Chris returns to winning ways at Royal Portrush

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CHRIS Selfridge (Moyola Park) ended 10 months of frustration by winning the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush on Saturday.

The tournament, disrupted by two stoppages earlier in the week for mist and fog, finally came to a conclusion with Selfridge beating Gary Hurley (West Waterford/Maynooth).

The final, which started at 7am to accommodate the members playing their weekend competition, produced some high quality golf with Selfridge fighting back after a slow start to wrap up an important victory on the 17th.

“I’m delighted and relieved. I really, really wanted to win,” said the 21-year-old from Castledawson. “I knew I was playing good enough. It was all abut getting over that final hurdle. I won the Irish Close [also at Royal Portrush] and the East of Ireland Championship last year, then I won a US college tournament in October but I’ve won nothing since then.

“That’s too long without a win. I have been playing consistently and had a lot of top 10s. The game has been good; it was just been about putting everything together.”

Selfridge almost withdrew from the tournament because of illness on Sunday evening but managed to play two rounds of qualifying on Monday and Tuesday and only just scraped into the match-play rounds.

“I really wanted to play in this event. My coach, Johnny Foster, wanted me to play even if I was sick,” added Chris.

“His friend Michael Hoey won the British Amateur title years ago when he was sick and Johnny had told me he had a really good feeling that I could do well at the north this year.

“The stoppages in play because of the fog actually turned out to be good for me as I got over being sick. I didn’t have to play 36 holes and got a bit more rest. It turned out to be a blessing.”