amateur titles in Ireland.

McElory produced a stunning birdie, par, birdie, birdie finish to defeat Waterford’s Eanna Griffin 4&3 in the final.

“I’ve played for so many years on the amateur circuit and to win one. This for me is absolutely brilliant,” said McElroy.

“It’s my first tournament (win) since the Irish boys in 2010. I’ve always felt that I could win a tournament easy, I just seem to get a bad run in match play.”

“It’s a fantastic achievement.

This is my seventh year here and the furthest I have got before is the third round.

So to finally win it, there is no words to describe how I feel at the minute.

“I had never met Eanna before so I didn’t know what to expect off him. He started really strong against me.

He is a very strong player and hits it quite far. So I had to dig deep.

Trailing by two after the par-three fourth, McElroy responded by birdieing the fifth, but he was still behind at the turn. Wins on 10, 11 and 12 saw him edge in front for the first time, and superb birdies on 14 and 15 ended the hopes of the Munster man.

“I said to myself on 10, there are good birdie opportunities, especially the downwind holes,” said McElroy.

“I was saying, three or four under I’ve a great chance of winning.”

“He had a good chance to go two-up on me on the ninth and he missed it, and then he bogeyed the 10th and I parred it.

“He bogeyed the next as well and I went one-up, and then I was able to birdie the par five and go two-up. So I was in the flow by that stage.

“We halved the par-three 13th, but after that I just turned it on with the wedges and two perfect yardages. 147 yards downwind on 14 and I hit it to 15 feet and holed the putt for birdie to go three-up.

“And then 143 yards on the 15th and I hit it to six feet, and was able to finish it out for the win.”

Former winners of the West of Ireland Championship include Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Mikko Ilonen, all of whom went on to make careers in the game and who were in action at the Masters last week.

But Dermot is in no hurry to make the switch to the paid ranks, despite having previously stated it was his target.

“The Lytham Trophy (at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s Golf Club) starts the first of May.

I really like the golf course, so I am looking forward to that next.

“I am just looking forward to a good season, and this was a great start,” added 21-year-old Dermot.