Close Call for Howard at Irish Open Qualifier

Jack Howard (Fota Island)

Jack Howard (Fota Island)

Jack Howard came agonisingly close to a spot in Lahinch this week, the Fota Island golfer was just one shot away from making the Irish Open field.  Playing alongside 130 of Ireland’s top professionals and amateurs in Moy Valley, Howard shot a three under par 69 in his opening round.  Five birdies and two bogies saw him reach the halfway point in fifth place and in with a great shot of claiming one of the four passes to Lahinch.  David Ryan was also in on -3 while Conor Coyne was the next best Cork golfer on level par.  While several golfers completed their first rounds on Sunday morning, the leaders had to wait to start their second rounds.  Although Howard opened with two bogies in Sunday’s second round he recovered before the turn.  A birdie on the 13th and an eagle two on the 15th put him back in a positive position but a bogey on the second last hole meant that he missed out on the playoff by one shot.  A four under total, with two under par rounds is a strong performance, and given the quality of the field Howard’s top ten finish is impressive.  David Ryan carded a second round Continue reading

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Howard runner up in Irish Club Professional at Dromoland

Jack Howard (Fota Island)Jack Howard finished runner-up in the Irish Club Professional Tournament in Dromoland last week, losing out to Damien McGrane after a play-off.  Howard, representing Fota Island shot a four under par 68 to lead the tournament.  That included important birdies on the 17th and 18th to get into a tie for the lead.  It was in impressive round from Howard in a strong field, and it included seven birdies.  At the end of the round the two leaders were tied on -4, and unlike other PGA events it was on the a play-off.  After halving the first play-off hole, McGrane put the pressure on by hitting the green on the short par four 10th.  When Howard missed his 12 foot birdie attempt the former European Tour winner tapped in or birdie to claim the title.

Davey Barry and Shane Irwin were the next bet placed Cork golfers, they both carded one par rounds of 73 to get a top ten place, while Cian McNamara and David Ryan were three back in a share for 24th place.

While Jack will be disappointed at missing out on the win, there are several positives.  As well as the prize money for second place, the high placed finish means that the 22 year old will now be able to enter several of the high profile events as the Irish Continue reading

Top Ten for Davey in Derry

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 Davey Barry

Davey Barry was in the top ten at the 36 hole Waled City of Derry pro-am over the weekend.  Davey shot a two under par 69 to finish on three under in a tie for 7th place.It’s Davey’s first top ten since May although the busy Douglas professional has been playing on a reduced schedule.  Davey has been a busy man this year, he completed his PGA studies earlier this year and he’s been busy coaching and teaching in Douglas over the past three months.  He’s made the cut in all 14 events that he has play in, and has earned prize money in nine events.

It has been a quiet year for Cork golfers, Michael Collins and Wayne O’Callaghan cut back their schedule in 2016 and this year both Cian McNamara and David Ryan have also reduced their number of events.  Davey will be back in action next week in the St Margaret’s and then it’s on to Rosslare where he’ll defend the title he won last year.  After that the PGA season will start to wind down, the last pro-ams on the schedule are Lutrellstown, Tulfarris and Galway Bay with the season closing with the €20,000 Connemara pro-am in late September.

Damien McGrane continues to lead the PGA Irish Region Order of Merit, the Wexford based professional has a sizeable lead over David Higgins and looks likely to win the Order of Merit at this stage.  Simon Thornton is in third place and David Ryan is the best placed Cork golfer in 15th place.

 

 

McNamara wins in Delgany, PGA Irish Region

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Monkstown’s Cian McNamara was back in the winners circle yesterday after shooting a five under par 64 at the Delgany Pro-Am.  McNamara has been playing a reduced schedule this year, playing in three or four events each month.  Although not playing as much as some fellow professionals he racked up quite a few top five and top ten finishes this year and proving the Limerick native is still a threat on the Irish region circuit.  On Wednesday he teamed up with his assistant Shane Irwin and both qualified for the PGA Fourball Championship in Headfort, finishing in second place.

McNamara had a good start, he turned on -3 thanks to an eagle on the third and a birdie on the ninth.  Another birdie followed on the 10th but he handed back a shot with a bogey on the 12th.  McNamara had a strong finish with birdies on the 16th and 18th to sign for a five under par 64.  That was more than enough for the win, McNamara was two ahead of second placed Damien McGrane and Daniel Beattie.  It’s a busy week for Cian, he is back in action today at the Beaverstown Pro Am in Donabate.

McNamara on form, Irish PGA Championship Pro-Am

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Monkstown PGA Professional Cian McNamara pictured with PGA Tour member Seamus Power on a visit to Monkstown Golf Club. Picture: Niall O’Shea

Monkstown’s Cian McNamara was tied second in today’s Irish PGA Championship Pro-Am in Moyvalley.  McNamara has been improving steadily in the early part of the season, last week he carded a final round 69 in the PGA Professional Championship to claim 6th place.  The event was held in Lutrellstown Castle which featured 150 PGA professionals from all over the UK and Ireland.

Today he followed up with another solid round in Moyvalley in the pro-am on the eve of the the 72 hole Irish PGA Championship.  The Limerick native was second, two shots off the lead set by David Higgins.

Moyvalley is a course that McNamara likes, he finished in the top ten last year and he’ll be hoping to challenge at the top of the leaderboard and add his name to the famous trophy.  Davey Barry (Douglas) also finished in the top Continue reading

Top Ten for McNamara as Higgins wins, Irish Club Professional Tournament

David Higgins 2017David Higgins retained his PGA Irish Club Professional title in Dromoland today.  The Waterville man shot a second successive 70 to win by three and ahead of a three way tie for second which included Colm Moriarty, Brian McElhinney and Richard Kilpatrick.  Higgins had a steady round one birdie on the front nine was balanced by a bogey on the back nine as he eased to his first Irish Region win of the new season.

Cian McNamara carded a two under par 70 which tied for the low round of the day.  He was level par for the front nine but an eagle 2 on the par 4 tenth hole got his round going.  He birdied the 15th to get to -3 but a dropped shot on the last hole saw him finish on +5 for the tournament and take a share of 10th place.

Padraig Dooley added a 78 today after shooting a 73 yesterday, he finished two shots behind McNamara in 14th place.  David Ryan was the only other Cork golfer in action in Dromoland, he shot a second round 78 to finish in the middle of the pack in 34th place.

“I was delighted with that today. With it being so windy there was disaster around every corner so I kept it steady and kept the big numbers off my card,” said the 44-year-old.  “It was a great couple of days, fantastic weather and a spectacular setting for the course which was set up tough. It played a bit ‘linksy’ which was right up my alley and considering the course set-up and the high winds I was delighted to shoot level par.”

Higgins was happy to get off the mark today: “I’m delighted to get off to a good start. The standard is getting better each year on the Irish Region and every win is going to be crucial in the order of merit race.  I was my first time to Dromoland, its a cracking venue and definitely worth a visit for any golfer.”  Next up for Higgins is a EuroproTour even in Ballykisteen next week and then it’s on to the Roganstown Golf Hotel Pro-Am in Monday week.

As well as a busy schedule on the Irish Region tour, Higgins also has a place in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and the links specialist is looking forward to July: “I haven’t played Portstewart yet but I hear it is a great links.  I would love for the wind to blow really strong during the week of the open.  I feel this would play right into my hands and give me my best chance of doing well.”

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Long Read: Hayes at Home in Douglas

 

Stephen Hayes pictured in action in Douglas Golf Club.Picture: Niall O'Shea

Stephen Hayes pictured in action in Douglas Golf Club. Picture: Niall O’Shea

It’s six years since Stephen Hayes took the reins at Douglas Pro Shop, taking on the challenge of working in one of the oldest clubs in Cork.  The past six years haven’t been great for the golf industry but in that time the PGA Professional developed a large following.  Working from one of the busiest courses in the county, Hayes has built a strong business in what was a tough time for everyone involved in the business.  Being a club pro can be a demanding job, the shop must be open 364 days a year, and for up to 12 hours a day during the summer months.  Add to that the fact that you need to find cover for the shop if coaching or playing, or even taking a day off, and you’ll soon realise that a pro-shop can be a demanding business for a PGA Professional.  Over the past two years the retail landscape has changed, the internet has become a real alternative to the high street or on-course shop.  The high street Continue reading

Top Ten finish for McNamara and Barry at 106th Irish PGA Championship

Golf_Cian McNamara_Monkstown GC_June2014_2The 106th Irish PGA Championship came to a conclusion today with two Cork golfers in the top 10.  Monkstown’s Cian McNamara finished of his tournament in style with a two under par 70.  The Limerick native got off to a great start with three birdies on the front nine and another one on he 11th.  He bogied the 13th and 16th which pegged him back a little but still stayed in the red and signed for a 70.  Davey Barry also rounded off a great week, finishing in a tie for 7th place alongside McNamara.  Davey signed for a one over par 73 today but jumped up two places on the leaderboard.  Barry was three over par through 11 holes but added two birdies on the way home to get back on track and ensure his top ten finish.

David Higgins had a 71 to stay inside the top ten and finish in 6th place just ahead of McNamara and Barry.  David Ryan shot a level par 72 to move up into the top 30.  Mallow’s Ciaran McKenna had another disappointing round and finished near the back of the field.

Damien McGrane joined the legendary past winners with a hugely impressive 69 to put his name alongside some of the greatest Irish golfers.  Overnight leader Continue reading

Macfarlane & Burns 3 off the lead in Vilamoura

Don Mcafarlane and Darren Burns shot a round of two under to lie three shots off the lead at the Lombard Trophy final in Vilamoura in Portugal.  The East Cork duo had a shakey start and were two over after four holes but they went on a birdie blitz and had four birdies in the next six holes.  Two more birdies and bogies followed in the closing holes and the pair signed for a two under par 70.  The event is taking place on the Vila Sol course in Vilamoura and the second round takes place tomorrow.

 

McNamara 4th after Round 1 of PGA Irish Championship

Golf_Cian McNamara_Jun2014Cian McNamara followed up his good pro-am performance yesterday with an opening 69 at the first round of the PGA Irish Championship.  It was a second successive 69 for the Monkstown professional, with birdies on the 12th, 15th and 16th.  He had a steady round of 15 pars to go with the three birdies.  Davey Barry is two shots back on -1.   He’s tied for 12th place after a round that featured four birdies and three pars.  The lead is held by Simon Thornton who  is three clear of the field after an opening 69.  The 106th staging of the Championship is being hosted by Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

Cork interest is high with several golfers in line to make the cut.  Ciaran McKenna is inside the top 30 on +2, and Conor Coyne is one behind on +3.  Padraig Dooley, David Ryan, Stephen Hayes and Ronan Collins have some work to do to ensure they make the cut.  Dooley, Hayes and Ryan are inside Continue reading