Butler in second place at Irish Close in Ballybunion

Cathal Butler

Cathal Butler

The AIG Irish Close Championship got underway this morning in Ballybunion, with Kinsale’s Cathal Butler posting the low score to hold the clubhouse lead for most of the day.  Despite delays due to a funeral and a nosebleed, over 130 golfers were out on the Old Course today.  They were completing the first of two rounds to determine the top 64 qualifiers to go through to the matchplay stages starting on Monday.

After a good performance in Lahinch, Butler made to most of his early start.  He had three birdies in a row from the 4th to the 6th, and added another on the 8th to turn on three under.  Butler got to -4 on the 16th, but a bogey on the last saw him sign for 68, goo enough to hold the clubhouse lead for much of the day.  The former Kerry Boys winner played very will in Lahinch last week, and he’ll be hoping that the good golf will continue as he aims to reach the final stages in Ballybunion.  Butler is three behind Ronan Mullarney who opened with a blistering 6 under.  Clubmate Gary Ward also finished in the red, he shot a one under par 70, thanks in part to a tasty eagle three on the 4th hole.  He dropped a couple around the turn but three more birdies on the back nine saw him finish on -1 and in 5th place he’s well in the hunt for a qualifying spot.  Paul Buckley finished on +1 and Peter O’Keeffe finished on +2

Greg O’Mahony, John Murphy and Robbie Walsh all finished on +3, they’ll need to shoot no worse tomorrow to make it through to the matchplay stage.   Mel Deasy finished on South of Ireland Champion Sean Desmond opened with a disappointing 75 (+4), although he’ll still have a great chance of qualifying with par or better score tomorrow.  Mel Deasy finished on +6.  Full results below.

AIG Irish Amateur Close Championship at Ballybunion Golf Club

Stroke Play Qualifying – Round One

65 R Mullarney (Galway)

68 C Butler (Kinsale)

69 L Grehan (Mullingar)

70 R Knightly (Royal Dublin); J Doherty (Carton House); G Ward (Kinsale); J Fox (Portmarnock)

71 L Nolan (Galway); D McAleenon (Edenmore); H Duggan (Kilkenny); C Byrne (Woodbrook Golf Club); D Morley (Oughterard); C Campbell (Warrenpoint); S Flanagan (Portmarnock); P Conroy (Enniscorthy); E Farrell (Ardee); E O’Brien (Clontarf)

72 R Brazill (Naas); E Leonard (Killiney); G Cullen (The Links Portmarnock); R Galligan (Elm Park); C Nolan (Galway); E Stack (Ballybunion); C Denvir (Elm Park); P Buckley (Memorial Golf Club); J Temple (Portmarnock)

73 K Stack (Dungarvan); N Hearns (Mountrath); M McAlpin (Royal Portrush); J Blake (The Island); S Hogan (Nenagh); P O’ Keeffe (Douglas); A McCormack (Castletroy); J Lyons (Galway)

74 T Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown); G Dunne (Co. Louth); C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire); H Gillivan (Westport); D Coyle (Portmarnock); R Walsh Jr (Kinsale); J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle); P Sheehan (Ballybunion); S Walsh (Portmarnock); A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire); D Brady (Co. Sligo); J Murphy (Kinsale); P Murray (Clontarf); G O’Mahony (Fota Island)

75 S Desmond (Monkstown); W Russell (Clandeboye); C Dunphy (Killeen Castle); E Griffin (Waterford); E Murphy (Dundalk); H O’Hare (Fortwilliam); W Small (Tandragee); E Smith (The Links Portmarnock); D McCormack (Roganstown); T Dowdall (Woodbrook); K Murphy (Dun Laoghaire); M Reid (Galgorm Castle); R O’Connor (Co. Sligo); B Best (Rathmore)

76 J McCarthy (Grange); P Coughlan (Castleknock); M McCormack  (Moss Creek); C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire); L Power (Galway); K McCormack (Portarlington); P Murphy (Rosslare); R Nelson (Belvoir Park); B Shally (Dromoland)

77 M Deasy (Lee Valley); R Clarke (The Island); J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little); R Moran (Castle); M McKenna (Dun Laoghaire); B Murray (Waterford Castle); I Lynch (Rosslare); M McClean (Malone); T Ford (Co. Sligo); S Murphy (Portumna); D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh); C Feeney (Co. Sligo); S Carroll (Ballybunion); J Hood (Galgorm Castle)

78 N Crawford (Mourne); T McLarnon (Massereene); M Boucher (Carton House); M Young (Golf du Priéure); R Black (Hilton Templepatrick); P McKeever (Castle); R O’Doherty (Enniscrone); A Lowry (Esker Hills); R Milne (Faithlegg); C Glennon (Glasson); A Doran (Co. Louth)

79 T Higgins (Roscommon); E Shipp (Headfort); P Tobin (Douglas); R Williamson (Holywood); D O’Driscoll (Ballybunion); P O’Connor (Macroom); C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown); A Ryan (Thurles); J Keane (Lahinch)

80 F O’Sullivan (Tralee); M Healy (Kinsale); M McKinstry (Cairndhu); R McCrudden (Royal Portrush); L O’Connor (Edmondstown); T Plunkett (Crover House); P Naughton (Limerick)

81 P Brennan (Belvoir Park); J Whelan (Newlands); K Morrison (Holywood); C Hickey (Dooks); P O’Hara (Kilkenny); M McPartlin (Smurfit club )

82 B Lenihan (Ballybunion); D Kitt (Athenry)

83 S O’Connor (Castlebar); D Flynn (Carton House); A Hill (Athenry); D Leufer (Athenry); R Latimer  (Knock)

84 M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire)

85 E Rumley (Kinsale)

86 M O’Sullivan (The International); P Connolly (Killeen Castle)

89 J Tuohy (Galway Bay)

92 K Lynch (Skibbereen)

RTD R Cannon (Balbriggan)