Walsh wins Hilary outing at Seapoint

Dundalk’s Clem Walshe was the winner of Sunday’s Hilary Golf outing, sponsored by Rabo Direct, at Seapoint with a fine score of 70 in difficult wet conditions. The five handicap player was a model of consistency shooting nines of 37 and 38 to beat Paul Reilly (Co. Louth) by a single shot.

Dave Lowry (Corrstown) shot an impressive one under par 71 to capture the gross prize.

Kevin Knightly (Royal Dublin) was joined by Naas duo Alan Rohan and Lloyd O’Rourke in claiming the team prize with a score of 62.

The next outing in the series takes place on Sunday,March 4,in Laytown and Bettystown.

 

Thirteen proves lucky for Browne

Mark Browne (22) was the winner of Sunday’s 13 Hole Singles Stableford competition with an excellent score of 33pts which was two better than Michael Gill (8). Gill, who also shot the day’s best gross score of 25pts, edged out Peter O’Brien (15) for the runners-up spot. O’Brien took Category Two with Gregory McCaughey (8) taking Category One and Diarmuid McAdam claiming Category Three.

After picking up one point for a double bogey six at the first, Browne got his round really going at the second which he birdied for four points. He followed that with three consecutive three point pars at the fifth and sixth and a three point bogey at the seventh.

Although he had to settle for a one point double bogey at the eighth, Browne got quickly got back into the groove with three point pars at the ninth and tenth and a two point double bogey at the 11th.

He didn’t let up over the final four holes as he had a three point par at the 15th and a three point bogey at the 16th before finishing with two point bogeys at the 17th and 18th to cover the 13 holes in an impressive 33pts.

Sunday, February 18 – 13 Holes Singles Stableford Competition – Mark Browne (22) 33pts, Michael Gill (8) 31pts. Category 1 (0-11): Gregory McCaughey (8) 29pts.    Category 2 (12-17): Peter O Brien (15) 31pts. Category 3 (18-28): Diarmuid McAdam (23) 29pts. Best Gross: Michael Gill (8) 25pts.

Rafferty finishes sixth in African Championship

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty got his 2018 season off to a promising start over the past fortnight when he was part of an eight strong Ireland team that travelled to South African for two of the top amateur events on the African golf calendar.

Rafferty finished sixth at the African Championship having recorded a joint 26th place finish at the South African Championship the previous week and said his African adventure had been a great experience.

“I was told before I went out that it was probably the best trip of the year because you are playing on the best golf courses and playing against top players. It was a great experience and the GUI and our new Captain John Carroll had everything done to perfection so all we had to do was turn up and play golf,” said Rafferty.

The trip provided an ideal opportunity for Rafferty to give his new Titleist clubs their competitive debut having flown to England in January for a five-and-a-half hour fitting session.

“That was another great experience as the day after the fitting session I went down to the factory to pick them up and got to see the whole process which was very educational. I had a week to break them in before I went to South Africa.”

His first couple of round at the South African Championship in Peacanwood Golf Club had all the hallmarks of a getting to know you process with the new clubs but six birdies in the third round suggested they were settling in and a final round 66, where he landed seven birdies, proved the point.

“I’d poor starts in three of the rounds at Pecanwood but I had a good chat with the GUI’s National Coach Neil Manchip and he told me not to be afraid to go low and to focus on what I was good at. I had 21 birdies that week but finished on 11 under so I was mixing the good and bad but that last round gave me a lot of confidence heading to the African Championship.”

Rafferty said that conditions in South Africa took a bit of getting used to as the thin air meant the ball was going a lot further than he was used to.

“We had to start doing our yardages in metres and pretending the metre figure was yards. I was hitting a nine iron 190 yards, something I’d never do at home even downwind. Bunkers that would normally be in play could now be driven over. It was really different. The kikuyu grass was very tough, especially in the rough where it was knitted together and all you could do was advance the ball as far you could.”

By his own admission, his opening round of one over par 73 at Glendower was too tentative and left him tied 18th, six shots behind the leader. But, after another good heart to heart with Manchip, he once again focused on hitting fairways and greens and shot a four under par 68 to move to -3 and sixth, three shots off the lead.

He followed that up with a three-under par 69 in the third round to ease into second place on six under on a day when a deluge of rain made South Africa feel a lot more like Ireland. However, South Africa’s James Du Preez stole a march on everybody by posting an eight under par 64 to open up a seven shot lead on Rafferty.

Playing together, Rafferty and Du Preez matched each in the final round by posting one-under par 71s but, while it was enough for the South African to win by three shots, it saw the Dundalk man slip down the leaderboard to joint sixth on seven under.

“I felt I played very well in the final round but things didn’t really happen for me. I then started to chase it when I might have been better aiming to finish second instead of trying to do something to rattle him.”

Having been the second best Irishman in Peacanwood, Rafferty finished as best Irish player in Glendower and also led Ireland to second place in the team event.

“It was great to finish second in the team event because we are out there representing our country and you do take pride in getting that flag up on the leaderboard.”

Rafferty is now back in Ireland and back at Maynooth University where he is on a Harrington Scholarship but he’s off on his travels next Monday when he flies out to La Manga for the Spanish Amateur Championship which take places from February 28 to March 4.

 

 

Lawlor wins Troia Trophy in Portugal

Brendan Lawlor

Brendan Lawlor produced a superb performance to win the European Disabled Golf Association’s Troia arophy in Portugal.

The 20-year-old Dundalk Golf Club member won the tournament by ten shots from Hassan Chakboub of France.

Brendan said after his victory: “I hit the ball well and was happy with my performance overall. It was tougher in the wind on the back nine, four or five shots harder than yesterday. I felt calm [on the last three holes] and that’s why I closed it out.”

EDGA events are international events run under PGA Rules for amateur players who have a disablement with 14 events being held each year.

Lawlor’s win follows his fourth place finish in his debut EDGA outing at Pestana Vila Sol course, in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Brendan is now hoping to compete in the United States Disabled Open Golf Championship, which takes place in Orlando, Florida in May.

 

 

Good finish by Rafferty in South Africa

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty was the second best placed Irishman at the South African Strokeplay Championship which was held at Pecanwood Golf Club last week.

Rafferty finished in joint 26th place on -11, which was four shots behind Alex Gleeson of Castle. The tournament was won by Sweden’s Oliver Gillberg who shot a phenomenal 27 under par to win by one shot.

Rafferty found himself six shots off the lead after an opening round of two under par 70 which included four birdies.

He fell further behind after the second round when he shot a 71 to make the half-way cut on -3 which was 12 shots off the lead.

That left him tied for 49th place but he moved up two places after posting a two par 70 in the third round. Rafferty recovered from a dreadful start as he double bogeyed the opening hole and went on to shoot six birdies as well as two bogeys.

That suggested he was beginning to acclimatise to the conditions and he proved it in the final round when he carded his best round of the week, a six-under par 66, and climbed 21 places up the leaderboard to finish on -11.

The tournament left Rafferty with plenty of positives as all four rounds were under par and he managed to throw in a low one as well. He now heads, along with his Irish team-mates, to Glendower Golf Club for the African Strokeplay Championship which runs from Tuesday to Friday.

 

Winter League entries now open

Entries are now being accepted for the 2018 Winter League which is sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock.

This year the League will be a five person team event and will commence on Sunday, February 18 and run for six weeks with the final scheduled for April 1. There will be a break for the Captain’s Drive in on February 25.

The competition format will be stableford with one team score to count in weeks one to three, with two scores in week four and three scores counting in week five.

The top two teams will play a matchplay final on April 1 which will be run concurrently with the Sunday competition on that date.

The closing date for entries is Friday, February 16. Entries should be placed in the box in the Club Bar. The entrance fee is €5. Please ensure your full name and handicap are written on the envelope.

Rafferty in action in South Africa

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty will be in action in South Africa over the next fortnight as he is part of a group of top Irish players taking part in two of the African continent’s major golf championships.

From February 6 to 9, Rafferty will be competing at the South African Stroke Play Championship which is being held at Pecanwood Golf Club.

Rafferty will also take part in the African Amateur Championship at Glendower Golf Club from February 13 to 16.

 

O’Brien’s birdies make the difference

Darren O’Brien produced a super round, which included three birdies, to win Sunday’s 14 Hole Single Stableford competition.

On a perfect day for golf, the 13 handicapper, shot an amazing 37pts for the 14 holes and was a clear winner by two points from Shane McGuinness (19) who had to settle for second overall.

Barry Cunningham (8), Michael Hamilton (15) and George Rogers (19) took the three category prizes with Peter Rogers (1) returning the best gross score for the second successive week.

O’Brien, who had 10 strokes to play with because of the reduced number of holes, got off to a great start with a three point par at the first but handed it back when he double-bogeyed the next. However, successive three point pars at the third and fourth holes got him back in the groove and a two point par at the fifth was followed by a three point birdie at the par five sixth.

He then parred the next three holes for a further eight points to turn for home on 23pts. A two point par at the 10th and a two point bogey at the index two 11th brought him to 27 points with three holes to go and he then proceeded to burn off the field with a blistering finish.

O’Brien pared the par-five 12th for three points and then parred the par-three 13th for another three points before birdieing the par four 18th for four points and signing for a remarkable 37pts.

Sunday, February 4 – 14 Hole Singles Stableford – Overall: Darren O Brien (13) 37pts, Shane McGuinness (19) 35pts. Category 1 (0-12):Barry Cunningham (8) 34pts. Category 2 (13-18): Michael Hamilton (15) 33pts. Category 3 (19-28): George Rogers (19) 33pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (1) 29pts.