This year could be summarised as a game of two halves for John Murphy. The Kinsale golfer spent the first half of the year playing well but struggling to get results, but the second half saw him hit some key milestones. These included an international win, an Irish cap and get finish to the season back in college in the US. While 2018 may have been his best year, Murphy didn’t feel like that at the beginning of the year a he explained. “The college semester was difficult for me” recalled Murphy. “I didn’t feel like I was competing as I had in the past. I wasn’t producing results that were reflecting how I was playing. In all honesty, I was worried, I was shooting some poor scores and I was getting very frustrated with myself. It was tough. I remember having a call with my parents at regionals where I just shot 7 over par. I told them I was playing well but I just couldn’t score, and then we all realized that I had been saying that all semester, and maybe I was being delusional. The week I got back Continue reading
It’s been a busy off season for Peter O’Keeffe, while many golfers have put the sticks away until January, O’Keeffe is still working hard. The Doulas elite amateur was in Spain last week, and he finished sixth in a Gecko Tour event. The Gecko Tour is a mini-tour based in Spain, generally featuring emerging professional golfers. O’Keeffe shot a final round 67 to jump up the leaderboard and finish on -4 for his 54 holes. It was a good finish for Peter, he was +3 halfway though his second round so his strong finish was a real positive. Peter has had another good year at the top level. In March he retained his Kerry Scratch Cup title, and while he didn’t repeat his 2017 feat of winning a national championship, he was competitive in almost every event. He reached the quarter final of the Irish Close and finished in the top eight on the Bridgestone Order of Merit. He retained his place on the Irish team for the Home Internationals, a team that narrowly lost out to England. O’Keeffe has risen up the international rankings also, he started the year at 752 on WAGR, but he Continue reading
2018 was a breakthrough year for Sara Byrne, and that was recognised last week when she won the Irish Golf Writers Womens Amateur of the Year award. The award was a reflection on the results Sara achieved during the year as well representing Ireland at two international competitions. It was a busy year for Sara, although she committed to playing in fewer events this year, the competitions she did select were higher in profile and the quality of the field was generally stronger. In terms of other awards, Byrne topped the Girls Order of Merit by a clear margin, and she also finished third on the women’s order of merit. Sara’s season started in March when she finished third in the Munster Womens Championship in Killarney. Rounds of 74, 75 and 78 saw her claim a podium finish although she did miss out on retaining her Munster Girls title by one shot. Despite playing well, she couldn’t manage to claim the top spot until she got to Enniscrone in June for the Irish Womens Close. She came through two rounds of Strokeplay and five rounds of matchplay golf to win the national title. Aside from the mental battle of matchplay, she also had to contend with extreme weather as wind and Continue reading
It was a busy year for Lee Valley, but one that they will remember. 2018 marked the 25th anniversary for the club, and while everyone celebrated the milestone the club also went on to win their first Cups and Shields pennant. From the celebrations in January, through to the AGM this month, the club pulled together to celebrate. This time last year the club made Lee Valley owner Jerry Keohane and honorary Life President of the Club, and it was an honour that was very much appreciated by Jerry. He was involved in the consortium who purchased the land and commissioned Christy O’Connor Jnr to design the course. Jerry and his family would later take over full control of the Clashnure venture, and since then they have continued to develop and improve the course with a consistent focus on presenting a championship experience for every golfer. Lee Valley remains a Continue reading
Although the competitive golf season is well and truly over, James Sugrue was back in the news last week when he picked up an award. He was one of two recipients for golf at Mayor Patrick Gerard Murphy’s Co Council reception last week. Although Sugrue didn’t hit the high of a championship win, he continued to progress with two local wins and some great individual performances during the year. The season was book-ended by his two wins, the first in the Fota Island Senior Scratch Cup in early April, and the second in September when he won the John Whyte Fermoy Senior Scratch Cup to close out the season. The two wins may be highlights, but to be fair the Mallow golfer has had a very impressive summer of golf which was recognised with his selection to the Irish team. Sugrue joined the Irish Mens panel this year and represented the Irish selection at the South African and Spanish Amateurs in the early season, and in October he travelled to South America for two international events. His full cap finally came when he was selected to play for the Home Internationals which took place last week. Capped on multiple occasions in Boy’s golf, this was a big step up for Sugrue but one he took in his stride.
The easy going 20 year old went on to win four matches as Ireland finished as runners-up in the four team tournament. “There was actually no real difference, I didn’t feel as if I was under any extra pressure. I know all the lads and I know Neil Manchip for a long time as well” said James. “I was really happy with the way I played down the stretch in a few matches. In the opening foursomes we were two up with three to play and I hit an approach to around six inches to close out the match. On the second day I had a four iron on a par three into the wind, and I managed to get it to inside a foot to close out that match.” You can feel the confidence in Sugrue as he tells that story. Continue reading
Dan Sugrue made it three from three in Castlemartyr on Monday when he won the third Munster PGA outing of the 2018 Winter Series. In fact it was a double for Sugrue as he teamed up with his brother John and Tim Rice to claim the team prize. Sugrue had a flawless front nine of 32 with birdies on 4,6,8 and 9. He had a further birdie 2 on 12 followed by his only drop shot on 13 – his first in 49 holes of competitive golf. His final birdie came on 15 for an inward 35.
David Barry started with 3 birdies in the first four, he bogeyed 7 and 11 but birdied 17. Tim Rice birdie 3,7 and 8 to turn in 33, he had a lone bogey on 10 and finished with 8 pars. Cormac Flannery birdied the first, bogeyed 3, he doubled the 5th which included a 2 stroke penalty for playing from the wrong tee but he finished the front nine strongly by eagling the 8th and birdieing 9. He birdied 12 and 13 with his lone bogey on the back nine coming on the 16th. Dan Sugrue, John Sugrue and Tim Rice had thirteen birdies between them to win the team event by three points. The event was hosted by Castlemartyr’s PGA Professional Alan Gleeson.
Munster PGA Winter Series, Castlemartyr Links
1st – Dan Sugrue – Dooks GC 67
T2nd – David Barry – Douglas GC 70
T2nd – Tim Continue reading