Thompson wins Faldo Series at Mount Juliet

Rachel Thompson Baltray May 2017Rachel Thompson put on a great display of golf in Mount Julliet last week to win the Faldo Series qualifier.  Played over three days on the testing championship course, Thompson was trailing by two shots after the opening round.  She went on to fine an impressive one over par round on the second day, that was eight shots better than the field and gave her a six shot lead.  Thompson had a solid final day, holding her big cushion and claiming the win.  The Cork golfer now qualifies for the Faldo Series final which takes place in Dubai in November.  It promises to be an exciting few weeks for the Cork golfer.  She will be moving to Scotland in September to take up a golf scholarship in the University of Sterling.  Before that she’ll tee it up in the English Womens Strokeplay and she’s heading to Yale in October in a college tournament.  There was disappointment for Kinsale’s Gary Ward, he was within two shots of the lead after two rounds.  Opening rounds of 71 and 72 had him on -1, just two behind Rosslare’s Paul Murphy.  Unfortunately for Ward he had a disappointing final day, he dropped to fifth overall after a final round 79.  Cathal Butler and Mark Healy were also in action, Butler also finished tied for fifth and Healy was in the top ten.  It was another positive week for Kinsale considering they are preparing for the Munster finals of the Barton Shield.

Super 67 for Sara Byrne

2017 Irish Girls Close Championship at Mallow Golf Club

Sara Byrne pictured during the Irish Girls Close, picture: Pat Cashman

Sara Byrne shot a career low round of 67 in Douglas on Sunday, and won the Girlie Hegarty Trophy in the process.  Six birdies and just one bogey saw Byrne finish well ahead of the field.  The sharp shooter was on form, helped by the fact that Douglas is her home course.  Sara finished four shots clear of the field with her 65 nett, Aoife Ni Thuama won the best gross with a 73.  Bandon’s Sarah Higgins won the 18 hole stableford competition while Aoife Keating (Douglas) won the nine hole competition.  It’s been a solid year for the Sara Byrne.  The teenager has had a very busy summer and her five under par round was yet another milestone in a year that saw several improvements.  Byrne was in action Girls Home Internationals recently, where Ireland narrowly lost out to England, and prior to that she was representing Great Britain and Ireland in Italy at the Junior Vagliano Trophy.

Next up for Sara is the British ladies Strokeplay which takes Continue reading

International Action for Cork Girls

2017 Irish Girls Close Championship at Mallow Golf Club

Mairead Martin (Kanturk) Picture: Pat Cashman

Four Cork Girls are in action for Ireland today in the Ladies and Girls Home Internationals.  Little Aston Golf Club near Brimingham is hosting the both events which get underway today.  Despite being eligible for the Girls team, Mairead Martin has been selected for the Ladies team.  The Kanturk native has been in great form recently, she won both the Irish Girls Close and the Leinster Ladies Championship in the past three weeks.  Mitchelstown’s Valerie Clancy (representing Killarney) will feature on the Girls team alongside Cork’s Rachel Thompson and Douglas’ Sara Byrne.

Last year, Ireland were victorious in the Girls Home Internationals with the Ladies’ honours going to England.  Three of the victorious 2016 Girls’ team have returned to defend their title. Clancy, Thompson and Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) will be a source of experience for Captain Gemma Butler, who will be relying on them to lead their fellow teammates.
Ireland take on Scotland today, they face Wales tomorrow and England on the final day.
Home Internationals Little Aston Aug 2017

The combined Girls and Ladies teams (Pic: Derek Byrne)

Ladies Home International Matches

Little Aston, 9 – 11 August
Ciara Casey (Hermitage)
Maria Dunne (Skerries)
Paula Grant (Lisburn)
Mairead Martin (Kanturk)
Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little)
Chloe Ryan (Castletroy)
Annabel Wilson (Lurgan)
Reserve: Sinead Sexton (Lahinch)
Team Captain: Danielle McVeigh (RCDL)
Team Manager: Clodagh Hopkins (Woodbrook)
Team Coach: Donal Scott
Girls’ Home International Matches
Little Aston, 9 – 11 August
Sara Byrne (Douglas)
Valerie Clancy (Killarney)
Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle)
Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush)
Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo)
Rachel Thompson (Cork)
Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden)
Reserve: Georgia Carr (Milltown)
Team Captain: Gemma Butler (Birr)
Team Manager: Helen Jones (Royal Portrush)
Team Coach: Chris Jelly

Mairead Martin wins Irish Girls Close Championship

2017 Irish Girls Close Championship at Mallow Golf Club

Mairead Martin (Kanturk) with the Girls Close Championship (Blake Cup) trophy after her victory at the 2017 Irish Girls Close Championship at Mallow Golf Club today. Picture by Pat Cashman

Kanturk’s Mairead Martin claimed her first national title today, and did so in front of a huge crowd of supporters in Mallow Golf Club.  Martin claimed the Irish Girls Close title after five days of golf in Mallow, and did so in style – never going beyond the 15th hole in the five matchplay rounds.  After confidently striking her first tee shot down their middle of the fairway, Mairead went 1 up through1 and didn’t ease up from there. Four up at the turn, birdies at the 10th and 11th saw Martin go 6 up with 7 holes to play. The match was finished in style with an eagle from Mairead at the 444-yard par 5 12th to close out the game 7&6.

“I’m delighted to win, my short game was on form this week, I pitched in for eagle on the 12th this afternoon to win the match which was a good way to finish”” said a happy Mairead.  “I was at home in my own bed all week too which was also nice and to have so much support from the club was class! I had my sister on the bag too this week which was entertaining! She doesn’t play much golf but I hope she might Continue reading

Cork challenge continues in Mallow, Irish Girls Close

Rachel Thompson Baltray May 2017Cork’s Rachel Thompson is through to the final four in the Irish Girls Close.  Thompson came through two tough rounds in Mallow today, and the leading qualifier is safely through to tomorrow’s semi-final.  The Cork golf club member wrapped up yesterday’s first round match on the 13th winning 7&5 but today she went to the 19th before getting past Emma Forbes from Portrush.  This afternoon her match with Georgina Carr went to the 17th with the Cork girl taking the match on a 2&1 margin to put her through to tomorrow’s semi-final with Maeve Rooney.  There were wins too for Mairead Martin and Valerie Clancy, both golfers also come through two matchplay rounds today to qualify for the semi-final.  They now face each other in the second semi-final tomorrow morning.

Sara Byrne is the fourth Cork golfer in action in Mallow, she’s through to the semi-final of the plate competition after losing her first round match yesterday.  The Douglas golfer needed an extra hole this morning to claim a place in the quarter finals.  She had an impressive 7&6 win this afternoon beating Chloe O’Connor from Roscommon.  She will face Nicole McGavisk Continue reading

Cork interest ends in Mullingar, Irish Womens Close

ILGU LogoCork interest in the Irish Womens Close ended today as all five Cork golfers lost out.  Top qualifier Mairead Martin lost to Irish Strokeplay Champion Maria Dunne.  There were also losses for Sara Byrne and Rachel Thompson as the competition reduced from 16 to 8.  Valerie Clancy made it through to the quarter finals but lost out to Ciara Casey from Hermitage.

There was no joy either for Paula Walsh in the Ita Wallace Plate competition.  She lost to Castletroy’s Chloe Ryan in the quarter Continue reading

Martin through to last 16, Irish Womens Close

Mairead Martin June 2017

Mairead Martin (Kanturk), Photo: Pat Cashman

Top qualifier Mairead Martin won her first round match at the Irish Womens Close in Mullingar today.  It was a north Cork battle as Karturk’s Martin took on Doneraile’s Walsh.

Martin faced 2017 Munster Women’s Champion Walsh in today’s first matchplay round and got off to a good start, winning 3 of the first 6 holes.  Walsh steadied the match but the deficit was too much for her to fight back and the game finished on the 16th green, 3&2 to Martin.  Martin now faces Irish Womens Strokeplay Champion Maria Dunne who’ll be looking to complete a rare double.  Walsh goes on the the plate matchplay where she faces Shannon Burke tomorrow.

It was a good day for Cork golfers, and the 17th was the hole where the other four Cork matches finished.  Sara Byrne had a 2&1 over Alice Hutchinson and Rachel Continue reading

Mairead Martin leads Irish Close Challenge

Mairead Martin June 2017

Mairead Martin, Kanturk.  (Photo: Pat Cashman Photography)

Kanturk’s Mairead Martin led the qualifiers at the Irish Ladies Close in Mullingar yesterday and now faces Doneraile’s Paula Walsh in an all-Cork matchplay clash.  Martin won the Leitrim Cup after finishing the 36 hole qualifier on level par, one ahead of the field.  Martin was not affected by tough windy conditions in Mullingar and her second round 73 included 4 birdies at the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 14th. “It was very tough in the blustery conditions, the wind kept changing direction all day. I putted very well this afternoon which was the key and kept my score going,” said Mairead, “I played well last week at the British Amateur in Wales and I got Continue reading

Girls International call-ups for Byrne, Clancy, Martin & Thompson.

Sara Byrne Fairhaven 2017

Sara Byrne

Four Cork golfers were selected on the Irish Girls team today, they’ll be heading off to Finland next month to take place in the European Team Championships.  Sara Byrne (Douglas) will be making her debut at this level while Valerie Clancy (Killarney/Mitchelstown), Mairead Martin (Kanturk) and Rachel Thompson (Cork) were all selected on the team for the second time.

It’s a great achievement and a rare case where four of the six team members are from one county.  They will be joined by French U18 Champion Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) and Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden), who holed the winning putt at the Girls’ Home International matches on her Irish debut in last year.  Byrne was also selected for an Under 16 girls team and has posted some very positive results thus far in 2017, most impressively a 3rd place finish at the prestigious Fairhaven Trophy earlier this month.  The Team Captain Gemma Butler said  “the girls have had some fantastic results so far this year and having won the second flight at the 2016 European Championships, we are excited to build on that result this time around.”
Irish Girls’ European Team
St. Laurence, Finland (July 11 – 15)
Sara Byrne (Douglas)
Valerie Clancy (Killarney)
Mairead Martin (Kanturk)
Rachel Thompson (Cork)
Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden)
Annabel Wilson (Lurgan)
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Thompson wins Cathy Smith Trophy in Baltray

Rachel Thompson Baltray May 2017Cork’s Rachel Thompson finished strongly  at the Irish Womens Open Strokeplay in Baltray over the weekend.  She captured the Cathy Smith Trophy as the best under 18 and she also finished with the best nett score.  Rachel won the U18 prize with a one stroke lead over Germany’s Sarina Schmidt, but when it came to the gross prize she had a five shot lead over the field.  The competition was won by Mari Dunne who lead form the first round and closed on -9 for the tournament.

Thompson finished in second place in the Lahinch Scratch Cup recently and since then her golf has moved up a gear.  He performances over the weekend has seen her handicap drop from 2 to scratch.  Despite not playing in the Portuguese or Spanish Opens, Thompson is currently 9th in the ILGU Senior Order of Merit.  Valerie Clancy, Sara Byrne, Mairead Martin, Paula Walsh and Karen O’Neill all feature in the top twenty so there should be plenty of Cork golfers in contention for the Ladies and Girls interprovincials.