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
Fionn Hickey (Muskerry) holds a share of the lead in Ballybunion after the opening day of the Munster Boys. Testing conditions were in play all day as 68 golfers – including 11 from Cork battled with wind and rain, and there was little in the way of respite as the rain continued into the late afternoon. Hickey had a tough start, he had a double bogey seven on the opening hole. He was four over after four holes but two birdies on the fifth and sixth got him back on track. He turned on +3 and a very steady back nine (+1) saw him card a leading four over par 76. Hickey is tied for the lead with Knock’s Lee Mitchell.
Youghal’s Charlie Flavin shot 81 to finish in the top ten while Stephen Riordan and Ronan Feerick are in the top 20. Robbie Walsh and Alex Dineen are in the top 30 while Eoghan Casidy, Mel Deasy and Keelan McCarthy are all in the top 40.
Round two gets underway tomorrow morning at 7.54am on the Cashen course, and with better conditions forecast the race will be on to post a score in top 45. That’s the cut mark for Friday’s final round. The cut is currently +18, but th 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
Just two Cork golfers remain from the six that started in Ballybunion this morning. Cathal Butler and Greg O’Mahony are through to the last 16 in the AIG Irish Close in Ballybunion. Butler is on a good run of form at the moment, and he was delighted to come through the first two rounds considering the challenge that the Old Course put up. “It was blowing an absolute gale, so there was serious ball control needed” said the Kinsale man. “Obviously I had some bad holes and plenty of bogies thrown in but managed to get over the line. I just didn’t get down at all no matter what was thrown at me.” Cathal had beat Jordan Hood on the 18th this morning, and he won 3&1 over Conor Ryan this afternoon. Butler had plenty of home support in Ballybunion with all the lads staying on to support him. “Shane O’Connell from Kinsale caddied for me at the end of my first match and in the afternoon and he was a huge help. John Murphy, Gary Ward, Robbie Walsh and Eric Rumley came out to support me and it was a huge help to get me over the line especially when conditions were so tough. I love Ballybunion, it requires such precision with approach shots – it’s not easy though”
Butler will now face Portmarnock’s Continue reading
Six Cork golfers made it through the first test in Ballybunion this weekend, they’ve qualified for the matchplay stage of the AIG Irish Close Championship. In testing weather conditions the Old Course played much tougher than Saturday. Peter O’Keeffe ended up as the top Corkman, his level par round today saw him finish in 11th, 21 places higher than yesterday. Greg O’Mahony, Cathal Butler and John Murphy have all matched their Lahinch achievements in making the matchplay – although in Murphy’s case he had to qualify this time, doing so comfortably with three shots to spare. Mel Deasy made it through to his first championship matchplay he was the best of the +8’s and is through to tomorrow’s draw. South Champion Sean Desmond added a second 75 today to also finish on +8, he is through to the matchplay, hoping his form from Lahinch will continue. For a while it looked like Deasy, and especially Desmond would miss out, but as the afternoon score came in, all the +8’s were safely through and there was even a few +9’s to qualify. Overnight leader Ronan Mullarney added a three under par 68 to yesterday’s 65 to finish as top qualifier on -9. Eoin Leonard shot a best of the day 67 to Continue reading
Lee Valley’s Mel Deasy is in the top ten at the McGregor Trophy, the English Under 16 Strokeplay Championship, and safely through to today’s final 36 holes. Deasy opened on Tuesday with a level par 70 but it was a mixed round. Starting on the 10th, Deasy was five under after 12 holes, but he was back to -1 after doubles on his 13th and 15th holes. He closed out the round with a bogey to finish on level par, that was good enough for 17th place. Mel’s second round was steadier, two birdies and two bogies along with 14 pars led to his second 70. That saw him jump into the top ten, tied for 9th place at the halfway stage. The Lee Valley man is now just five shots off the lead held by England’s Rohan Miah. Galgorm’s Joshua Hill is in second place just one behind the leader. The final 36 holes take place today with Deasy on the tee at 9.30m. The event meant that Deasy missed out on a chance to retain his Munster U16 title which took place this week. He’ll be back in Munster colours next week when the Boys Interprovincials take place on Athlone Golf Club.
Sara Byrne had another good day in Galway at the Irish Girls Close. The Douglas golfer recorded a 6&4 win over Evelyn Park. That follows two good rounds on Tuesday when she shot 76 & 71 to finish just one off the lead. This morning she will take on Emily Murray from Co Louth in the round of 16 match, with the quarter finals also taking place tomorrow.
It was another positive day for Cork golfers, 16 year old Fionn Hickey was in the prizes a the Leinster Boys while Peter O’Keeffe dispatched another two challengers and is into the semi-final of the North of Ireland.
Muskerry’s Fionn Hickey continued his positive set of results this summer with a fourth place finish at the Leinster Boys. Played in Waterford Golf Club over the past three days, Hickey close with a one under par 70. Three birdies in his final five holes helped the Muskerry golfer move up one spot on the leaderboard, and he also won the best Under 17 prize. Mel Deasy (Lee Valley) finished inside the top ten, two birdies on the back nine helped improve his position after going through the front nine in +3 today. Keelan McCarthy and Robbie Walsh came home together in 14th position. Both golfers shot identical rounds of 74,73,78 over the three days, while Mallow’s Daniel O’Sullivan was one shot back in 22nd place.
In Portstewart, Peter O’Keeffe claimed his fourth matchplay win in two day, closing out all four matches before he reached the 18th hole. In the round of 32, O’Keeffe faced Jake Rowe from Tandragee, and he beat the Ulsterman 2&1. This afternoon he faced Malone’s Matthew McClean in the quarter-final and closed out the match on the 16th after holding a solid lead throughout.
Tomorrow morning the Douglas golfer will face the top qualifier and 2018 West of Ireland winner Rob Brazill from Naas. Both golfers are currently on the Irish Senior Mens panel and it promises to be an interesting match. In the second semi final, Liam Grehan will take on Arron Edwards-Hill. O’Keeffe has been on the road for well over a week. Last week he caddied for his friend Rob Dawson in the Irish Open in Lahinch, and when they finished up on Sunday, O’Keeffe made the long journey to the Northern coastline for Monday’s first round in the strokeplay qualifier.
Pictures from Bandon: Continue reading
Lee Valley’s Mel Deasy has been selected to represent the GUI at the McGregor Trophy later this month. Deasy, who is a member of the Irish Boys U16 panel, is one of six players selected to represent the GUI. Deasy had a great start to the season, winning the West of Ireland qualifier, and making the cut in the event. He’ll be looking forward to the next few weeks with several boys competitions taking place, in addition to the McGregor. The McGregor Trophy, which is contested for the English U16 Stroke Play Championship, is a 72-hole tournament. After two rounds, the top 40 and ties will progress to play the final 36 holes. Among the previous winners is England’s Justin Continue reading