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
Kerry Boys winner Jack Murphy pictured with his parents John and Mary.
Young Douglas golfer Jack Murphy might be just 13 years old, but he made a big impression in Ballybunion today when he won the famous Kerry Boys Championship. And it was a double success for Cork as Daniel O’Sullivan won the Plate Final.
Murphy added his name to a list of high profile winners after a excellent display of golf this afternoon. He was up against Lee Valley’s Keelan McCarthy in an all-Cork final, and despite being 5 years younger, the Douglas golfer came out on top. He got off to a flying start this afternoon, he was three up after six holes on the challenging Cashen course. By the turn he added another to go five up, and he closed out the match on the 14th after winning 5&4. It was a great week for Murphy, he opened with a 77/82 in the strokeplay qualifier to make the top flight championship draw with a few shots to Continue reading
There’s plenty of Cork interest in Ballybunion today as the round of 16 matchplay gets underway. The Cashen course in North West Kerry proved to be a good challenge for some of Ireland’s top young golfers over the past two days, with six Cork golfers making it through to the last sixteen. Mukerry’s Fionn Hickey shot the low round yesterday, a 73 saw him top day two and added to his opening 76, he qualified comfortably. The Irish International had a colourful scorecard yesterday and interesting it included four birdies – all of which came on the par three’s. Tom Higgins from Roscommon was the top qualifier on 148, with Hickey one shot behind on 149.
Lee Valley’s Keelan McCarthy shot rounds of 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 Tralee: Continue reading
Pictures from the prize-giving in Lahinch: Continue reading
Sara Byrne (Douglas) during the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship, Enniscrone Golf Club, Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey All photo usage must carry mandatory copyright credit (© Golffile | Fran Caffrey)
Sara Byrne and Valerie Clancy have made it through to the matchplay stage of the Girls Amateur Open in Ardglass. Byrne continued her good form on Tuesday with an opening 71 that saw her finish the first round in 6th place. She finished the second round tied for 12th place, a second round 75 in more testing conditions was more than enough to see her through, although she did describe it as “hanging on”. Valerie Clancy also made it through in the top half of the draw, steady rounds of 73 and 76 saw her finish tied for 19th place from the field of 140 golfers. Ireland will be well represented in the matchplay with a total of seven golfers qualifying. The first two rounds take place today.
Fionn Hickey (Muskerry), Jack O’Donoghue (Bandon) and Ross Higgins (Douglas) have all mande it through to the matchplay stage of the Kerry Boys Championship. Hickey finished third in the qualifier after rounds of 73 & 79, and he’ll face Ross Higgins in the first round. Jack O’Donoghue will face Glasson’s Conor Gleeson who was the top qualifier on -3. Cork is well represented in the plate with six Continue reading
Mel Deasy (Bantry Bay) pictured with the Munster Under 15 Close trophy after winning the title in Roscrea.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
Mel Deasy scooped his first Munster title today when he won the Munster Under 15 Close title in Roscrea. The Cork man shot a one over par 72, three early birdies saw him reach -2 two at one stage but two late bogies meant he finished on +1. The bogies didn’t hurt Deasy as he had a four shot margin over second placed Alex Dineen from Cork. It was an all Cork podium as Jack Murphy (Douglas) took third place, after a countback with Dineen.
Rory Milne (Faithlegg) retained the Munster Boys Under 17 title after shooting a fine three under par 68. The Waterford golfer won the event last year in Kinsale and becomes the first golfer to win the age-grade event twice. Milne turned on level par but blazed through the back nine with three birdies in four holes. Milne parred his Continue reading