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 Continue reading
Gary Ward scooped the Kinsale Senior Scratch Cup yesterday, but only after the winner was decided on the 19th after a play-off. It’s a fourth scratch cup for the Kinsale man, but it’s the first since 2017 and will no doubt be a welcome return to the winners circle.
After a gap of a year, the Kinsale Scratch Cup returned, and the organisers had a strong field assembled. And thanks to the club and sponsors ODC Advisory they also had an attractive prize pot on offer. With fine weather in Kinsale, the scoring was expected to be low but the 7,000 yard championship course proved to be a good challenge for the 50+ golfers taking part.
Ward led the scoring after the first round. He shot a two under par 70 and was alongside Karl Bornemann on -2. Shane Kenneally and Zak Collins Continue reading
Monkstown’s Sean Desmond won the Munster Students title in Tipperary today, holding onto his second round lead. It was a steady round for Desmond, on hiw way to a first championship win. A birdie on the fourth put him into the red on -1 for the tournament, but he bogied the next hole to go back to level par. Another bogey followed on the 10th but that was the last error and the Monkstown man parred his way back to the clubhouse to finish on +1 for the tournament. Paul Conroy (Enniscorthy) took second place after a closing 72, two shots behind on +3 while Tom Dowdall (Woodbrook) took third place on +6. Maynooth A, represented by Darragh Flynn, Aaron Ryan and Robert Abernethy won the team prize.
Gary Ward was the next best Cork player, he was tenth while Paul Tobin and Mark Healy both finished in the top twenty. Desmond now adds his name Continue reading
Sean Desmond has the 36 hole lead at the Munster Students Amateur Open. After torrential rain yesterday, golfers benefitted from dry fine weather today in Tipperary Golf Club. Desmond opened with a three over par 75, but came back this afternoon with a three under par 69 to finish on level par. He was three under through 12 holes but a bogey on the 14th set him back. A bridie on the 16th got him back to level and he parred the final two holes to hold the overnight lead. John Cleary (Elm Park) is just one off the lead, and John Bolger (Courtown) is two shots back. Paul Conroy and Harry Duggan are in 4th place on +3 while Kinsale’s Gary Ward is 6th. Duggan (Kilkenny) held the 18 hole lead after an opening 72, but he drifted back to 4th after a second round 75.
The final round get’s underway tomorrow at 7.30am, with Desmond’s leaders group off at 10.10am.
James Sugrue is the best of the Cork golfers at the halfway stage of the West of Ireland Championship in CO Sligo Golf Club. The Mallow man shot a two under par 69, helped along the way with an eagle on the back nine. Sugrue started smartly with an opening birdie but a seven on the par five 3rd hole set him back. He recovered with a birdie on the fifth and his eagle on the 12th brought him back into the red. Added to his opening 72, Sugrue is on -1 at the halfway stage – tied for fourth place. He’s four shots behind joint leaders Caolan Rafferty and Max Kennedy.
Mel Deasy added another 73 today to finish +4 in a tier for 30th place. The leading qualifier was three over after his front nine, but came back in one under to match yesterday’s score.
They are the only two golfers inside the top 50, the cut line after tomorrow’s third round. Greg O’Mahony and Gary Ward are just one shot outside the top 50 on +8 (T56) while Sean Desmond is a shot further back, currently placed T76. It was another tough day for Peter O’Keeffe, he shot a 78 which makes qualifying for Sunday a big ask. Cathal Butler also suffered after a horrendous front nine, which put paid to his chances. Kieran Murphy, Keith Fitzpatrick, Padraig O’Connor and Eric Rumley are all outside hopes for making it through to Sunday, but they do have one more round at the famous links to post a memorable score.
West of Ireland Championship Leaderboard
Eric Rumley came home in three under in Killeen today to sign for a 69 and lead the Leinster Students after the opening round. Fresh from helping Kinsale to their first AIG Barton Shield title in Thurles on Sunday, the Kinsale man opened with a birdie but gave shots back on the third and fifth holes. A birdie on the ninth got him back to even par, and set him up for the impressive back nine. Birdies on the 12th and 13th got him into the red and a final birdie on the par three 18th saw him tie for the lead. Stackstown’s John McCarthy is also on -3 while there are ten more golfers within three shots in the 54 hole tournament.
Gary Ward is in the top 15 on +3 while Darren Hourihan is in the top 30 two shots back. The second round gets underway tomorrow morning with the top 45 plus ties qualifying for Friday’s final round. The holder is John Murphy but he’s unable to defend his title as he returned to the University of Louisville last week.
Leinster Students Amateur Open Championship Continue reading
It may have taken Kinsale over 100 years to win their first Munster pennant, but it was a much shorter wait for their second. Just four weeks after winning the Jimmy Bruen Shield, Kinsale doubled their haul when they won the Munster Final of the AIG Barton Shield in Thurles last Sunday. On paper Kinsale were up against it, in the semi-final they faced Dungarvan who had won the AIG Senior Cup title the day before. In the semi-final they were up against it when Dungarvan stretched their lead the three holes early in the back nine. The four Kinsale golfers battled back, and two birdies on the 17th turned the match to send Kinsale into the final. After a quick break it was back to the first tee in Thurles to face off against a fancied Continue reading
Rachel Thompson put on a great display of golf in Mount Julliet last week to win the Faldo Series qualifier. Played over three days on the testing championship course, Thompson was trailing by two shots after the opening round. She went on to fine an impressive one over par round on the second day, that was eight shots better than the field and gave her a six shot lead. Thompson had a solid final day, holding her big cushion and claiming the win. The Cork golfer now qualifies for the Faldo Series final which takes place in Dubai in November. It promises to be an exciting few weeks for the Cork golfer. She will be moving to Scotland in September to take up a golf scholarship in the University of Sterling. Before that she’ll tee it up in the English Womens Strokeplay and she’s heading to Yale in October in a college tournament. There was disappointment for Kinsale’s Gary Ward, he was within two shots of the lead after two rounds. Opening rounds of 71 and 72 had him on -1, just two behind Rosslare’s Paul Murphy. Unfortunately for Ward he had a disappointing final day, he dropped to fifth overall after a final round 79. Cathal Butler and Mark Healy were also in action, Butler also finished tied for fifth and Healy was in the top ten. It was another positive week for Kinsale considering they are preparing for the Munster finals of the Barton Shield.
Peter O’Keeffe in action in Lahinch at the South of Ireland. Picture: Niall O’Shea
Peter O’Keeffe and Jame Sugrue are through to the last 16 after a tough day at the AIG Irish Close Championship at the European Club. O’Keeffe, who had been struggling with illness yesterday, had a one hole win over Noel Crawford this morning, that was after being one down at the turn. In the afternoon he faced John Murphy in an all-Cork clash. Murphy wrapped up his first round match against Gary Cullen on the 12th signalling he was still the form player. It was O’Keeffe who started better, going two up after the first three holes. Murphy recovered quickly, levelling the match by the 6th, and he held a one shot lead at the turn. O’Keeffe had another purple patch on the back nine, he was one up through 15, and he won the 16th to double his lead. He won the match on the 17th, winning that hole to record a 3&1 win over Murphy. O’Keeffe will face Jack Walsh in tomorrow’s third round.
James Sugrue also Continue reading
It was a good weekend for Cork golfers as seven have made it through to the matchplay stage of the AIG Irish Close Championship. The European Club in Co Wicklow is the venue for the final major of the year and the challenging Ruddy designed links saw the scores vary from 66 to 90+ over the opening two days.
The leader from day one, Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) finished in tied third place. Although he had a 76 today, his opening 66 from yesterday was always going to be enough to see him safely through to the matchplay phase. A few early bogies set the tone for his day and despite a recovery on his second nine, two late bogies meant he finished on +5 and level par for the 36 holes. Gary Ward (Kinsale) is just one shot behind in fifth place, tow rounds of 71 and 72 left the Kinsale golfer on +1.
Macroom’s Padraig O’Connor has reached the matchplay stage for the first time. He shot a one over par 72 today, and finished on +5 to take 16th place. John Hickey and Cathal Butler both made their second successive championship cut with solid play over the opening two days. Hickey carded rounds of 75 and 75 to finish in 33rd place and although he’ll be disappointed by the two late bogies, he’s safely through to Continue reading