Keelan McCarthy added his name to the famous Bruen Youths Trophy on Monday, the Lee Valley golfer beat a strong field in Muskerry to win the title. The event, commemorating Cork’s greatest ever amateur golfer Jimmy Bruen is one of the biggest prizes in junior golf in Cork and is plated over 36 holes in Muskerry. Seventeen year old McCarthy shot rounds of 68 and 73, he led by three shots after the opening round and the afternoon’s 73 was enough to hold the lead and win by one. McCarthy started brightly in the morning with birdies on the second, third and fifth holes, although a double bogey on the tricky sixth threatened to derail his round. Several pars followed and he traded a birdie with a bogey on the 12th and 14th. The Lee Valley golfer finished strongly, he birdied the 15th and 16th and came home with two safe pars to build his strong lead. Muskerry proved to be a tougher test in the afternoon, McCarthy was two over after four holes but the two handicapper birdied the 7th to turn on +1. He birdied the 10th and although he lost shots on the final two holes, the closing 73 was enough to maintain his lead and claim top spot.
Second place went to Sean Leonard from Mitchelstown, he previously won the Muskerry Junior Scratch Trophy and two solid rounds of 71 saw him finish on level par, just one behind the leader. Limerick’s Patrick Naughton was third on +3 while Bantry’s Mel Deasy was fourth on +4. Muskerry golfers claimed the two 18’s. Jack Egan won the second 18 with a 74 while Fionn Hickey won the first 18 with a 72. It was a busy day for Hickey, he interrupted the two rounds to attend the Cork City and County Youth Sports Awards where he was honoured with the award for June. Muskerry’s Sean Naughton won the nett prize after the 18 handicapper put together rounds of 66 and 67. The strong performance saw an immediate cut from 18 to 16 which no doubt pleased the local golfer. There was a very strong field in Muskerry for the competition which has been running since 1986. The cup itself has it’s own legacy, it was won by Jimmy Bruen himself in 1944 when it was presented to him when he won the Muskerry Captain’s Prize.
The Bruen family donated the cup to Muskerry in 1986 when the club wanted to honour the 50th anniversary of Jimmy Bruen’s win in the British Boys at Royal Birkdale. Although Bruen is also associated with Cork Golf Club, it was Muskerry who gave Bruen his first handicap, and that ultimately allowed him to go on to compete and win at the British Boys. It now contains the name of several famous golfers, most recently it was won by Sean Desmond and Cathal Butler, but it also holds the names of David Higgins, Gary O’Flaherty, Ronan Twomey and Davey O’Donovan. A large number of winners have gone on to turn pro including Mark Murphy, Michael Collins, Cian McNamara, Aaron O’Callaghan and Davey Barry. It was fitting that Monday was a special day for the Bruen family, Mrs Nell Bruen celebrated her 100th birthday on that day. Like her husband, Mrs Bruen has a long association with the game, she was president of the ILGU and an active golfer for many years. David Bruen continued the strong link between the Bruen’s and Muskerry, he was on hand on Monday evening to present the trophy to the winner.