Kilkenny’s Mark Power has taken the chequered flag in the Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit for 2018.
Power was confirmed as Ireland’s number one following his selection for this year’s Jacques Leglise Trophy and the 18-year-old celebrated his Bridgestone triumph by helping Great Britain & Ireland to victory against the Continent of Europe.
An individual title may have proved elusive during the season but Power’s consistency, at senior and underage level, has been remarkable.
“I actually feel like I had a great year although I didn’t get the win I was really looking for,” said Power.
“At boys level I suppose one of the main highlights was tied leading qualifier in the Boys Amateur Championship. One of my main goals was to have a good tournament there and I played great all week.
“Losing in the quarter-finals was a bit disappointing but it’s the biggest boys event in the world really.”
That run to the last eight of the Boys Amateur at Royal Portrush earned Power a sizeable chunk of points on the Order of Merit and his 100 per cent return at the Boys Home Internationals was another source of satisfaction.
“It was also nice to go 6/6 in my last Boys Home Internationals and I kept my 9/9 singles record from the three years I have played,” said Power, who became the first player ever to compile such a record.
“It was only at the end of the week when I won my three singles I realised I hadn’t lost one,” Power revealed.
Not content to dominate the boys circuit, Power was also prominent at senior level in 2018 and came close to victory at both the East of Ireland and South of Ireland.
“I felt this year was the year I wanted to push on in men’s golf and challenge for a men’s win,” he reflected.
“I played great at the East of Ireland which was a nice start to the summer.
“One of the main highlights I had was leading the qualifying in the South of Ireland and eventually losing out to the winner Caolan Rafferty in the semi-final.
“I’ve been going to Lahinch ever since I can remember with my family so it was very special to have a good tournament at the South.”
This Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit recognises the leading performers across the season. As part of the new format, the top three players earned automatic selection on the Ireland team for the Boys Home Internationals.
BRIDGESTONE BOYS INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF MERIT TOP 10
1 Mark Power (Kilkenny) 372
2 Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) 162
3 David Kitt (Athenry) 151
4 Tom McKibbin (Holywood) 115
5 Charlie Denvir (Elm Park) 109
6 Allan Hill (Athenry) 107
7 Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 93
8 Max Kennedy (The Royal Dublin) 79
9 Joshua Robinson (Lisburn) 75
10 Odhran Maguire (Slieve Russell) 73