JAMES SUGRUE savoured success on home soil to win the 124th Amateur Championship at Portmarnock and, as a result, punched his ticket for a dream spot at the Masters in 2020.
The Irishman, pictured right, thrilled around 3,000 spectators at the renowned links near Dublin as he defeated Scotland’s Euan Walker in an exciting 36-hole final.
Played in glorious weather, Sugrue’s fast start and sharp short game skills proved key as the Mallow member became the first Irish player to win the famous title since Alan Dunbar in 2012.
Ranked 231st on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Sugrue came out on top of the 288-player international field who assembled at Portmarnock for only the club’s second-ever staging of the championship.
By virtue of his triumph, the 22-year-old gained exemptions into the 148th Open at Royal Portrush, the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.
“It is hard to believe really. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “Just to think about this win is unbelievable. Everything that comes with the win and all the crowds that were out there, it’s incredible. I’m just kind of happy I did it for the crowds, as I didn’t want all those people who came out to support me to see me end up losing. It’s more relief than anything else.”