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Rafferty rising on the Bridgestone Order of Merit

​After winning the South of Ireland, Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty is in the hunt for the Bridgestone Order of Merit​

  • 31 July 2018

Picture: South of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty | Golffile

 Click here to see the Bridgestone Order of Merit

South of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty has moved up to fourth on the Bridgestone Order of Merit following his victory at Lahinch.
 
The 25-year-old from Dundalk captured his first championship title by beating Rowan Lester at the 20th hole in Sunday's final. Rafferty collected 250 order of merit points for his win at the South, which puts him fourth overall and within striking distance of the top two with one event remaining.
 
Leading qualifier Mark Power from Kilkenny, who lost out to Rafferty in the semi-finals at Lahinch, is now third in the Bridgestone standings.

Tramore's Robin Dawson remains in front, as he has done since winning the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down in May, while Castle international Alex Gleeson occupies the number two position with the top two guaranteed a place on the Ireland team for the Home Internationals.
 
The final event of the series is the AIG Irish Amateur Close (4-8 August) and with 325 points on offer to the winner, anyone inside the top 20 could yet win the Bridgestone Order of Merit. Series leader Dawson will miss the Close, as he travels to Pebble Beach for the US Amateur, which opens the door for the chasing pack.

Buoyed by his victory at the South, Rafferty could be the man to capitalise.

"I've got the monkey off my back, as my father said to me straight away, and he's dead right," said Rafferty following an emotional victory at Lahinch.
 
"I just dug deep and played really good golf on the way in. I gave myself chances and that's all you can do around here," Rafferty concluded and with his first major crown in the bag, his credentials are stronger than ever ahead of this year's Close at The European Club.

Rafferty has been drawn with Lester and Gleeson in stroke play qualifying for the Close, which begins on Saturday 4 August. In addition to Dawson, four of the top 20 are not competing at the Close: Mark Power (Kilkenny), Ian Lynch (Rosslare), Tiarnán McLarnon (Massereene) and Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay).

BRIDGESTONE ORDER OF MERIT - TOP 20
1 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 503
2 Alex Gleeson (Castle) 440
3 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 393
4 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 380
5 Robert Brazill (Naas) 375
6 James Sugrue (Mallow) 321
7 Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 306
8 Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 258
9 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) 253
10 Ian Lynch (Rosslare) 250
11 James Fox (Portmarnock) 235
12 Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) 230
13 Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 223
14 Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 221
15 Matthew McClean (Malone) 217
T16 Jack Madden (Royal Portrush), Peter McKeever (Castle) 205
18 Paul Coughlan (Castleknock) 195
19 Tiarnán McLarnon (Massereene) 190
20 Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) 180