There was great excitement in Kinsale on Thursday for the fourth staging of the annual Pro Shop Challenge. This year’s charity match was titled the “Internationals v Professionals, as Kinsale’s two Irish Internationals John Murphy and Eoghan Cassidy took on Kinsale’s PGA Professionals Ger Broderick and Ian Stafford. Murphy has been a senior international for two years while Cassidy picked up his first international cap at under 14 level this year. There was a special guest there on the day, the Mullingar scratch cup was in the pro shop, that was thanks to John Murphy’s win a week before in the famous Leinster tournament. As play got underway it was the Professionals who took the lead, thanks to a birdie from Stafford on the first. Cassidy levelled the match on the 5th with a tap in birdie after a perfect approach shot.
John Murphy was impressed with his new partner, it was the first time they played together in a competition. “Eoghan was so impressive, he drove the ball like a professional” said the college Senior. “He’s a class act and has huge things in store for him. I really enjoyed watching him learn and gain experience in front of a large crowd, it was an opportunity I could only have dreamed of when I was his age.” There was a hint of green keepers revenge on the course for the event, tight fairways and lightning fast greens challenged all four golfers as they put on a show for the large gallery. The course in Farrangalway was in excellent condition, the new changes to the 9th, 17th and 18th have bedded in and there was scarcely a blade of grass out of place on the championship course. The birdies were a little bit scarcer than usual, but the banter between the players entertained everyone, with referee Gerry Waldron keeping everyone in check. It was Murphy’s last appearance in competition in Ireland, he travelled back to the US on Saturday. Murphy is now entering his final year in the University of Louisville. He has a big year ahead in academic and golf terms. The 2018 All American has five events to look forward to before Christmas. Murphy had a quiet start to his summer but is back on form with several notable finishes and a win in Mullingar. Having shaved the hole several times during the afternoon, Murphy saved the best for last. He hit a monster drive up 18, followed that with a tasty approach to 15 feet, and rolled in the eagle putt for an unassuming three. That helped the Internationals to a win, the eagle took them to -5 while a birdie from the Professionals took them to -3.
Once the golf was finished it was time for the raffle and Tim Kelliher won the top prize of a robotic lawnmower. The lawnmower was worth €2,000 and was sponsored by Douglas Forest & Garden. Mary Cotter won second prize which was a signed Ireland jersey and Noel Summers won third prize which was a yardage book from the Amateur Championship signed by the winner James Sugrue. All that was left was for Kinsale President Michael Landers to present the cup to Murphy and Cassidy.
Organiser Ian Stafford was again delighted with the support for the events. “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the support from the members and friends of the club this year in every aspect” said Stafford. “From the amount of money raised, offering their services, coming out to support us and all around goodwill towards the event. Our target this year was to raise €3,750 to surpass the €15,000 mark from the four events. We are well beyond this amount and donations look to have surpassed the €5000 mark.” Stafford was keen to thank all the sponsors, they donated prizes for the raffle as well as we as sponsoring each of the holes. “I want to say a massive thank you to our main sponsor Douglas Forest and Garden who gave a superb first prize for us to raffle and raise funds. Thanks also to DAOL printing for organising our scoreboard and printing the raffle tickets, and thank you to each and everyone who has helped to make the event a success again this year.”