The Munster PGA got their Winter Series off to a great start on Monday with a very successful competition in Fota Island. Close to thirty club professionals turned out for the first event of the series, one of four events planned to take place before Christmas. Fota Island was the venue for the first outing, with the three time Irish Open venue hosting the popular fourball as usual. Comeptition was close, that was until the card from David Higgins and Dan Sugrue came in with the Kerry pair claiming first place. Higgins is a regular winner in the series but it was the first win in a while for Sugrue. The Dooks based Professional was in hospital following a very serious operation just 11 months ago, but it was like old times on Monday when the Kerry native came home in first place. Sugrue had five birdies, including three in a row from the 5th to the 7th. Sugrue’s -5 was combined with Higgins adding a further three in a great display of dovetailing in the fourball betterball competition. The pair had three shots to spare over the field. Peter Hickey and David Ryan combined for a 67 to take second place, with Fota’s Jack Howard and Diarmuid Fraser (Killarney) also finishing on 67. Cian McNamara and Padraig Dooley were the third pair to finish on 67. Fota Island’s Deerpark course was in great condition for the event, the course was looking good and the greens were fast and true with many pro’s commenting on the qualify of the course given the time of year. The three course layouts in Fota Island have been particularly busy over the extended summer period but the championship quality resort has always maintained their high standards of presentation. With individual sponsors for most events, the over series is sponsored by Premium Golf Brands, the Cork based design, licencing and manufacturing company which promotes the Calvin Klein Golf, Dwyers and Cutter & Buck brands. The Captain for the year is Padraig Dooley and he has a full schedule of events planned. Next week the PGB Winter Series heads for Killarney with Castlemartyr in the diary for the start of next month. The committee are also hoping to schedule a match against their Leinster counterparts, with the proceeds going to Ian St John as he recovers from a serious illness.
Ian was based in Rush as the club professional until 2016 when he was diagnosed with cancer on the spine. A large number of PGA Professionals in Cork have embarked on an ambitious fundraising drive to help Tramore native Ian St John as he battles to recover from a devastating illness. Led by Cian McNamara, eight Cork based professionals have committed to raising €4,000 as part of a €40,000 nationwide fundraising campaign. The project is aiming to collect €20 each from golfers, pro’s and supporters with the aim of collecting €4,000 in each of the ten selected regions. The funds are being raised to purchase a piece of specialised equipment to help Ian’s recovery. While all Munster PGA’s are involed in the campaign, the eight Cork Pro’s designated are Liam Burns, Peter Hickey, Ger Broderick, Paddy O’Boyle, Stephen Hayes, Alan Gleeson, David O’Sullivan, and Cian McNamara. Each of the eight have sponsorship cards, and all Cork (and Munster) based PGA professionals have more details on the campaign. The campaign will run for another three weeks.