Stuart Bleakley has set his sights on breaking into the Ulster side after winning the South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch GC last week.
The 19-year-old beat Portmarnock’s Darragh Coghlan 3&2 to claim his first ‘major’ and replicate the success of Shandon Park legends David Long and Neil Anderson who captured the title in 1974 and 1984 respectively.
With his dad Geoff, a PGA professional on the bag, Bleakley put it ‘all together’ in tough conditions for a victory that will hopefully act as a springboard for bigger things.
“The long game has been there but it was the short game, the putting that was key,” said Stuart who is coached by Philip Farrell and his father.
“I came back from the North of Ireland Championship and changed back to an old putter, that seemed to do the trick, I really got the ball rolling well.”
Bleakley was dominant in the final, never trailing against Coghlan who struggled over the opening holes of the final.
Once in front, the Shandon Park golfer showed no signs of releasing his opponent and is determined to kick on now.
He added; “I’m only just starting now and I’m committed to putting in the hard work.”
Meanwhile, Ulster duo Colm Campbell and John-Ross Galbraith join Richard Bridges and Robin Dawson as new senior caps in the Ireland team for the Home Internationals at Southerndown Golf Club in Wales from August 13-15.
Dermot McElroy, Cormac Sharvin and Chris Selfridge are also included in the team bringing the Ulster contingent up to five.
Campbell won the East and reached the semi-finals of the Close while Selfridge won his second successive North of Ireland crown in July.
Galbraith won the Irish Close Championship at Seapoint in June.
Ireland Richard Bridges (Stackstown), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Faithlegg), Paul Dunne (Greystones), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Jack Hume (Naas), Gary Hurley (West Waterford & NUIM), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Gavin Moynihan (The Island), Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park), Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass & Stirling University)