John-Ross Crangle has become the All Ireland pitch and putt champion, after winning the final in the Tipperary foothills earlier this month, as he triumphed on a course he was playing for the very first time.
The Loughlinstown man came out on top over 36 holes, who plays his golf out of Loughlinstown Pitch and Putt Club, just off the N11, and described the event as “a serious test of both mental and physical ability”, highlighting the need to play six 36-hole matches over the course of a three-day weekend.
He started off with an 11&10 win over Tullamore’s Paul Carey. Crangle went on to beat Danny Looney, Anthony Culhane and Liam O’Donovan on day two. “The second game of the Sunday was, without a doubt, the hardest game of the weekend. I was playing the last Tipperary Hills member in Anthony Culhane. It was a superb match and the home crowd was quite boisterous,” Crangle said.
“I was playing catch up a lot in the last few holes and experience played a huge part in getting me through the game. I won the 34th and 36th holes with birdies to win the match on the last hole.”
“Going into the semi-finals, I was the outsider with the other three players all national Champions. I played Bryan Delaney in the semi-final from Fermoy. There was only one in it for a long period before I birdied three holes in a row with four holes left.”
“In the final, I played Ray Murphy, a six-time winner of the event. I got off to a good start but he crept into the game and gradually pushed ahead to two up after 15. Then came the burst I needed. Seven birdies in a row, winning 5 of those holes, I found myself in a very winnable position.
“Ray fought back as expected as the rain came down heavily. He got back within two but once again I got a couple of vital putts to go 3up with 3 to play.
“I pitched one of the most important shots of my life to within 2 feet. I still knew I had to make that putt. Ray knocked his putt in, a deep breath and bang. That was it, the hurt of coming second in four nationals was gone, it was more a relief rather than the feeling of joy.”