A dozen Cork golfers will be hoping to bridge a 13 year gap and win the South of Ireland Championship this week. Mallow’s Meryvn Owens was the last man to bring the famous trophy back to Cork in 2003, when he beat the holder Colm Moriarty on the 18th green in Lahinch. Cork winners have been few and far between, John McHenry won in 1986 and before that there’s a 22 year gap to W A Kelleher’s win. The statistics would suggest that a few more years should pass before the next Cork winner, but given the strength and depth of the Cork golfers competing this year, don’t rule out a good run from a few of the form golfers.
Irish Amateur Open winner Peter O’Keeffe leads the Cork challenge, and O’Keeffe be hoping to play all seven rounds over the five days that will see him into the final. The big hitting Douglas member is currently playing of +3.3, and he’ll be joined by his friend and Barton Shield teammate Karl Bornemann. Kinsale have three representatives in the field, John Murphy has two wins in the bag this year and will be hoping to gain his first senior title. Cathal Butler won the Munster Strokeplay last year and he’d love to add a South title to his roll of honour. Gary Ward has also been playing some very good golf this year and his handicap of +1.5 saw him get into the championship.
Gary O’Flaherty and John Hickey lead the challenge from Cork Golf Club. Monkstown’s Eoghan Long makes a return to Lahinch this year and he’ll be joined by Sean Desmond who making his first trip to the South. The North Cork is represented by three golfers. James Sugrue and Conor Dowling from Mallow will be in action, as will Kanturk’s Pat Fitzpatrick.
The first of the two strokeplay rounds will get underway at 7.00am on Wednesday morning, with 150 golfers heading out on the famous links. The top 64 will qualify for the matchplay which starts on Friday. It’ll be a long week for the four golfers who make it through to the semi-finals on Sunday morning, but none of the four will complain with a one in four chance of winning the famous South.