Kilpatrick keeps it cool to claim first win of the season

Banbridge man Richard Kilpatrick with Ballyliffin GC Captain Phelim Davenport.
Banbridge man Richard Kilpatrick with Ballyliffin GC Captain Phelim Davenport.

Banbridge man Richard Kilpatrick kept his cool in wet conditions at the weekend to close out his first win of the season.

It came at the two-day Ballyliffin Pro-Am and netted the local man a swift €1,550 in prize money.

Making his second appearance of the season on the local tour, Kilpatrick was delighted to see out a one shot victory.

“It was lovely to get the win, I must admit,” he said. “It’s one of the bigger events on the local PGA circuit so it was fantastic to claim the victory.”

Kilpatrick was leading by three after an impressive opening round 70 on the more difficult Glashedy links course.

“The conditions were perfect,” he said. “I played very steady golf because I didn’t try to play too aggressively.

“I was just trying to get the ball in play off the tee, hit the fairways and then I took advantage of a couple of the par fives to get a good score in.

“Whenever I got in off the course, I thought the scoring would have been a wee bit better so I was absolutely delighted to see I had a three shot lead.”

However, on Sunday those sunny skies were replaced by incessant wind and rain. Initally, Kilpatrick struggled, dropping five shots in his opening three holes.

A further dropped shot followed at the sixth as the 33-year-old went to the turn in six over 41, wiping out his advantage.

A double-bogey as he lost his tee shot at the par four 11th appeared to have ended his hopes of victory but a pair of birdies at the 13th and 14th repaired the damage and Kilpatrick closed out his round with four pars to claim the victory.

He said: “It was like we had two totally different seasons over the two days. It was horrific on Sunday.

“I was playing around 2pm so I only got it really bad for the first 10 or 11 holes, whereas the guys going out earlier had horrendous conditions for the whole round.

“I knew it would still be tough to get the win and I hit a couple of bad shots in the poor weather early on.

“Thankfully I made a couple of birdies and managed to par my way in to get over the line.

“It was great to see so many friends from my days playing for Ireland at junior level and the standard of these events is really good as well.”

Next up for Kilpatrick is another home tournament, this one the Challenge Tour’s Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm from 6-9 August.

For a full preview of that event, see next week’s LEADER.