The AIG Irish Close Championship got underway this morning in Ballybunion, with Kinsale’s Cathal Butler posting the low score to hold the clubhouse lead for most of the day. Despite delays due to a funeral and a nosebleed, over 130 golfers were out on the Old Course today. They were completing the first of two rounds to determine the top 64 qualifiers to go through to the matchplay stages starting on Monday.
After a good performance in Lahinch, Butler made to most of his early start. He had three birdies in a row from the 4th to the 6th, and added another on the 8th to turn on three under. Butler got to -4 on the 16th, but a bogey on the last saw him sign for 68, goo enough to hold the clubhouse lead for much of the day. The former Kerry Boys winner played very will in Lahinch last week, and he’ll be hoping that the good golf will continue as he aims to reach the final stages in Ballybunion. Butler is three behind Ronan Mullarney who opened with a blistering 6 under. Clubmate Gary Ward also finished in the red, he shot a one under par 70, thanks in part to a tasty eagle three Continue reading
Gameface; Peter O’Keeffe in action in the South of Ireland in Lahinch last year
Following his great performance at the North of Ireland two weeks ago, Peter O’Keeffe kept the championship momentum going with an opening 68 in Lahinch today. The opening round of the South of Ireland got underway today in benign conditions, and O’Keeffe was the first of the early starters to post a low score. The Douglas golfer started with a hot hand, birdieing the first two holes. He gave a shot back on the Klondyke, he got it back on the 9th to turn on three under.
Another birdie followed on the 10th and Peter had eight steady pars before a final birdie on the last. That put him in the clubhouse lead, although lower scores would follow. Cathal Butler had shot a 71 (-1), and Sean Desmond would follow with an impressive 67 later in the morning. Paul Buckley and Greg O’Mahony both shot level par, and Paul Tobin and Gary O’Flaherty finished on 73 to Continue reading
Peter O’Keeffe staged a huge recovery at the North of Ireland today, jumping over 100 places on the leaderboard to make it into the matchplay stage of the provincial championship. O’Keeffe, who only arrived in Portstewart yesterday after a week in Lahinch, needed to dig deep after an opening 78 (+5) in Castlerock yesterday. And the big hitting Douglas golfer did just that, shooting a three under par 69 to finish inside the top 40, with two shots to spare from the cut mark of +4. It wasn’t plain sailing for O’Keeffe on Portstewart’s Strand course, host of the 2017 Irish Open. The 2017 Irish Open winner was two over after three holes, but two birdies and an eagle over the next four holes got him back in track. A handful of pars followed until he dropped two more birdies on the 14th and 17th. A bogey on the last meant he signed for a 69 and at that stage O’Keeffe was thinking it Continue reading
Monkstown’s Sean Desmond won the Munster Students title in Tipperary today, holding onto his second round lead. It was a steady round for Desmond, on hiw way to a first championship win. A birdie on the fourth put him into the red on -1 for the tournament, but he bogied the next hole to go back to level par. Another bogey followed on the 10th but that was the last error and the Monkstown man parred his way back to the clubhouse to finish on +1 for the tournament. Paul Conroy (Enniscorthy) took second place after a closing 72, two shots behind on +3 while Tom Dowdall (Woodbrook) took third place on +6. Maynooth A, represented by Darragh Flynn, Aaron Ryan and Robert Abernethy won the team prize.
Gary Ward was the next best Cork player, he was tenth while Paul Tobin and Mark Healy both finished in the top twenty. Desmond now adds his name Continue reading
John Hickey & Paul Tobin pictured with Fergal Deasy in Muskerry last year.
Cork Golf have named two strong foursomes pairings for their semi-final against Warrenpoint in the AIG Barton Shield. With Gary O’Flaherty unavailable due to work commitments, team manager John Carroll has reverted to the 2015 pairing of John Hickey and Paul Tobin. They paired off last year in Muskerry winning two matches before losing out to Munster winners Muskerry. Tobin also featured in the South Munster phase when he partnered Mark Ford as Cork marched on to qualify for the Munster finals. Carroll has kept Brian Kelleher and Mark Ford together in the opening match, the pair blended well in the Minster finals at Cork Golf Club. Cork will face a strong challenge from the Warrenpoint who have Colm Campbell playing with them. Campbell is the reigning Flogas Irish Open and Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup champion, and he’s also a current Irish International. That said, Cork have every chance in the open space of the O’Meara Course in Carton House.
The first match on the O’Meara Course in Carton House gets underway at 10.48am and a large crowd is expected to support the team who go in search of their first green pennant since 1998.
Gallery: Cork win AIG Barton Shield Munster Final
AIG Barton Shield Semi-Final
Warrenpoint v Cork (Warrenpoint names first)
Paul Reavey & Jamie Fletcher v Brian Kelleher & Mark Ford
Colm Campbell & Stephen Coulter v Paul Tobin & John Hickey
Early morning sunshine burns away the frost from the clubhouse at Monkstown as Day 2 at the Munster Youths gets underway. Picture Niall O’Shea
Mallow’s James Sugrue is the best placed Cork golfer going into the final round of the Munster Youths at Monkstown Golf Club. The 2014 winner is three shot behind leader Jack McDonnell who shot 73 to finish on -1. Sugrue is tied for second on +2, Hugh O’Hare from Fortwilliam is also on +2.
Kinsale’s Eric Rumley followed yesterday’s 70 with a 76 and that saw him drop from 3rd to a tie for 12th. John Murphy is also tied for 12th place, both are seven shots off the lead so at best their chances of winning are marginal. Cathal Butler is the third of four Kinsale golfers to make the cut, he added a 71 today to his 74 from yesterday, he is now in 6th place but is six strokes off the lead.
Munster Youths Amateur Open Scoring
Adam McSweeney (Douglas) finished in 24th place along with Alan Riordan (Muskerry). Bandon’s Brian O’Connell was a shot Continue reading
UCC came agonisingly close to winning the Irish Colleges Matchplay at Woodbrook today. A win on the 19th hole saw Ulster University win the title. the four UCC golfers were unbeaten going into the final. The had a 3-0 win over holders UCD yesterday and faced Trinity College this morning. Greg O’Mahony halved his singles match and Ben Murray won 2&1. Paul Tobin and Bill Murray won their foursomes match 4&3. In the final they faced Ulster University and Greg O’Mahony won on the 17th again to get a point for UCC. Ben Murray lost his match on the 17th meaning it all went down to the foursomes match. Tobin and Murray were leading playing the last but lost the 18th Continue reading
Waterford’s Eanna Griffin shot two under par rounds to win the Castlemartyr Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday. The Waterford golfer has come close to winning a few times this year, he was runner up at the West of Ireland and led the Munster Strokeplay at the halfway stage, but his first win of 2015 finally came on Sunday. Griffin was the only golfer to break 70 in the opening round, his 96 had him two shots clear of the Cork GC duo of John Hickey and Paul Tobin. Continue reading
Pictures from the Castlemartyr Senior Scratch Cup, sponsored by Amarenco Solar: Continue reading