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McCormack makes his move on the Bridgestone Order of Merit

​​Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) moves inside the top 10 on the Bridgestone Order of Merit following his weekend win at the Connacht Stroke Play Championship

  • 12 June 2018

Picture: Eddie McCormack during the final round of the Connacht Stroke Play Championship at Portumna | Golffile

Former Ireland international Eddie McCormack showcased his enduring class to win the Connacht Stroke Play Championship at Portumna and move inside the top 10 on the Bridgestone Order of Merit in the process.

Following his win in Portumna, McCormack is now in eighth position on the Bridgestone Order of Merit. The top seven are unchanged after the weekend with Tramore's Robin Dawson continuing to lead. The top two players at the end of Bridgestone series will earn a place on the Ireland team for the Home Internationals.

McCormack, 45, finished two shots clear of the field on five under, posting rounds of 70, 70, 71 and 72 at the Connacht Stroke Play. The Cavan native, now playing out of Galway Bay, was conceding 23 years to his nearest challenger, Sean Flanagan, but the wily veteran proved that age is no barrier in golf as he captured his first senior championship.

"It's great to win a big tournament," said McCormack. "I've won plenty in the past -- scratch cups and mid amateurs and what not. It's nice to win something as big as this."

Playing 72 holes over two days is no small endeavour and McCormack was fatigued come the finish.

"Tough gruelling stuff," he said describing those demands. "Especially at my age, it's not easy."

Four under after posting a pair of 70s on day one, McCormack enjoyed a one stroke lead at halfway. Castle's Peter McKeever and Paul Murphy from Dun Laoghaire led the chasing pack but McCormack stretched his advantage to three shots during the penultimate round.

Entering the back nine for the final time, McCormack remained in the clear only to suffer a double bogey at the par three 10th. He regained his composure in time to birdie the 12th although his lead was just one shot with two holes to play.

Co Sligo's Sean Flanagan had set the clubhouse target on three under with a birdie at the last. McCormack conjured an unlikely birdie at 17 to give himself the luxury of a two-shot advantage. A two-putt par on 18 sealed the win.

"I've been contending," he said. "I feel I'm getting better with age. I'm like a good wine."

Daughter Aoife was the first to congratulate McCormack, rushing to the green to give Daddy a hug after he completed his round, and they will welcome a new addition to the family in September when McCormack's wife Mary is due to give birth to a baby boy.

"This is my final fling," said McCormack. "If I don't win anything else it's good to have this one."

There are just three tournaments left in the Bridgestone series and the next event is the North of Ireland at Royal Portrush from 9-13 July. The other remaining tournaments in the series are: South of Ireland (25-29 July) and AIG Irish Close (4-8 August).

BRIDGESTONE ORDER OF MERIT - AFTER CONNACHT STROKE PLAY

1 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 503
2 Alex Gleeson (Castle) 410
3 Robert Brazill (Naas) 345
4 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 278
5 James Sugrue (Mallow) 233
6 James Fox (Portmarnock) 205
7 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 198
8 Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) 180
9 Devin Morley (Oughterard) 170
10 Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo) 158
11 Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 150
12 Jack Madden (Royal Portrush) 145
13 TJ Ford (Co Sligo) 144
14 Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) 142
15 Paul Coughlan (Castleknock) 135
16 Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 133
T17 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), Tiarnán McLarnon (Massereene) 130
19 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 118
T20 Dylan Brophy (Castleknock), Peter McKeever (Castle) 117
22 Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) 114
23 Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 113
T24 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little), Gary O'Flaherty (Cork) 108
26 Ryan Gribben (Warrenpoint) 100
27 John Hickey (Cork) 92
T28 Allan Hill (Athenry), Jonathan Yates (Naas) 90
30 Michael Ryan (New Ross) 80
31 Thomas O'Connor (Athlone) 78
32 Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) 75
33 Matthew McClean (Malone) 72
34 Andrew McCormack (Castletroy) 70
35 Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 63
36 Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 62
T37 Gerard Dunne (Co Louth), Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin), Keith Egan (Carton House), Fraser Carr (Kirkistown Castle) 60
T41 Kyle McCarron (North West), Shane McDermott (Co Cavan), Barry Anderson (Royal Dublin), Paraic Connolly (Killeen Castle), Rory Williamson (Holywood), Keith Murphy (Dun Laoghaire) 58
47 Mark Collins (Killeen Castle) 42 
T48 Ian O'Rourke (Royal Dublin), Stephen Walsh (Portmarnock) 41
50 James McLoughlin (Portumna) 40
51 Aaron Grant (Dundalk) 39 
52 Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) 37
53 Eoghan Long (Monkstown) 37
54 Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) 36
55 Ryan O'Doherty (Enniscrone) 35
T56 Robert Moran (Castle), Conor Ryan (Dun Laoghaire), Robbie Hynes (Royal Dublin), Charlie Denvir (Elm Park), Niall Hearns (Mountrath), Fergal Kennedy (The Island), Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), David McAleenon (Edenmore), Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas), Gary Collins (Rosslare), William Small (Tandragee), William Russell (Clandeboye), John McCarthy (Stackstown), Gerard Dunne (Co Louth), Jack Doherty (Carton House), Thomas Neenan (Lahinch), Paul Coughlan (Castleknock), Anthony McDaid (Palmerstown Stud), Peter McKeever (Castle), Andrew McCormack (Castletroy), Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin), Gary McDermott (Carton House), Paul O'Hanlon (Carton House), Jack Walsh (Castle), Aaron Marshall (Lisburn), Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu), Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell), John Greene (Portmarnock), Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint), John Brady (Rosslare), Aaron Kearney (Castlerock), Keith Egan (Carton House), Dwayne Mallon (Dungannon), Marc Nolan (Dun Laoghaire), Fraser Carr (Kirkistown Castle), Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown), Gavin Smyth (Clonmel), Sean Ryan (Royal Dublin), Luke O'Neill (Connemara), Jake Whelan (Newlands), Michael Sinclair (Knock), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock), Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire), Gary Cullen (Beaverstown), Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown), John Murphy (Kinsale), Padraic O'Brien (Co. Louth), Hugh O'Hare (Fortwilliam), David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown), Sean Doyle (Black Bush), Alan Lowry (Esker Hills), Stephen Healy (Royal Dublin), Alan Dowling (Hermitage) 30