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