James Sugrue pictured with Irish Mens Captain John Carroll
2019 was a stellar year for Cork golfers. With seven Corkmen winning international caps, there were plenty of great performances among several notable individual wins. Just three years ago there wasn’t a single Cork golfer on the national mens squad, this year there were three golfers to reach that standard in what must be regarded as a great run for Cork golf. With three seniors, one boys and three mens representatives, it was an impressive number of caps. Top of the list of course was James Sugrue, the Amateur Champion. The Mallow man won the Castletroy Scratch Cup in May, but less than a month later his world would change with the win of a lifetime in Portmarnock. An Amateur Championship win seemed unlikely at a few stages during that week in Dublin. After just five holes on the first day of qualifying Sugrue branded the course as “insanely long”, and he found himself three down deep into the back nine in the second round of matchplay. In what was a marathon rather than a sprint, Sugrue played himself into form, thanks in equal parts to a new Titleist driver, solid advice from Neil Manchip and a hot putter. On that Saturday morning playing in the Amateur Championship final, few would have thought it was his seventh round of the week. He sprinted into a five up lead against Scotland’s Ewan Walker. Despite the impressive start, the final would prove to be another marathon lasting the full 36 holes. The Mallow man, watched by a record crowd of over 3,000 claimed the win on the final green, becoming the second Cork golfer after Jimmy Bruen to win the Amateur Championship. That win saw Sugrue’s schedule change, with an unplanned visit to Portrush for the Open championship taking priority in his calendar. James was very unlucky to miss the cut, a lost ball on the 14th on Friday cost him a place at the weekend when Shane Lowry created his own bit of history. Although injury hampered Sugrue towards the end of the season he had the honour of raising the Irish flag at the Walker Cup in Royal Liverpool in September.
Peter O’Keeffe started the year off with a win, he came out on top in Muskerry in April winning their senior scratch cup. A five under par 66 gave O’Keeffe a good start and he was under par again in the second round to win the competition by two strokes. It was the second time that O’Keeffe won in Muskerry, his first coming 13 years ago in 2006. O’Keeffe was fifth in the East of Ireland and topped that by reaching the final of the North in July. Prior to the North he spent the week in Lahinch caddying for Robin Dawson in the Open. Peter finished second in the North of Ireland, which this year moved to Portstewart and Castlerock due Portrush staging the Open Championship. He lost out to Englishman Aaron Edwards Hill after a final that went to the 17th hole. The Douglas man was back in Lahinch later on in July, this time as a player in the South of Ireland. He started well, finishing in the top ten after the Strokeplay qualifier. He then Continue reading
Kinsale’s Eoghan Cassidy broke 70 in Ballybunion today as he took advantage of better weather conditions. The youngster shot a 69 which included five birdies after a double bogey on the fifth. Cassidy came home in 32 strokes thanks to three birdies in is last five holes. The impressive round, the second lowest of the day, saw him jump from 36th place up to 12th place. The teenager also found a sum of money on the course which he handed in to the tournament committee at the end of his round.
Fionn Hickey carded a second successive 76 to drop back to a tie for third, although the Muskerry golfer is now eight shots off the lead. Seapoint’s Dylan Keating was dialled in today, shooting a very impressive 65 to take the lead. With the wind and rain gone, Ballybunion’s Cashen course was a fair test for the field today, and Keating delivered. He was four under at the halyway stage, thanks to birdies on the first and eight, and an eagle on the 9th to go out in 33 strokes. He dropped a shot on the Continue reading
Fionn Hickey (Muskerry) holds a share of the lead in Ballybunion after the opening day of the Munster Boys. Testing conditions were in play all day as 68 golfers – including 11 from Cork battled with wind and rain, and there was little in the way of respite as the rain continued into the late afternoon. Hickey had a tough start, he had a double bogey seven on the opening hole. He was four over after four holes but two birdies on the fifth and sixth got him back on track. He turned on +3 and a very steady back nine (+1) saw him card a leading four over par 76. Hickey is tied for the lead with Knock’s Lee Mitchell.
Youghal’s Charlie Flavin shot 81 to finish in the top ten while Stephen Riordan and Ronan Feerick are in the top 20. Robbie Walsh and Alex Dineen are in the top 30 while Eoghan Casidy, Mel Deasy and Keelan McCarthy are all in the top 40.
Round two gets underway tomorrow morning at 7.54am on the Cashen course, and with better conditions forecast the race will be on to post a score in top 45. That’s the cut mark for Friday’s final round. The cut is currently +18, but th Continue reading
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 Continue reading
Pictures from Kinsale: Continue reading
There’s less than a week to go to Kinsale’s Pro Shop Challenge is back, the fourth staging of the annual charity fundraiser. And there’s a change this year with Kinsale’s two amateur internationals taking on the Pro’s. The Kinsale Pro team remains the same, Ger Broderick and Ian Stafford are currently in training in the hope of winning back the title they lost last year. The line up on the other side has changed though, the amateurs are now restyled as the “internationals” with 14 year old Eoghan Cassidy teaming up with senior Irish international John Murphy. Murphy is currently on the senior Irish team while Cassidy is on both the Irish Under 14 and Under 16 squads. The event takes place next Thursday, and there should be a great afternoon of golf and fun. “The event itself is a fourball betterball match between Ger and myself and John Eoghan” explained Continue reading
Muskerry’s Fionn Hickey made his international debut this week, and the 16 year old did himself proud at the Boys Home Internationals. The annual event took place in Ashburnham Golf Club in Wales and Ireland opened with a win over Scotland on Tuesday. It was a disappointing start for Fionn as he narrowly lost his singles match. There was better luck for the Muskerry man yesterday as Ireland beat Wales and Fionn won his singles match against Toby Bishop. That win set Ireland up for a winner takes all match against England today. Hickey partnered Dylan Keating for a half this morning with Ireland taking a lead, the score was 3.5 to 1.5 after the foursomes. Fionn won his match this afternoon, but the wind was in the English sails. They won six of the matches to win by a single point and take the title. While the final result was a disappointment, England were the favourites and solid play from Hickey on his debut will spur him on for a strong end to the season.
Girls & Womens Home Internationals
Sara Byrne was also in action for the Irish Girls over the Continue reading
Pictures from the presentation: Continue reading
Cathal Butler and John Murphy (centre) pictured with Ian Stafford and Ger Broderick at the Pro Shop Challenge at Kinsale last week. Picture: Aidan Stafford
Kinsale’s Pro Shop Challenge is back, and the fourth staging of the charity fundraiser is set for a change with the pro’s taking on the internationals in August. The Kinsale Pro team remains the same, Ger Broderick and Ian Stafford are currently in training in the hope of winning back the title they lost last year. The line up on the other side has changed though, the amateurs are now restyled as the “internationals” and it also features a change in the line up. 14 year old Eoghan Cassidy will line up with John Murphy. Murphy is currently on the senior Irish team while Cassidy is on the Irish Under 14 and Under 16 squads. The event takes place on Thursday 15th August, and there should be a great afternoon of golf and fun. Ian Stafford has been the driving force behind the event, from a small start in 2016, the event has raised well over €11,000 for the charity partners. Keen to keep the event moving, Ian proposed a change to the format this year. “This year we are celebrating the fact that Kinsale Golf Club has had 2 International Golfers in the past twelve Continue reading
Pictures from the prize-giving in Lahinch: Continue reading