Frankfield’s David Whyte made a return to the winners circle on Monday as he shared the top spot in the William Rushby Waterville Pro-Am. Whyte shot a leading 73 and was matched by Waterville’s own David Higgins and Killarney’s Daniel Sugrue. The event was sponsored by Bill Rushby and as part of the pot, a Volvo V40 was on offer for anyone who aced the par three 4th hole. Unfortunately no one threatened the hole on the day but it added to the enjoyment for everyone. The leading three had two shots to spare on the field. Monkstown’s Cian McNamara was fourth with a 75 and John McHenry shot a 76 to take fifth place. Don McFarlane, Peter O’Hagen and Padraig McGrath were the only others to break 80. The Seniors Prizes was won by Peter O’Hagen. Although the sun shone for almost all of the day, the wind blew hard and turned the benign looking course into a challenging track. Such was the test, none of the 35 professionals matched or beat the course par of 72. This was Bill Rushby’s second year sponsoring the event and it has grown to become the most popular event on the schedule. The event is unique in Munster with the pro-am pair formed by one amateur and one professional rather than the regular three amateurs.
David Higgins also featured in the team competition, winning it with a score of 63 nett. His nephew Liam contributed with 7 nett birdies to help his uncle and take first prize by one stroke. David Whyte partnered by Mark O’Dwyer took second place with a 65 and Cian McNamara and Jim Sugrue were third with a 65.
The world renowned links is a favourite haunt for Cork golfers and the two hour travel time is deemed well worth it by most. The course is looking forward to a busy summer with a strong line of domestic and international bookings. Almost 40 Professionals played in the biggest event of the Winter Series. The shotgun start meant that the clubhouse was full at the end of play with everyone staying for the prizegiving. Speaking on behalf of the three winnners, Danny Sugrue was delighted with the event: “It’s an amazing golf tournament, and it’s really run to perfection. It’s a great credit to the Higgins family and everyone at Waterville”. Hopefully it’s a tournament that will get stronger and stronger in years to come.” Munster PGA Captain Liam Burns was generous in his praise for the course and staff in the famed links: “Waterville is a unique spot, in my opinion it’s the best course in the world. We always get a great warm welcome from Noel Cronin, all the staff here, and especially from the Higgins, it’s always a pleasure to come down. The greenkeepers had the course in great condition. A shotgun start is never easy for the greens staff as every green has to be cut for the start, but the course and greens were great. A special thanks must go to our sponsor Bill Rushby, only for him the event wouldn’t be as big. Everyone looks forward to coming down to the Waterville Pro-Am. Bill has really made the event, his sponsorship is really appreciated and we look forward to his continued support.” Burns and the Munster PGA committee have worked hard to secure courses, sponsors and players for the Winter Series and their hard work has paid off with a big increase in the number of players taking part in each tournament.
With only one event left in the Premium Golf Brands Winter Series there are still five or six golfers in the hunt for the order of merit title. After Waterville Sugrue will leapfrog Cian McNamara to take the top spot while Wayne O’Callaghan and Davey Barry are also in the hunt. The final event of the schedule is the Morgan O’Donovan Perpetual Trophy which takes place in Monkstown. It promises to be an exciting finish to the Winter Series, O’Callaghan has won several times in Monkstown and it’s McNamara’s home course. Davey Barry will fancy his chances as will Danny Sugrue so it’s all to play for. The date for the final event will be finalised next week.
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