John Browne defeated Stephen Ruane in a high class final last night to lift the Claret jug for 2013. Both men braved the 30 degree temperatures to contest a final that had everything. Browne made his intentions clear by birdying the opening hole but was immediately pulled back to all square after the second. Ruane went ahead with a birdie on the 5th and increased that lead to 2 up on the 9th. Both men traded holes on 10 and 11 and shared 12,13 and 14. Browne made a 20 foot birdie putt from the front of the green on 15 for another half to hang in there at 2 down. The 16th was shared in par and then Stephen made his first mistake of the night by going into the 17th bunker. A bogie resulted and he lost the hole. Browne took advantage of the tee-box and stitched the 18th to win the hole and leave the match all square at the half-way point.
Browne again birdied the opening hole of the second round. But Ruane is made of stern stuff these days and won both the second and third to go 1 up in the match once more. At this stage the final really took off. Browne birdied 4 and 5 to take back the lead. Both men birdied 6 but Stephen lost 7 when he made his second bogie of the evening. Again both men birdied 8 for a half and 9 was also halved in birdies. So Browne led by 2 with 9 holes remaining. Pars on 10 meant no change but Ruane birdied 11 and 12 to get back to all square once more. The thirteenth was halved in par so with 5 holes left it was anyone’s to win. Browne’s pitch to 14 made its way to a foot from the hole and that birdie gave him a 1 up advantage once more. The pressure was building and the crowd were enjoying the battle. Ruane missed a good chance on 15 to win the hole and so faced the final 3 holes one behind. It looked like curtains when Browne made a six footer on 16 to go two ahead but Ruane wasn’t finished yet. Despite Browne pitching to three feet
on 17, Ruane stitched it to make him have to hole the putt to win. Browne studied carefully and struck his putt firm and true into the centre of the hole. It was a fitting way to end a classic final.
Browne was very complimentary in his speech for the excellent play and sportsmanship of his opponent in the final. He also complimented sponsor Michael Flynn on the fine prizes and his continued generosity to the club. Finally he thanked all the spectators for creating such a wonderful atmosphere for the final.