It started with over 300 golfers, but by 5pm this afternoon there was just one left. David Howard added his name to a famous list of winners at the 50th staging of the famous Ford Junior Scratch Trophy. And in a funny quirk of the draw, the Fota Island golfer beat his dad John in a tight final to win the six round matchplay event. It was a strange setting, having the father and son paired against each other, but some high quality golf from both made for a competitive final, with David coming out on top. The teenager went up a few times in the match only to be pegged back by his Dad. The back nine was decisive with David winning the 13th and 16th to go two up. On the testing 17th, David found the green with a drive an nine iron, and when John couldn’t make birdie the match was over with David coming out on top. Needless to say the 19 year old was delighted with the win. “I’m very happy to win this scratch cup which has such a big name to it, it’s a great feeling” said David after the presentation. “I love match play so I was just thinking in the qualifying round if I can just qualify, I will have a chance.” To be fair to David he had a good run on the way to winning the final, grinding out wins on the 17th and 18th against four of his six opponents.
The four handicapper had wins over Doug Hicks, Peter O’Mahony, Jack Boyd and David Byrnes to make it to Sunday, and in the semi-final he beat Cork’s Mark O’Sullivan on the 18th green. On the other side of the draw, John had beaten Ken Manley, Luke Mannerings, Evan O’Connell, and Muskerry Captain Diarmuid Linehan. In the semi-final he was four up after six holes but Muskerry’s Adrian O’Sullivan took him to the 17th before the Fota man won. As the Fota Island pair were drawn on opposite sides of the draw, a Howard family final was always a possibility. “I was saying it a in the earlier rounds how it would be funny if we ended up meeting in the final because we were on opposite sides, and then I just scraped through in semi-final against Mark O’Sullivan who just couldn’t miss a put but I just got there in the end” And the final was a Howard family affair with three brothers and a Dad involved between the golfers and caddies. Jack, who’s an assistant pro in Fota caddied for David while Michael was on the bag for John.
David was in for another tough assignment in the final with John putting up a strong challenge. “He’s a great player with the best short game ever, he broke my heart on a few holes getting up and down when I thought I was going to win the hole. I was feeling pretty good coming into it after coming fourth in Fota Senior Scratch Cup a couple weeks back where I had the best score but was beaten on count back. So I was feeling good coming into the first day and my game was solid. I played solid golf for the few days had a few very tough games along the way.” It was a second win in three years for FOta Island, Noel McGee won in 2017. Tournament Director Joe O’Keeffe was delighted with the weekend, the 50th staging of the event which started in 1970. He thanked the five starters who managed the 63 matches over the three days, Paul Walsh, Hugh Keenan, Frank O’Meara Joe Lane and John Riordan, and he also thanked referee Liam Harkin who was on hand to keep an eye on the matches.