Monkstown’s Cian McNamara shot an impressive 68 in Adare on Monday to win the Munster PGA winter series event. This was just the second event to take place in the series, no less than three scheduled events were cancelled due to the weather before Christmas. McNamara had a strong finish to the season in 2015 and he’s started 2016 in sparkling form. Although he dropped a shot early on thanks to a three putt on the 4th, he regained a stroke on the index one 5th hole. He went on to birdie the 8th, 10th, 15th and 16th to sign for a four under par 68. The Limerick native has been working hard over the winter season, along with coach Eddie Doyle, he’s also been working with Peter O’Keeffe’s TPI Golf Fitness based at Dennehy’s Health & Fitness in Douglas. “I can safely say I’m hitting the ball the best I’ve ever hit it” said a happy McNamara, “It’s down to Eddie and Peter, alongside my new Taylormade M1 woods which have been superb.” Cian is one of a growing number of elite golfers who are turning to golf specific fitness training to improve their game. Tipperary’s Marian Riordan was second with a 69 and Davey Barry from Douglas took third place with a 70. Ciaran McKenna (Mallow) and Tim Rice both finished with 71 to tie for fourth place and Fota winner David Ryan was sixth with a level par 72. Despite the continuing poor weather the event was again very well supported by Munster professionals. The event was held in a pro-am format with each pro bringing along an amateur. The pro-am prize went to Marian Riordan who was partnered by her brother Colm. The event was sponsored by John Caulfield from Taylormade Adidas Golf. There was a huge amount of praise for the course, the greens were very quick given the rain over the weekend and the fairways were in great condition.
The Munster PGA were one of the last groups to play on the current configuration of the championship course in Adare. The course closed yesterday for a renovation that will see an impressive upgrade take place at the former Irish Open host venue. JP McManus bought the prestigious Limerick resort last year, paying in the region of €30m for the championship course, iconic and vast grounds. McManus followed the purchase with news of a dramatic upgrade plan that would see the course closed for most of 2016, and the 62 bed manor house hotel closed for up to 18 months. There were reports last year that McManus was targeting a return of the Irish Open (last held there in 2008) and possibly a bid for the Ryder Cup. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, and is said to be one of his final solo designs before he collaborated with his sons Rees and Robert Jnr. Although he wasn’t the owner at the time, McManus was the driving force of the JP McManus Pro-Am which was last held in 2010. Tiger Woods led an all-star professional line up at the event in 2010. He has said that he hopes to run the event again, most likely in 2017. The next event in the Premium Golf Brands Winter Series will take place in Castlemartyr. It takes place next month and is sponsored by Ollie Grogan and Barry Nestor from Golf Buddy. The William Rushby Pro-Am will take place in Waterville in March and the Morgan O’Donovan Trophy will round off the winter series in early April. January is generally a quiet time for PGA Professionals but two club vacancies in Munster were advertised this month. Charleville Golf Club are looking for a Club Professional to take over from Jamie O’Sullivan who is moving to take up a similar role in Rosslare. Charleville is mature 18 hole parkland course, serving a large area in North Cork. A little bit further out than Charleville, Newcastlewest also advertised for a club professional. The vacancies will provide local PGA professionals with an opportunity to progress their careers.