John Hickey gave his pro career a huge boost this week, finishing top in the stage one qualifier at the Portal Championship golf resort near Chester. Rounds of 66 and 74 saw the Cork Golf Club member finish on -6 on the par 73 layout. Yesterday was a great day for John, he had seven birdies and no bogies to take a lead and give himself a great chance of qualifying for the next stage. Frost delayed the start this morning and challenging weather conditions. Hickey was two voer for the day through six holes, but he was back on level par at the turn. Another few bogies and birdies followed and John signed for a 73 (+1) to finish joint first with Gian-Marco Petrozzi. Conor O’Rourke (Naas) was third, just two behind Hickey after shooting a very impressive 69 today.
Despite the frost and challenging weather Hickey was focused on the task at hand. “I was about halfway through my warm up when I got my text basically when I got there it was just about trying to deal with the conditions the best I could. And try and play the steady golf as possible try not to try and do anything crazy, play lots Continue reading
The winning Munster team pictured with Team Captain Michael Coote receiving the trophy from John Moloughney, President GUI, picture Fran Caffrey, Golffile.
There was a dramatic finish to the Interprovincial Championship this afternoon, with Geoff Lenehan again sealing a win for Munster. The Waterville member won the crucial point in 2012 and 2014, and he was at the centre of the action again in Athenry, winning his singles match to give Munster the win against Leinster and the title.
Munster went into day three with a narrow lead, all four teams had one win each, with Munster ranked first on the basis of matches won. The meant that a win for Munster should have been enough to seal the title. The foursomes didn’t quite go to plan, with Munster trailing 3-1 at lunchtime. The only win came from O’Keeffe and Lenehan. Munster came out firing in the singles though, with Peter O’Keeffe and James Sugrue claiming the first points. Munster needed five of the seven points to claim the title and with two in the bag the odds favoured the men in blue. Eanna Griffin brought in a third point and while Andrew McCormack lost, John Hickey won to make it 4-1 with two matches on the course. Both playing the final Continue reading
James Sugrue (Mallow) teeing of in the third round of the South of Ireland.
Picture: Niall O’Shea
James Sugrue and Peter O’Keeffe lead a five strong Cork contingent on the Munster team for the interprovincial championship later this month. Cork GC duo John Hickey and Gary O’Flaherty along with Kinsale’s Cathal Butler make up the majority of the eight man team to play in Athenry.
Sugrue and O’Keeffe were assured of their places thanks to finishing in the top three on the Munster Order of Merit. Both have recorded wins this year and they have also been playing well, reaching the latter stages of the South of Ireland and the AIG Irish Close. Gary O’Flaherty retains his place and he’s be hoping to add to the six wins that he’s racked up since his first appearance in 1996. John Hickey and Cathal Butler return to the side after missing out last year, they both played in Fota Island in 2016.
Geoff Lenehan, Andrew McCormack and Eanna Griffin also retain their places from last year in what is a very experienced side. There are two notable absentees though Continue reading
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
Pictures from Saturday morning at Lahinch: Continue reading
The second round in Lahinch came to an abrupt halt today as heavy rain flooded the course causing the second strokeplay round to be abandoned. With the first round scores counting, the top 64 cut fell at +2 with not all on that score qualifying. Kinsale’s Eric Rumley was one of those to miss out, the countback from yesterday costing him a place in the matchplay.
The seven Cork qualifiers are James Sugrue (Mallow), Cathal Butler (Kinsale), Gary O’Flaherty (Cork), John Hickey (Cork), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Sean Desmond (Monkstown), Gary Ward (Kinsale). With drier weather forecast for tomorrow the organisers will be hoping to complete the two planned rounds. The first round Continue reading
Defending Champion James Sugrue was among the pace-setters in Lahinch today as he marched around the famous links. The Mallow man had six birdies and no bogies, he was two under at the turn and came back in four under par thanks to more birdies at the 10th, 12th, 13th and 18th. It’s been a few decades since anyone has retained the South of Ireland, and while James will not be of Sunday afternoon just yet – it does mean he’s still holding the form that saw him feature in several competitions in June and July. Sugrue is in third place after Mark Power and Reece Black posted rounds of 65. With the 36 hole strokeplay cut (top 64) currently around the +2 mark, it looks like all three golfers will just need a level par round or slightly worse tomorrow to book a place in the matchplay phase.
Kinsale’s Cathal Butler set the early pacewith a four under par round of 68. That was despite being two over after his opening three holes. It was a good day for several Cork golfers, Gary O’Flaherty joined Butler on 68 and John Hickey was two shots back on 70.
Gary Ward, Peter O’Keeffe and Sean Desmond are all in the clubhouse on level par, their currently in the top 40 and another similar round tomorrow should see them advance Continue reading
Pictures from the AIG Barton Shield Munster semi-final: Continue reading
John Hickey pictured during the Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup.
Cork’s John Hickey was the best placed Cork golfer at Mullingar over the weekend. Stuart Grehan won the prestigious title with a wire to wire win following two 67’s which saw him hit the halfway point on -10.
An opening 79 on Sunday morning hampered Hickey, and that return featured two triple bogies on his front nine. Hickey recovered with a one under par 71 on Sunday afternoon and another two 71’s followed on Monday. That saw him rise up the leaderboard and eventually finished in 9th place. Hickey will be a key member of the Cork team that will be aiming to retain their AIG Barton Shield Munster title in Tralee this weekend.
Peter O’Keeffe (74/75/74/73) was just inside the top twenty (18th), O’Keeffe is currently preparing for his Irish Senior debut in Moortown next week. James Sugrue and John Murphy both were tied for 24th place, that was likely to be Murphy’s last competitive event in Ireland as he’s moving to Kentucky next week to take up his place with Aaron O’Callaghan’s University of Louisville golf programme. Kinsale duo Gary Ward (T37) and Cathal Butler (T41) both made the cut but Mallow’s Conor Dowling missed the cut for the final day.