A young Rory McIlroy fan has shown he has enough talent on the golf course to rival his idol after he shot a course record just a day before he went on to help his GAA club win a league game.
Charlie Cooley (18) shot a round of 62 at Belvoir Park Golf Course in Belfast last Saturday before taking to the pitch with his team O’Donovan Rossa, who beat St John’s by a point in the Antrim Senior Football League the next day.
The Newtownbreda teenager’s sporting feats have prompted praise from both Belvoir and Antrim GAA.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Charlie said his previous best was a round of 70 – a full eight shots more than his 62 – now the course record for amateurs at Belvoir.
Charlie broke the record set by fellow young golfer Gareth Lappin who scored 63 last year. It was also a joint best score for professionals set a couple of years ago in the Belvoir Pro-Am.
“I’m surprised by it all,” said Charlie “I didn’t really feel like I deserved it. The round on Saturday was just one round, so I wasn’t really expecting it.
“The front nine I had seven birdies and two pars and I’ve never really done that before… I was probably more nervous in the front nine because I was doing something I hadn’t done before. But with the back nine it was just a case of holding on to a good score, and trying to build on that.”
Charlie bogeyed the 12th hole which could have derailed his round, but he managed to pull it back to post his spectacular score.
“It was my best round by a long way. My best round previously was 70. Eight shots of a difference is quite a big deal in golf,” he added.
“I’m a big fan of McIlroy. He would be my favourite golfer by a long way.”
The young sportsman then joined his GAA teammates as a late substitute in the game. A late free from Colm Fleming gave Rossa a 0-15 to 0-14 victory.
“It’s my first year playing as a senior and I wasn’t expecting to get on,” he said. “I was just happy to get on.”
His success in both sports has seen him dubbed ‘Rossa’s Rory McIlroy’.