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The former Ryder Cup player started the final round with a huge 11-shot advantage after a bogey-free 66 in round one and a sublime course record 63 in round two, and he was in total control throughout the final round as he completed the job with a 69 for a -18 total.
The Englishman started with five pars and a birdie on 6 and bogey on 9 gave him a level par front nine and a seven-shot advantage moving into the inward half. He effectively sealed the deal with a brilliant eagle at 10 and a birdie at 11, before playing the remaining holes in even par – with a bogey at 12 and birdie at 16 – to seal a richly deserved win in front of the brilliant Irish fans.
It’s a first win in four years after he last tasted victory at the French Senior Open in 2019, and continues a positive start to the season following a tied-14th finish at the Riegler and Partner Legends in Austria and a tied-3rd in the Jersey Legends two weeks ago
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Baker. “I’ve always wanted to win in Ireland and I’ve come close a few times in the past, so to come here and play well and win is absolutely brilliant. It was one of my ambitions to win with Helen (my wife) caddying for me and that’s ticked that box as well.”
“It was the unknown,” Baker said of his 11-shot overnight lead. “It was a really strange mindset. You want to attack but not too much, and you don’t want to be too defensive. I thought if I could make as many pars as I can and not give too much back to the course I can make it as difficult as I can for the chasers. Fortunately, it went my way and I had to good holes at 10 and 11.”
The win was as emotional as it was brilliant: “I lost my mum about five weeks ago now, so I think I had a bit of help from above, and she’d have been very proud. It’s just been a great week and something I’ll never forget.”
Ricardo Gonzalez came into the last day in a three-way tie for 3rd and he made sure he finished solo 2nd with a best-of-the-day 65 to get to -11. The Argentinian circled red numbers on 1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 18. Michael Long overcame a double bogey on 5 with a back nine of 32 to finish alone in 3rd on -7.
Adilson da Silva and Patrik Sjoland were tied-4th on -5 and defending champion Phillip Price fired an excellent final round of 67 to climb to 6th.