Bright finish for Galbraith’s roller-coaster day

September 6, 2020

Whitehead’s JR Galbraith closed with a level par 70 to finish tied 19th and leading Irish player at the Northern Ireland Open supported by The R&A at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Local favourite JR Galbraith finished best of the 16 Irish who started the week at the Northern Ireland Open supported by The R&A after the Whitehead professional closed with an eventful level par 70 to finish inside the top 20 (tied 19th) on four-under.

The 26-year-old came unstuck at the start of his final round with a double-bogey six at the first. He eventually turned in three-over 37 then rallied at the start of the back nine with birdies at 10, 12 and 13. However a roller-coaster day saw further shots dropped at 14 and 17 before a grandstand eagle finish.

“Unbelievable day, very up and down. Felt like I played so much better than what I got out of the round,” said Galbraith. “I lost a ball off the first tee and didn’t think it was that far offline. I then made a great birdie at the next when I hit the flag with my wedge.”

“After reaching the turn in three-over, I’m pleased with how I hung in there. I kept telling myself I play the back nine well and came home in three-under.

“It was great to finish with an eagle on 18. I hit a great tee shot into the wind and had 267-yards to the pin and hit a career three wood – as good as I could hit it – into eight feet and rolled it in. To finish with an eagle helped ease the frustrations from earlier.

“Overall, it was a very positive week. I made enough birdies and eagles to be up there, but obviously the dropped shots killed me,” added Galbraith, who would love to get an invite back to Galgorm Castle for the Irish Open later in the month.

“The season is up the air. Obviously, no qualifier for the Irish Open this year. I have a few events around Ireland and will see if any invites pop up here or there. I would absolutely love it if I got into the Irish Open.”

Niall Kearney carded a final round 69 to finish in a tie for 23rd on two-under. The Dubliner made steady progress through the week and enjoyed three birdies on today’s back nine.

Kearney opened his birdie account at the 10th when he got up and down from 50-yards after missing the fairway off the tee. The Dubliner picked up another from 20 feet at the 13th and quickly added a third at the short 14th when landing his seven into 10 feet and holing.

“Overall I’m happy enough with everything, wasn’t really sure where my game was coming into the week,” said Kearney after his round. “Four decent scores. Striking got better each day. Good to get card in hand and get the juices going again.

Conor O’Rourke had a weekend to forget after a second consecutive 79 left the Naas golfer down the field on 17-over.