BRENDAN McCarroll stormed to an outstanding victory in the Casino Sanremo Open in Italy last Sunday to claim his second title in the prestigious European Alps Golf Tour.
SIMON COLLINS reports
And the Letterkenny-based professional is hoping to make it a remarkable hat-trick of successes this weekend in San Roque, Spain when he competes in the Alps Open of Andalucia which teed-off yesterday.
With his eyes firmly focused on securing a place on next year’s European Challenge Tour, McCarroll - who is an honorary member of Ballyliffin Golf Club - is enjoying the best form of his professional career so far.
Going into last weekend’s tournament in Sanremo on the back of his maiden victory in the 20th Gosser Open two weeks previous, McCarroll topped the leaderboard with a fantastic seven under par 62, to lift the trophy ahead of overnight leader, Switzerland’s Jon Andrea Noder and Italy’s Alberto Campanile.
Always confident he could register his second Alps Tour victory, McCarroll was relaxed throughout and having scored a 72 and 66 in the opening two rounds, he saved his best for last with a 62 in the third and final round and waited anxiously in the clubhouse for the last group to finish.
“When I finished with the 62 I wasn’t really sure if that would be enough to win it because I found it easy that day and was thinking there was bound to be a lot of other people shooting low scores,” said McCarroll last night.
“Coming up to the last couple of holes there’s a couple of difficult par threes so, in a way, I thought I might finish in the top three but I never thought I would win it.
“Both these victories are way up there with my best achievements because I’ve been trying so hard to win and to get two wins within such a short space of time isn’t something I thought I could achieve, so I’m delighted.”
Having pipped a total of 131 golfers to the title, McCarroll believes his successive victories on the high profile tour can give him the confidence to claim additional honours in the remaining Alps Golf Tour events.
“I’m not playing too bad at the minute,” he added. “It was the type of course that, considering the way I was planning to play, it wasn’t going to prove very difficult for me.
“I knew I could get a lot of birdies on it. I was confident going into the tournament and always thought I could win it.
“It was just a matter of holing the putts really.
“I drove so well that I decided to play aggressive. During the first round I had nightmares around greens, I couldn’t chip well but I just played my normal game and it worked out in the end thankfully.”
McCarroll insists that playing alongside his good friend, Jason Kelly from Norway who finished tie for sixth, was a key factor in his success as he was able to enjoy the course and felt the pressure was off.
“Jason’s a good friend of mine. I’ve known him now for the last couple of years and playing alongside him made everything that bit more relaxing I suppose and a bit easier.
“I just went out for a bit of fun and it paid off. It takes the pressure off when you can enjoy it,” he concluded.
The 26 year-old is now second in the Order of Merit on the European Alps Tour with the top five qualifying for the Challenge Tour in 2013 and he’ll be hoping to repeat his Sanremo performance in this weekend’s Alps Opens of Andalucia which concludes tomorrow (Saturday).