Portadown club professional Paul Stevenson and Belfast-based teacher Matt Lavery have Gleneagles as the next challenge following glory last week in the Lombard Trophy.
Victory at the Irish region qualifying event around The K Club has set up a September date in Scotland following the seven-under-par round of 65.
The Republic of Ireland’s John Dignam and Brendan Keenan had to settle for second by a single shot, with Stevenson and Lavery now switching focus to the £80,000 final around the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles over September 1 and 2.
Lavery, who plays off an eight handicap, may have to negotiate the holiday time but is relishing a chance to tackle Scotland’s Ryder Cup venue.
“I’m a teacher at the Belfast Royal Academy,” said the 28-year-old, who has only recently returned to the sport. “I only interviewed for the job in June and the final is in term time so I might have to do a bit of begging now! “But I’m really looking forward to playing at Gleneagles, that’s a great prize, especially after The K Club. “I was playing up until I was 21 then I played more with The Ambassadors in the Mid-Ulster Football League. “But I was getting injured a lot and came back to golf.
“It’s good that I did after winning here with Paul.” A late birdie proved decisive for Lavery and Stevenson.
“We bogeyed the 17th hole, which was the first time we’d done that all day,” said Lavery. “It meant we had to birdie the 18th or we would’ve lost on countback and Paul was able to do that.”
Stevenson previously reached the final in 2001, when the showpiece took place in Portugal. “When you’ve reached it once, you want to do it again so this is great,” said Stevenson. “I always try to do well in this event because Lombard are such great supporters of The PGA. “I’ve played at Gleneagles before, about four years ago, and I’m really looking forward to going back. “Myself and Matt dovetailed really well, it worked out perfectly even if it was close at the end.”