Conor Dowling’s US Open Report – Sunday

After nearly a week out here we finally got to Winged Foot.  On Saturday evening we went over to register and have a look around and this morning we played the full 18.  We went out at 8.15, first on the course!  We played the full 18, it’s very long and the rough is crazy – thick and long.  The greens are a bit soft at the moment but I’d say they’ll firm up as the week goes on.  After the course we headed to the range for another 90 minutes, and James was hitting it very well.  Although the past week has been very enjoyable, it was great to finally get onto the course at Winged Foot.

The week has flown by since we arrived on Monday.  Earlier in the week we met up with Stephen Walsh from Portmarnock.  He had been in touch before we came out to see if we wanted to play a few courses.  We were a bit limited as we were following all of the Covid guidelines but we did get to play Garden City Golf Club in Esssex County with Stephen.  It’s a great course and we really did enjoy ourselves.  We all played well too so that helps.  Michael Collins joined us late last week so the three of us are here now.  It’s a bit disappointing that nobody could travel over to see the event but I suppose we’re lucky to be here.

We’re all set now for the week.  We had our first Covid test last Monday when we arrived and another one yesterday.  We got the all clear so it’s all eyes on the tournament, and we’re back out for another practice round tomorrow.

 

 

Masters Disappointment for Sugrue

James Sugrue pictured at home in Mallow with his invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.

The most disappointed golfer in Cork must have been James Sugrue.  The Mallow man was preparing for his trip to Augusta and on Friday it was confirmed that the Masters would be postponed.  Sugrue was on the BBC on Friday evening and like all other golfer fans you could sense his disappointment after the announcement was made.  A group of around twenty friends and family were planning to travel to the Masters and like many others they’re now waiting for the new date to be announced.  For Sugrue the postponement means that the plans for the season may change.  Sugrue had indicated that he’s probably turn professional in the summer after the US Open but those plans may have to change if he needs to retain his amateur status for a deferred Masters.  The same may apply to the

John Murphy

John Murphy was another golfer to be affected by the cancellation of competitions.  On Friday the NCAA announced the suspension of all college sports, effectively meaning that Murphy’s Louisville college career was over.  Murphy has been in a rich vein of form and saw his ranking rise to inside the top 50 in Division One stats.  Louisville had also risen to 14th in the national rankings meaning that a good post-season performance was within reach.  With all golf suspended for the remainder pf the season, Murphy now has a few more weeks of online lectures before he takes his finals.  Kinsale teammate Mark Healy is in a similar position, although he can return for another year in Tusculum Tennessee.  Murphy on the other hand is a senior and this was his final year in Kentucky.  He did put the brightside out on Monday when he tweeted a video hurling in the Cardinal Stadium football pitch.  The tweet went viral and brought a smile to many faces at a time when there was little to smile about.

Like most other sports golf has come to a standstill, and this week several clubs in Cork decided to close completely in light of the recent government advice.  Many clubs continued to hold club competitions over the weekend while adhering to the new guidelines on social distancing.  Following the weekend and the closure of pubs, there was a marked change with several courses closing.  Some clubs have cancelled club competitions but have allowed members to play.  Golfers were asked to observe the now usual norms of social distancing and not to engage in any handshakes.  Flags were removed from some courses with semi-permanent holes being cut in the middle of the greens.  Most clubhouses are now closed in line with the recommendations that came out on Sunday evening.  The likelihood of inter-club events and championships taking place in the next few months are also in doubt .

Sugrue 6th in South Africa

James Sugrue

James Sugrue got 2020 off to a flying start last week with a top six finish in the South African Amateur Championship.  While he’ll be happy with the result, the Mallow man was in with a chance of winning going into the final two rounds.  Playing in the famous Leopard Creek course, Sugrue opened with rounds of 69 and 68, and at one point he was ten under during his second round.  Tougher weather conditions in the final two days of the event meant that scores were far higher.  Sugrue was ten shots worse off in the third round with a 78, and he closed with 76 in the last round.  That meant he was seven shots off the lead and his tied sixth result alongside Caolan Rafferty meant he was best of the Irish.  Sugrue along with the Irish team remain in South Africa for another Continue reading

The Year that was 2019

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

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

Masters Date for Sugrue

James Sugrue pictured at home in Mallow with his invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.

James Sugrue is heading stateside in April, his Augusta dreams came a step closer this week when he received his official invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament.  The Mallow man had been scheduled to receive an invitation to the famous tournament after winning the Amateur Championship last June, and the official invitation finally arrived this week.  “It was unreal to finally get it” said Sugrue.  “I thought it was coming in the last week of December so I’ve been waiting for a while!”  Although the invite was never in doubt, it was an exciting wait for the Sugrue family to finally get confirmation of James’ place in the field.  An invitation to the Masters Tournament is traditionally given to the winner of the four major amateur competitions, (US, British, Asia-Pac, Latin America) provided they remain amateur.  The amateur status means that Sugrue is not eligible for any of the prize money on offer, but a good performance in April will give his status a huge boost as he considers moving to the paid Continue reading

Gallery: Munster Golf Awards 2019

Pictures from the awards evening in Mallow:

Sugrue named as Cork Person of the Month for October

Sugrue Cork Person of the Month

Mallow golfer James Sugrue, who won the Amateur Championship this year, is October Person of  the Month. James has just announced he will turn Pro next summer. Pictured at the recent award presentation l/r Pat Lemasney, Southern; Manus O’Callaghan, Organiser; Ronan McManamy, M.D. Irish Examiner/The Echo; James Sugrue, Cork Person of the Month; Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, AM O’Sullivan PR; John Lehane, Lexus Cork. Pic by Tony O’Connell Photography.

Mallow golfer James Sugrue, has joined the greats of golf, and has now been named Cork Person of the Month for October. James has also announced that he will turn professional next June, after his involvement in the US Open.  Last June, the 22 year old Mallow native won gold at the 124th Amateur Championship, following in the footsteps of Cork great Jimmy Bruen, and so became only the fourth Irishman to win the Amateur Championship, with a nail-biting one-hole win over Scotland’s Euan Walker at Portmarnock.  Other past Republic of Ireland winners were Bruen, Carr and McElhinney. As a result of this win James will play in two more Majors over the next 10 months following his Open Continue reading

Murray wins in Mallow

Mallow SSC 2019_ Ben Murray_1

Ben Murray (Waterford Castle) pictured with John Martin O’Keeffe after winning the Mallow Senior Scratch Cup.
Picture: Niall O’Shea

Ben Murray stole the show in Mallow on Sunday afternoon, winning the Senior Scratch Cup in front of a huge crowd.  The Waterford Castle man shot the lights out in the back nine, stealing the limelight from hometown star James Sugrue.  This was the first Senior Scratch Cup in Mallow for seven years and the organising group of Conor Dowling, Brian Attridge, Neil Gallagher and Sean O’Shea put on a great event.  With help from main sponsors Hegarty Building and Civil Engineering, there was a generous prize fund in place and the event filled quickly as some of Munster’s top golfers looked to claim one of the final pieces of silverware for the season.  The course was in great condition in Mallow, and the lightning fast greens suited the top class amateurs.  Monkstown’s Eoghan Long held the lead after the first 18, his four under par 68 gave him a one shot lead over James Sugrue, with Ben Murray, Joe O’Sullivan and Fionn Hickey Continue reading