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ERIN, Wis. — Matthew McClean built a 5-up lead and was able to hold off his close friend Hugh Foley to win the US Mid Amateur Championship on Saturday. The all-Irish final was played at Erin Hills. The tournament was delayed due to rain.
As a result of rain earlier in the week, the 36-hole championship event had to be played over the course of two days. After the first 18 holes played on Friday evening, McClean was two strokes ahead of Foley. McClean then took advantage of Foley’s bogeys to gain a significant lead.
Foley finished the match with three consecutive birdies, but McClean won the match by three and one with a par on the 35th hole, thereby ending Foley’s chances of winning the match.
As a result of his victory, McLean has earned a spot in the Masters Tournament in April as well as the U.S. Open in June at the Los Angeles Country Club.
It was the culmination of a lengthy and continuous week spent together by the Irish friends.
They took the same flight out of Dublin on September 5th. They did everything together, from sharing a rental car and housing to playing practice rounds together. After that, the final match got down to business, and during most of it, McClean was largely in control of the situation.
Matthew McClean is the US Mid Amateur champion
After Padraig Harrington’s victory at the U.S. Senior Open, he became the second Irish golfer in this year’s competition to take home a USGA championship.
McLean stated that Shane Lowry, a former winner of the British Open who recently took first place at the BMW PGA Championship held at Wentworth, messaged them on Friday night to let them know that there would be at least one more Irish player competing at Augusta National and the U.S. Open. McLean said that Lowry won the BMW PGA Championship last week at Wentworth.
“Just thank goodness it’s going to be me going there,” McClean remarked. “This year, Hugh has played golf at an incredible level. He has probably been the top player in Ireland for the past three months, and he has done so comfortably. It’s definitely the player I would have liked to face in the championship match, but at the same time, it’s not the person you want to lose to in the championship match.”
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