Guernsey Press

Consistency is key to teenager Conor’s island success

Conor McKenna wore the smile of a 17-year-old who could not quite believe that he had just been crowned Island men’s champion on Sunday afternoon.

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At 17, Conor McKenna (in orange) is one of, if not the youngest winner of the island title. (Gareth Le Prevost, 33271409)

He had just come through one of the best finals ever witnessed at L’Ancresse, winning an epic clash of the top two seeds against Jeremy Nicolle on the 41st hole after both had produced some remarkable golf in testing, blustery conditions in the biggest match of the domestic calendar.

‘It feels brilliant,’ McKenna said.

‘Had a great game against Jez. He’s just such a tough opponent, especially in these windy conditions. He just has so much power behind the ball, I’m constantly trying to keep up with him and he’s just putting the pressure on you time after time again.’

The teenager was up to that challenge, though, and his brilliant birdie two on the 36th to take the final to extra holes proved not only his ability, but his mentality too.

‘Probably the best putt I’ve ever holed in my life. It needed to go in, so I enjoyed it,’ he said of his 12ft putt, with his smile growing wider as he recollected the moment.

As is to be expected over a 36-hole match, both players had their ups-and-downs with McKenna’s sticky patch coming around the turn in the morning round when he lost four holes out of five, but he knew patience was vital.

‘I’m a 36-hole player, I like to have more time, but I didn’t expect to be 4 down through 11.

‘But that’s where the 36 holes kind of helped out because I’m quite consistent. I managed to stay consistent for the whole round.’

That consistency earned him the Bachmann Trophy and a shot at the Channel Islands title on home soil in July.

  • Read a full Island Championship final report in Tuesday’s Press.