Major Irish & International wins by Cork Golfers: Continue reading
James Sugrue is the best of the Cork golfers at the halfway stage of the West of Ireland Championship in CO Sligo Golf Club. The Mallow man shot a two under par 69, helped along the way with an eagle on the back nine. Sugrue started smartly with an opening birdie but a seven on the par five 3rd hole set him back. He recovered with a birdie on the fifth and his eagle on the 12th brought him back into the red. Added to his opening 72, Sugrue is on -1 at the halfway stage – tied for fourth place. He’s four shots behind joint leaders Caolan Rafferty and Max Kennedy.
Mel Deasy added another 73 today to finish +4 in a tier for 30th place. The leading qualifier was three over after his front nine, but came back in one under to match yesterday’s score.
They are the only two golfers inside the top 50, the cut line after tomorrow’s third round. Greg O’Mahony and Gary Ward are just one shot outside the top 50 on +8 (T56) while Sean Desmond is a shot further back, currently placed T76. It was another tough day for Peter O’Keeffe, he shot a 78 which makes qualifying for Sunday a big ask. Cathal Butler also suffered after a horrendous front nine, which put paid to his chances. Kieran Murphy, Keith Fitzpatrick, Padraig O’Connor and Eric Rumley are all outside hopes for making it through to Sunday, but they do have one more round at the famous links to post a memorable score.
Mel Deasy launched his season in style today – with a three under par 68 to win the qualifier at the West of Ireland. Mel, who is just 16, was in a field of 90 golfers hoping to claim one of the nine spots in the championship proper. The Lee Valley golfer was off early this morning and made the most of the round. Despite two birdies on his front nine, a double meant he turned on level par. He came back in three under though with birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th holes. He was the only golfer to break par and finished three shots ahead of the field. It was a 1-2 for Cork golfers, Cork’s Kieran Murphy finished as runner up on level par. Murphy was a bit unfortunate, he was two under through 16 before he had a double on the 17th. Still, he was safely through to Continue reading
The West of Ireland qualifier takes place on Sunday and four Cork golfers will be heading for Co Sligo with the hope of making the tournament proper. Mel Deasy, now wearing Lee Valley colours will be hoping to make his first senior championship start while Kieran Murphy from Cork Golf Club will also challenge for one of the ten championship spots. Kinsale have two representatives in the qualifier, Mark Healy and Eric Rumley. They will be hoping to join the three Kinsale members already in the Championship field; Cathal Butler, Gary Ward and Keith Fitzpatrick.
This week marks the start of a busy few weeks for Cork’s top golfers with six already confirmed for the West of Ireland. Peter O’Keeffe (+3.7) and James Sugrue (+3.6) are both in the top ten of entries, the Irish squad members had some very impressive performances at national and international level in 2018 and both will be hoping to add another championship to their resume at the first opportunity this year. Kinsale trio Cathal Butler, Gary Ward and Keith Fitzpatrick will be joined by Sean Desmond (Monkstown), Greg O’Mahony (Fota Island) and Padraig O’Connor (Macroom). This year the event has a different format, the traditional 36/64 has been replaced by a 72 hole strokeplay event. The reason behind the change is that Co Sligo is also hosting the Flogas Irish Amateur Open this year. It’s the first time in 96 years that the event will not be run as a match play competition with a new date also adding to the changes. With the Irish Open taking place in Mid May, the decision made to move the West from the traditional Easter date. For anyone not heading to Sligo, the East Cork SSC takes place on Saturday 6th April.
Monkstown’s Sean Desmond made it through to the matchplay stage on his debut in the West of Ireland Championship today. Desmond shot a second successive 73 at Co Sligo and finished inside the top twenty. Sean had a colourful card today, five bogies and a double were offset by five birdies on the testing links track. Tomorrow he has a 7.27am start where he’ll face Robert Brazill from Naas.
Desmond was the only Cork qualifier in a very narrow field that saw just three Cork golfers get into the tournament. James Sugrue finished 20 places outside the matchplay cut while Kinsale’s John Murphy had a tough debut with rounds of 79 and 77. Conor O’Rourke secured the Silver Medal as the best qualifier on -2, while just two others managed to break par. Three days of matchplay golf follow as all 64 qualifiers will have hopes of winning the season’s first major event.
John Murphy rued a disappointing front nine in St Andrews today as dropped one spot to finish second at the R&A Scholars Tournament. After 36 holes on the Eden Course in St Andrew’s on Monday, Murphy led the field by two shots. By doing so he started the third round in the final grouping on the famous Old Course. Scoring was difficult on the normally manageable links, tough winds meant that there were several returns in the high seventies and eighties. Murphy suffered on the greens on the way out, with an uncharacteristic number of three putts and a rare double bogey. He turned on +5 for the day to drop himself back into the field and two more bogies followed on the 11th and 12th holes. To his credit, Murphy bounced back with three birdies on his last seven holes and the turn-around in form meant that he finished in a tie for second place. John’s Maynooth teammate Stuart Grehan carded a very tidy level par 72 to win the tournament by three shots.
Speaking after his round Murphy admitted that his touch was off in the tough wind on the opening nine holes: “The front nine was a disaster. I had seven 3 putts on the front 9, the wind was as strong as I’ve played in and I really struggled to put a stroke on it. I knew if I had a good back nine I could get Continue reading
Kinsale’s Cathal Butler had two good wins today to make it through to the last 16 in the West of Ireland Championship. Butler qualified on the cut mark of 82 and had an impressive 4&3 win over Jamie Fletcher this morning. This afternoon he faced Conor O’Rourke from Naas, and he dispatched the Irish International on the 17th, winning 2&1. Butler will have Dermot McElroy tomorrow morning, the Ballymena golfer is the current holder of the West of Ireland title. The NUIM student has entered the Munster Youths which starts in Monkstown on Wednesday, his plans might yet change with the final of the West scheduled for Wednesday also.
Seanie Barry was first on the course this morning, he had the tough challenge of playing against Sean Flanagan from Co Sligo. As well as being a local Flanagan was the leading qualifier. Barry matched Flanagan for most of the round in a very entertaining match. He eventually lost out to Flanagan on the 18th.
Mark Shanahan got off to a good start this morning and was leading by 2 at the turn. Play went against him however and he lost to Ben Best on the 18th. Niall Gorey was a withdrawal this morning due to a shoulder injury and is likely to be out for a few weeks. Ian O’Rourke also lost out in the first round, he lost out to Intervarsity Champion Alex Gleeson on the 17th.
Mark Shanahan, Cathal Butler and Seanie Barry, Ian O’Rourke and Niall Gorey all made the cut for the matchplay stage of the West of Ireland Championship. 40mph winds this afternoon forced a suspension in play and the inability to continue led to the cancellation of the second strokeplay round. The tournament committee had a tough decision and decided to make the matchplay draw based on the first round only.
Mark Shanahan and Paul McCarthy had made the good weather on Saturday morning, they both returned 73’s to put themselves in a good position. McCarthy was one of those adversely affected by the cancellation of Round 2, his 73 this morning to see him provisionally in 21st place with half of the second round scores in. McCarthy’s first round 84 meant that he finished in 85th place and two shots outside the cut mark. Cork’s John Hickey also finished on 84, two shots outside the cut.
Sean Barry (Fota Island) was the 64th and final golfer to make the cut, he’ll face leading qualifier Sean Flanagan from Co Sligo in the first game tomorrow.
Rosses Point proved too big a challenge for the six Cork golfers who played in the qualifying strokeplay round today. All were hoping to claim one of eight spots in the competition proper which starts tomorrow (Thursday).
Mark Healy (76) was the best of the Cork scores, he was tied for 25th place and two shots outside the playoff. Greg O’Mahony was one shot behind with Eoghan Long, Darragh O’Connor and Paul Tobin finishing down the field.
Seanie Barry Continue reading