Lester clinches Connacht Stroke Play Championship

ROWAN Lester of Hermitage Golf Club survived a final round surge by Kilkenny’s Mark Power to clinch the Connacht Stroke Play Championship at Portmuna Golf Club on Sunday.

Despite holding a four-shot lead at six-under par heading into the final round of the tournament, the Dubliner was made fight all the way for the title.

Rowan Lester Connacht Stroke Play 2020 LRDSC01861 1

Hermitage golfer Rowan Lester captured the Connacht Stroke Play Championship title at Portumna Golf Club Photo by Thos Caffrey / Golffile

Indeed the 2019 Naasau Invitational winner, saw his advantage whittled down to just one stroke after he double-bogeyed the par-three fifth.

Yet he served up birdies at both the sixth and eighth to remain at six under as he reached the turn.

Still Power was not giving up the chase and the two-time Irish Boy champion again reduced the gap to one only to see Lester re-establish a two-shot advantage on the 15th.

And the 2017 North of Ireland champion brought it home from there for a closing 71 that saw him finish on a seven-under par winning tally and earn a two stroke victory that subsequently moves him into a share of 10th in the 2020 Bridgestone Series with just one event to go.

“I’m delighted to get across the line,” said Lester. “I’ve never won a 72-hole stroke play event. It was something I always wanted to do. I won a North, a few tournaments in America that were 54-holes, but I feel like a true champion is decided over 72-holes.

“It wasn’t easy. I had a great couple of up and downs on the back nine and holed a few good putts so yeah, I’m chuffed.

“It hasn’t really been much of a season to be honest. It was nice to go over to the British Amateur. It’s all just been a bit mad though. I’ve been playing nice golf, but it’s weird not having a schedule to work off.”

Next up for the Hermitage star will be the AIG Irish Close Champ-ionship in Rosapenna from October 9-11.

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