Castle international Alex Gleeson has finished first in the race for the Bridgestone Order of Merit.
Gleeson, who has family connections in Sligo, overtook long-time leader Robin Dawson at the final event of the season. The 24-year-old Dubliner took top prize thanks to his semi-final run at the AIG Irish Close in what was the first year of the Bridgestone series.
“To win the Bridgestone Order of Merit is very rewarding for me,” said Gleeson. “My goal at the start of the year was to get into contention in as many events as possible.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a win but I was able to have three top-3 finishes which shows that my game was very close. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to have performed well at home in the Irish championships. And it’s been brilliant having Bridgestone involved this year, showing their support for Irish amateur golf.”
Colm Conyngham, Marketing Manager, Bridgestone Ireland said: “Bridgestone would like to congratulate Alex on winning the inaugural Bridgestone Order of Merit and wish him every success in the future. We were very impressed at the quality of the players and we hope that our initiative with the GUI helps keep the spotlight on Ireland’s amateur golfers and emerging talent”.
Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer, became title sponsor for the men’s order of merit earlier this year. Gleeson produced a true, all round performance across the series to finish at number one. And with the top two players guaranteed a place in the Ireland team, Gleeson and Dawson have secured their spots for the Home Internationals this September in Wales.
A memorable season for Gleeson began at the West of Ireland in April, where he was runner-up, and he backed up that performance the following month at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open, where he was tied second to Dawson.
That victory put Dawson ahead on the order of merit but Gleeson eventually reeled him in at the final event of the series. By reaching the semi-finals of the Irish Close, Gleeson finally moved past Dawson in the race for the Bridgestone title. In all there were eight events in the series.
BRIDGESTONE ORDER OF MERIT – TOP 10
1 Alex Gleeson (Castle) 615
2 Robin Dawson (Tramore) 503
3 Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) 430
4 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 420
5 James Sugrue (Mallow) 404
6 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 393
7 Robert Brazill (Naas) 375
8 Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) 351
9 Eanna Griffin (Waterford), Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 306