American Patrick Tallent completed the perfect double with a gritty final round of 75 to win the Seniors Amateur Championship at Royal County Down. Winner of the US Senior Amateur Championship in California last September, he came from one shot behind with two to play to finally end a run of close finishes and land his first Seniors Amateur Championship title.
The 61-year-old finished on five-over-par 218, just one shot ahead of fellow Virginian, Matthew Sughrue, who shot a 74 on Friday for 219. Another American, Chip Lutz, the champion in 2011 and 2012, was third on 225 after a fine closing 72.
Sughrue looked set to lift the trophy when he holed a 15-foot birdie putt to move one ahead at the 16th with a clenched first celebration signifying the significance of the moment. But he nervously missed a short par putt at the 17th and the dangerous par-five 18th proved costly. After a perfect drive, he pulled his second into rough and took four more shots to hole out. Tallent made two great closing pars to claim the title.
The Northern Ireland trip was Tallent’s sixth attempt at the Seniors Amateur and he has never finished outside the top ten. Fifth on his debut, he was then fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Finally, he clinched the number one spot.
Commenting Tallent said, “It’s unbelievable to have won both the US and British titles. I’ve been so close in the past and I thought my chance to win here was done. Matt and I are good friends and I feel bad for him because he let it slip at the end. We’ve known each other for years. It’s such a great thrill to take this Championship. Now I’ll be defending the US Senior Amateur Championship at Hidden Creek in New Jersey and I’ll definitely be back to try for this title again at Formby.”