Pictures from Ballybunion: Continue reading
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
Muskerry’s Fionn Hickey made his international debut this week, and the 16 year old did himself proud at the Boys Home Internationals. The annual event took place in Ashburnham Golf Club in Wales and Ireland opened with a win over Scotland on Tuesday. It was a disappointing start for Fionn as he narrowly lost his singles match. There was better luck for the Muskerry man yesterday as Ireland beat Wales and Fionn won his singles match against Toby Bishop. That win set Ireland up for a winner takes all match against England today. Hickey partnered Dylan Keating for a half this morning with Ireland taking a lead, the score was 3.5 to 1.5 after the foursomes. Fionn won his match this afternoon, but the wind was in the English sails. They won six of the matches to win by a single point and take the title. While the final result was a disappointment, England were the favourites and solid play from Hickey on his debut will spur him on for a strong end to the season.
Girls & Womens Home Internationals
Sara Byrne was also in action for the Irish Girls over the Continue reading
Rachel Thompson is set to earn her first senior Irish cap next month following her selection on the Irish Ladies team for the Home Internationals. On the back of her win at the Connacht Senior Womens title, the Cork member would have been high on the list of probables, and earlier today her place was confirmed. A strong team was named as Ireland hope go one better this year and win the event. Clodagh Coughlan was selected as a non-travelling reserve, the Douglas golfer’s performance at the recent interprovincials brought her onto the national radar.
Sara Byrne was selected as part of the seven strong Girls team. This will be Byrne’s third year playing in the Home Internationals, a pretty big achievement considering she first played in the Under 18 competition when she was just 15. Sara is now a senior on the team, but Continue reading
Four Cork ladies and two girls have been named on the Munster teams to take part in the interpros at Mount Woolsey next week. Connacht Women’s Champion Rachel Thompson is joined by Clodagh Coughlan, Paula Walsh and Jean O’Driscoll. with Aoife Ni Thuama named as reserve. In the girls team, Youghal’s Roisin Connolly was selected with Monkstown’s Michelle Sharkey. Sara Byrne misses the interpros as she is on the Irish team at the Girls European Team Championships in Spain next week.
The event will take place at Mount Wolseley Hotel and Golf Resort from the 9th to the 11th of July. Each Province will play each other in three foursomes’ matches and fives singles matches.
Rachel Thompson won the Connacht Senior Championship in Westport today, going under par to hold her overnight lead and claim her first senior championship. It was an impressive win, underlined by the winning margin of 11 strokes.
After opening with a six over par 80 yesterday, Thompson found herself just three shots off the lead as everyone struggled to get to grips with the course. The Cork Golf Club member did just that in the second round on Thursday afternoon, shooting three under to jump up the leaderboard. Rachel carded five birdies and two bogies to lead the field by five shots and take the overnight lead.
Thompson opened her third round this morning in the same fashion as the previous two – with a birdie. However it was a mixed opening nine with just two pars. Two more birdies and four bogies meant that she went out in one over par. Thompson didn’t put a foot wrong on the way back. Seven pars and two birdies saw her finish the 18 holes in red for the Continue reading
Rachel 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.
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
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.
Ladies Home International Matches
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