Slieve Russell's Leona Maguire defeated Royal Portrush's Stephanie Meadow by two holes to win her second Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship in Louth today.
In an eagerly anticipated final, the two Curtis Cup stars locked horns having notched semi final victories over Lucy Simpson (Massereene) and Carla Reynolds (Seapoint) respectively earlier in the day.
Maguire now joins an exclusive group of players with two Irish Close titles to her name, while the sizeable crowd were left in no doubt that Meadow's name will soon adorn the trophy.
Having won the Irish Championship in 2008, Maguire’s experience served her well racing to a three-hole advantage after starting par, birdie, birdie, birdie.
A shell shocked Meadow reacted strongly with a birdie of her own at the short fifth and impressively squared the match with further birdies on six and nine.
Turning for home and with the match finely balanced, Maguire restored her advantage at the long 11th, holing from 25 feet for yet another birdie. The next two holes were halved in regulation pars and then came that match-turning moment at the 14th.
In heavy rough off the tee and again with her approach, Maguire looked to lose her advantage as Meadow arrowed her approach to 15 feet above the hole. Maguire miraculously pitched to three feet and after Meadow missed, Maguire held for a highly unlikely par-saving half.
Buoyed by the events, she won the short 15th in regulation and although Meadow won the next in par, Maguire closed out the tie at the last after Meadow uncharacteristically lost her ball in heavy rough off the tee.