With most of the inter-club competitions complete, the attention
reverted to opens and singles competitions. Lee Valley held the final of their Oakley Open Singles qualifier which had been running during the summer months. Ger Halligan was the winner, and he won a trip to the Portuguese Masters courtesy of Oakley’s Kieran O’Connor. Stryker won the Corporate Challenge final in Fota Island. The popular competition saw a large number of companies take part in the qualifiers with Cork Airport PJ Hegarty, Stryker and Vistakon all making it to the series final. Stryker came out on top of the four finalists with a grand total of 162 points, and they won a society outing in Fota Island including dinner for 20 people. Castlemartyr held their annual corporate day, and the winners were Leo Spratt, Peter Manning, Bernard Rohan and Cormac Ryan from Spratt Bar in Carrigtohill. The sale of the Resort was also confirmed in October. The Shaw family who own Old Thorns hotel and golf course were successful in bidding for the property and put to end a year of speculation on the NAMA managed property. The initial reaction was very positive and th new owners have ambitious plans for the course and facilities in 2016.
November started with the sad news of the death of Maurice Moloney. The popular owner of East Cork Golf Club died after a short illness and there was great sense of sadness in the Cork golfing community. Maurice took over the golf club from his parents in the mid 90’s and brought huge developments to the operation. He oversaw the development of the driving range, the rebuilding of the clubhouse and several improvements on the course. Maurice was Captain of the club in 2004 and it was a fitting tribute to him and his family that over 4,000 people brought Midleton to a standstill for his funeral.
John Murphy great season was rewarded in November when he won the Munster Junior Golf of the Year award. The bubbly teenager was also rewarded for his busy season when he was named on the Irish Boys training panel. The Munster Branch Annual Delegates Meeting took place at the end of the month and Cork’s Dave Prendergast was elected onto the Provincial Council for the first time. There were no substantive motions before the meeting but news did emerge of a big change to handicaps. From 2016, handicap increases will be limited to one full shot. This effectively cuts in half the maximum increase available to golfers and it also means that if a golfer receives a handicap cut, he can only get a one shot increase from the lowest playing handicap.
This was the month when everything came to a halt. Persistent rain meant that many courses were closed for the entire month, with no sign of any improvement in the short term. The course closed signs left a bad taste for everyone and it was a disappointing end to an otherwise positive year. Very little golf was played and the Munster PGA were forced to postpone both of their events. December also saw the closure of Cork’s oldest off course golf shop, Mahers Golf. Dick Maher and Tommy Maher were selling golf clubs from the Lower Glanmire Road for several decades. Despite the closure there was a heating up of the retail battleground when Dublin retailer McGuirks opened a store in Cork. December was the month for special offers as the retailers battled for customers.
One the course (but not in Cork) Niall Turner retained his playing rights on the Asian Tour with a top five finish in the last event of the season in Thailand. He won over $60,000 in prize-money in his best season in five years in Asia. Castlehaven native Tommy O’Driscoll secured his card on the Apls Tour in France. The Paris based teenager is committed to playing Alps Tour events and will make a decision on turning professional in the next month or two.