Robbie Walsh produced a great performance to win the BoyleSports Lee Valley Scratch Cup last weekend, winning the 54 hole event after leading from start. The Douglas member hung in there in the final round, displaying huge determination to stay ahead of a stellar chasing pack. Walsh led after the opening round, shooting the low round of the tournament with a three under par 69. He followed that with a level par 72 to hold a three shot lead heading to the final round.
As final rounds go, it proved to be an entertaining contest. Walsh birdied the first two holes and when nearest challenger Gary O’Flaherty bogied the first the lead was six shots. Things changed though when Walsh dropped four shots in the next three holes. With nine holes left his lead was down to two shots, but that’s as close as the field got to him. He reeled off eight birdies and a single bogey on the way home and although David Reddan and Jack Murphy threatened they never got close enough. In front of a large gallery Robbie hit the green two , Walsh lagged a downhill birdie putt on the last to about an inch and tapped in for his first scratch cup win.
The stats from the three days say a lot about the performance. The 21 year old had just one double bogey on a course that challenged everyone. He had nine birdies over the 54 holes but it was the 36 pars that made the difference in coming out on top. That included a great par save on the 18th in the second round to keep his challenge on track. With the pin at the back of the green the hole was playing tough all day. Walsh was on deck in two but a poor first putt left him with a 15 foot breaking uphill putt. Walsh lagged it in and went on to sign for a 72 and take a three shot lead into the final round.
Holder Gary O’Flaherty put up a good defense of his title. The four time winner was working through a neck injury but was in second place going into the final round after two level par 72’s. An opening bogey wasn’t ideal and a poor back nine saw him drop out of contention. Nenagh’s David Reddan finished in second place thanks to a closing 71 and Douglas golfer Jack Murphy was third after a closing 73. Pat Power took the best Lee Valley and Alan Moriarty also from Lee Valley won the best net.
Dundalk stars Caolan Rafferty and Eoin Murphy travelled to Cork for the first time for the event and they both ended up in the prizes. Rafferty shot an opening 73 but couldn’t improve on that and ended up on +6 for tied fourth. Murphy ended up in the same spot. He shot a disappointing 78 in his opening round but bounced back with a three under par 69 on his second loop. Playing in the final group on Sunday, a few early bogies halted his challenge and he also finished tied fourth.
Walsh helped Kinsale to an All Ireland Bruen title in 2018 when he was just 16, and a year later he won the Connacht Boys. He’ll now be looking forward to a busy summer and he’s back in action this weekend at the Munster Mens Amateur in Cork Golf Club.
Lee Valley Captain Laim Power was delighted with another successful staging of the scratch cup and was particularly impressed with the winner. “It was an amazing score of 217. His determination, particularly coming into the back nine showed his true grit and the quality golfer that he is. It was getting a bit tense and everyone was sensing it but he managed to knuckle down and come through and I want to say a massive congratulations on winning the Lee Valley Scratch Cup.”
The Captain also called out the main sponsors and the course team for their work and support coming up to the tournament; “We have built a partnership with BoyleSports and Peter, and the friendship that we have is great. I’d also like to thank Paul, David and Jerry Keohane and James and the team on the course, it was a great turnaround this week considering the weather we had last week. Vincent does an amazing amount of work and it was an outstanding job.” Peter Tuite from main sponsors BoyleSports was also very complimentary, calling the event the best run scratch cup in the country.
Gallery: BoyleSports Lee Valley Scratch Cup 2023 Round 3
Attention now turns to Cork Golf Club which hosts the newly named Munster Mens Amateur Open Championship. The event marks the 100th anniversary of the Cork Scratch Cup and this year the event will be staged over three days. The field of 75 players will play 36 holes on Saturday with the top 16 qualifying for the matchplay stage. The eventual winner will be crowned on Monday, and they will take home the Cork Scratch Cup, 100 years after it was first played for in 1923.