Come-back king Matthew wins Haughton Smyth Cup

Matthew Mallon was three down with eight to play in the final before staging a dramatic come-back.
Matthew Mallon was three down with eight to play in the final before staging a dramatic come-back.

The Haughton Smyth Cup is one of the oldest and most valuable trophies in Banbridge Golf Club.

To win it, a player has to be the complete golfer, proficient at both strokeplay and matchplay.

Back in April, Matthew Mallon (6) qualified with a gross 76 and Norman Robb also qualified with a nett 67. Matthew then beat Mark McCoy, Jamie Thompson and Kerry McCluskey to reach the final.

Norman beat Brian Mulholland, Malcolm Russell and Kenny Stevenson on his way to the big decider.

That match, between Matthew and Norman, was played last week and it was a thrilling game befitting the occasion.

Matthew got off to the better start. Pars at the first and third and a birdie at the fourth put him two up.

Norman steadied himself and he won four of the next five holes to reverse the score. It was all looking good for Norman as he reached the turn at two up.

A par three, nett two, at the tenth hole put him three up with only eight holes to play. He must have thought he was edging towards a major win.

But Matthew Mallon is a seasoned campaigner and he knows just how difficult it is to get over the winning line. He reeled off four straight pars and he won three of those holes. Suddenly, the match was all square with four to play.

Norman was shaken but he still had three shots to come. Could he settle his nerves and put in a strong finish? I’m afraid not!

He halved the short 15th but then lost the 16th and 17th to two steady pars from Matthew. It was all over and Norman warmly congratulated the victor.

It was a match played in the true spirit of the game and Matthew Mallon is a worthy winner. As well as being a terrific golfer, he is also a fine young gentleman and a credit to the game.

Norman will have great memories of this competition. Remember he beat Brian Mulholland and Kenny Stevenson, two of the all-time greats. Getting the better of Matthew Mallon was just a bridge too far.