Irish crown eludes Hallamshire's Alex Fitzpatrick at Royal County Down
AN UNCHARACTERISTIC poor spell in the middle of his final round cost Yorkshire champion Alex Fitzpatrick the chance of lifting the Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down.
Hallamshire’s Fitzpatrick had stalked eventual champion Robin Dawson (Tramore) over the first two rounds only to slip six behind after a third-round 73.
However, Irishman Tramore faltered after three excellent rounds of 65 71 69, carding a closing 77.
But any hope Fitzpatrick had of taking advantage disappeared when – one under on the day through seven holes with the aid of two birdies – he dropped six shots in the next five.
He followed a double bogey at eight with a triple bogey on the closing hole of his outward nine, and a further shot went at 11.
Typically he responded to the potential crisis with consecutive birdies at 12 and 13, but two more shots were shed, at holes 15 and 17, and he finished in fourth place.
Howley Hall’s Ben Hutchinson, Yorkshire champion in 2016, claimed a tie for 13th place with scores of 73 75 72 74.
Hutchinson had three bogeys on the bounce from the second in his final round. However, he came home in level par by offsetting a bogey at 15 with his fourth consecutive birdie of the week at 12.
Malton & Norton’s David Hague finished equal 22nd by adding two weekend scores of 74 to his opening pair of 69 79.
The England international had bogeys at one, three, 10 and 15 with his sole birdie of the day carded at the 12th.
Lindrick’s Bailey Gill – who like Hague helped England to their recent triumph over France – bookended consecutive rounds of 77 in the middle of the tournament with scores of 70 73 to share 27th spot. After a fine opening-hole birdie in round four he dropped three shots in five holes.
He, like Hutchinson, showed a liking for the 12th, claiming a third birdie in successive rounds, but gave the shot back at 15.
Wath’s Nick Poppleton, an English Amateur semi-finalist last year and recent winner of the Danny Willett Salver at Lindrick, had been just outside the top 25 heading into the final day.
However, a birdie at the first – a hole he had eagled on day one – proved a false dawn with six shots dropped in the next eight holes, including a double bogey at nine.
Three birdies would follow in the first five holes on his way in, but it was a stretch that proved either feast or famine, a bogey at 11 followed by a triple at 13.
He bogeyed the last four and with scores of 73 74 75 81 tied 51st.