UCD's Jonathan Yates claims the West of Ireland crown

30 Mar 2016

UCD’s Jonathan Yates was crowned champion at the 2016 Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa sponsored West of Ireland Amateur Open Championship yesterday as he defeated Castle’s Daniel Holland at Co Sligo.

Described by the Irish Times as “combining the strength of a prize-fighter with the nerveless touch of a surgeon” 22 year old UCD Arts student, Jonathon Yates beat UCD graduate and former scholarship student, Castle’s Daniel Holland 2&1 in a bloody contest, playing the 17 holes in one-over-par to the Dubliner’s five-over, to capture the West of Ireland Amateur Open at County Sligo.

Jonathan is a member of Naas Golf Club and Jack Hume, who won the title two years ago and Conor O’Rourke improving, Naas golf is flying with the help of club professional Gavin Lunny.

“Since Jack won here, things have really switched on in the club,” Yates explained. “Myself and Conor work closely under Gavin, who has given us the knowledge of our swings to know how to cope under presser and fix it if things go wrong.

“But, as an influence, Jack has been incredible and he has taught us how to win and I had a great chat with him last night. He told me just to turn my phone off and forget everything and go and play.”

Jonathon won a heart-stopping semi-final over holder and favourite Dermot McElroy in the morning. It wasn’t looking good when he fell two down after nine, but Yates holed 30 footer for birdies to win the 10th and the 12th and level with McElroy.

He then took advantage of the Ballymena man’s putting errors on the 14th and 16th to go two up and while he lost the 17th to a fine McElroy par, he held on to win one up.

In the final despite losing the first to a Holland birdie in the final, he won three of four holes from the fourth to go two up and was never caught. Jonathon holed a four footer to claim the title and commented;

“There was something nice about going out and winning it rather than Dan doing something to lose,” Yates said. “It was a nice way to finish.

Jonathan Yates joins a list of prestigious golfers who have won this competition including Rory McIlroy, UCD’s own Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington and believes he’s now close to his dream of an Irish cap and always believed his ball-striking would prove the difference to winning this cap.

“I had a bit of an ultimatum coming here,” he said.

“The Irish captain Tony Goode told me I was close to the Senior panel and said I needed a good result this week to have a chance,”

“Hopefully this does what I want. I want to play in the Home Internationals this year.” He said.