Second place for Murphy at Ulster Boys

Eoin Murphy

Eoin Murphy bowed out of Boys Golf with a super performance at the Ulster Boys Championship in Royal Portrush where he finished second to Thomas Higgins of Roscommon.

Higgins led from post to pillar after opening with a 66 and Murphy found himself 10 shots off the lead after shooting a five over par 76 in the first round.

However, he hauled himself back into contention with a bogey free seven under par 64 as he reeled off seven birdies to move up the leaderboard into fourth place, five shots behind Higgins.

In the final round Murphy had three birdies and one bogey for a two part 69 but, while that was enough to leapfrog into second place, it wasn’t enough to haul back Higgins who also shot 69 to keep his five shot margin over the Dundalk player.

Murphy went into the tournament with a plus one handicap and his two rounds under par were enough to push him out to plus two and see him achieve one of his major goals for the year.

Lawlor ready to tee up with the pros in Australia

Brendan Lawlor

Dundalk Golf Club’s Brendan Lawlor is preparing for the trip of a lifetime in November when he will head to Sydney to tee it alongside the professionals playing in the Emirates Australian Open. Last year’s event included Jason Day and Jordan Speith and previous winners have included Speith, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood and Greg Norman.

Lawlor is among 12 of the top disabled golfers in the world who will be playing for the Australian All Abilities Championships alongside the professionals at The Lakes Golf Club as part of an initiative to help golf become more inclusive at all levels and also help the case being made by the International Golf Federation for the sport to be included in the 2024 Paralympics in France.

“This is the very first time it has happened,” explained Lawlor. “There was a display at the Portuguese Masters but nothing like this where we will be playing competitively in the same field as the professionals.

“Ours is a three day event, theirs is a four day event. But when the cut is made you will be paired with a pro-golfer and playing the same course,” added Lawlor who is travelling Down Under as one of seven European players in the field and with a huge incentive.

“If I win in Australia I can go to world number one so that’s my goal. I’m number three at the moment and getting to number one would be huge for me.”

Lawlor, who has Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, a bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs, is a member of the European Disabled Golfers Tour and although he only joined it late last year it didn’t take him to long to find his feet. This year he won in Portugal, France and Czech Republic to shoot up both the European and World rankings.

“It’s been fantastic. The talent that’s out there on tour is amazing. I couldn’t get over it the first time I played. There were people with one leg and one arm hitting it 260 yards. You wouldn’t see able bodied people doing that.

“What helps me is probably competing at able bodied golf all my life and playing with Dundalk and also in Ardee at the start. I’ve played able bodied golf all my life and I knew I had the game and the confidence to succeed in it.”

Lawlor is a member of Dundalk’s Senior Panel which won the Leinster Barton Shield title, reached the semi-final of the Leinster Senior Cup and was beaten in the All-Ireland Barton Shield Final this year. He says that playing senior golf in Ireland has helped his game and contributed to his success on the EDGA Tour.

“The standard here is a little bit better than the standard would be out on tour. The best out there is really good, but at club level I’m competing against Caolan Rafferty off plus five and Aaron Grant off plus three so it doesn’t really get better than that. When you are going out there on tour, knowing you’ve been playing against Caolan or Aaron, it gives you confidence.”

Lawlor, who is 21, has only been playing golf for six years having started in pitch and putt because he didn’t think he would have the strength needed for the bigger game.

“I didn’t think I was strong enough at the start so I started playing pitch and putt and I got to the highest level in pitch and putt and won two All-Irelands. I was playing it week in week out. Then I started golf and was given a handicap of 28. I was down to 10 in my first year and I just kept plugging away and I am off one now. Put in the hard work and things will happen.”

That hard work is now reaping unthinkable dividends for Lawlor as he prepares to head to Australia and his date with the pros which will then be followed by a Ryder Cup style match between Europe and Australia in Melbourne.

“It’s a great buzz. If I stuck at able bodied golf my whole life I’d never get this opportunity so it is opening massive doors for me.”

He is hoping that the exposure disabled golf gets from playing alongside the professionals in the Australian Open will persuade the powers-that-be to allow the sport into the 2024 Paralympics as he would love the opportunity of going for gold in France in six years’ time.

“I am third in the world and I want to be competing in the Paralympcis,” stated Lawlor who along with another disabled golfer, Gareth McNeely, is currently trying to set up an Irish Disabled Golfers Association.




Late birdie delivers House Committee Cup for Murdock

A BIRDIE on the last hole clinched the House Committee Cup for 11 handicapper Derek Murdock on a beautiful day at Dundalk last Sunday.

Oliver McGinnity, who was in the first group that teed off at 7.15am, had set the early clubhouse with a four under par 68 and was subsequently joined by Tom Clarke (17) and Michael Coburn (9).

McGinnity was well finished when Murdock began his round just before noon and he began the chase earnestly as took full advantage of the excellent conditions down the front nine which he covered in four under par after back to back birdies at the fifth and sixth and pars at the second, fourth and seventh.

He played to his handicap on the first three holes of the back nine but then dropped shots on the 13th and 14th where he didn’t have shots and ended up bogeying the holes to slip back to two under with four to play.

With the wind at this back he parred the 15th to get back to three under and he was still on the number when he teed off on the last hole. But he managed to get the birdie he needed to leapfrog over the trio on 68 and claim the House Committee Cup with an excellent five-under par 67.

Coburn took Category 1, Clarke won Category 2 and McGinnity was the Category 3 winner while the evergreen Peter Rogers shot the day’s best gross score of 74.

Sunday, October 28 – House Committee Cup: Overall: Derek Murdock (11) 67. Category 1 (0-11): Michael Coburn (9) 68, Carl Stewart (7) 69. Category 2 (13-17): Tom Clarke (17) 68, Shane Thornton (14) 69. Category 3 (18+): Oliver McGinnity (20) 68, Colm Garvey (20) 71. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (4) 74. CSS: Non-Qualifying.

Murphy pipped for Irish Intervarsities Championship


Eoin Murphy

EOIN Murphy went very close to keep the Irish Intervarsities title in Dundalk at Rosapenna when he was pipped for the title by one shot by James McVicker of Ulster University.

Playing for DKIT, Murphy jumped eight places in the final round after shooting a superb four under par 67 that included six birdies. He was holding the clubhouse lead when McVicker sank a 10 foot par putt on the last to pip him for the title which was won last year by his Dundalk team-mate Caolan Rafferty.

After opening the competition with a two over par 73, Murphy shot 78 in the second round after opening dropping five shots over the first three holes and then another five shots over the first three holes of the back nine.

In addition to his second place finish, Murphy was also tied first for most birdies (13) and the best Par Five average (4.33).

Josh Mackin was also in action In Rosapenna and the DKIT student shot rounds of 75, 75 and 78 to finish 11th while Sean Laverty missed the cut.


Walshe comes out on top

Clem Walshe shot the best gross score of the day on Sunday and it was also good enough to give the four handicapper the overall prize after his nett score of 39pts edged out Colin Roche by the narrowest of margins.

Walshe went round in 71 gross, which equated to 35pts, and it was a round that included back to back birdies at the fifth and sixth, 13 pars and three bogeys as he scored on every hole, going out with 20pts and returning with 19pts.

Roche (9) had to settle for winning Category 1 by one point from Neil Mullooly (6) while Michael McDermott (16) claimed the Category 2 prize by one point from Sean O’Sullivan (18) after shooting 35pts.

Matchplay specialist Oliver McGinnity showed he is just as adept when it comes to singles golf as he took Category 3 on countback from young Lee Egan (28) after both finished on 38pts.

Congratulations to Caolan Rafferty on winning the Fife Tournament in Scotland last week and also leading Maynooth University to victory in the team events.

Sunday, October 21 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Clem Walshe (4) 39/19pts. Category 1 (0-12): Colin Roche (9) 39/18pts, Neil Mullooly (6) 38pts. Category 2 (13-17): Michael Mc Dermott (16) 35pts, Sean O’Sullivan (18) 34pts. Category 3 (18+): Oliver McGinnity (20) 38/20pts, Lee Egan (28) 38pts. Gross: Clem Walshe (4) 35pts.

Big turnout for Adult and Juvenile competition

There was a big turnout yesterday for the annual Adult & Juvenile competition with 39 pairs playing Scotch Foursomes. The competition was very generously sponsored by our Club Professional Leslie Walker. At the presentation ceremony Club President Gerry Murray thanked Leslie for his sponsorship and also for his on-going commitment to juvenile coaching and the overall juvenile programme.

The results were:

Saturday, October 20 – Adult & Juvenile Scotch Foursomes sponsored by Leslie Walker.

Category 1 (Adult & 18 Hole Boy)

1st: Hugh Reilly (21) & James Reilly (17) 66.

2nd: Terry Conlon (6) & Lee Egan (28) 67.

Category 2 (Adult & 18 Hole Girl)

1st: Marie Strain (16) & Katie Rowland (36) 73.

2nd: Stephen Lynch (7) & Aoife Verling (36) 73.5.

Category 3 (Adult & 9 Hole Boy)

1st: Graham Purcell (19) & Jarlath Purcell (36) 76.5

2nd: Nicholas McShane (17) & Ódhran McShane (36) 77.8.

Category 4 (Adult & 9 Hole Girl)

1st: Adrian Kenny (17) & Keira Kenny (36) 75.5

2nd: Eddie Rogers (3) & Clara Egan (36) 83.5.

Category 5 (Adult & 5 Hole Boy)

1st: Sean Ward (19) & Tiernan Cunningham (40) 38.25.

2nd: Joe Garvey (18) & Oran Egan (40) 38.5.

Category 6 (Adult & 5 Hole Girl)

1st: Gerry McDermott (16) & Mia McDermott (40) 43.

2nd: Gerry Murray (10) & Holly Murray (40) 43.5.


Rafferty wins in Scotland

CAOLAN RAFFERTY produced a fantastic performance in the wind and rain in Scotland last week to win the 14th Fife Tournament on the British Universities & Colleges Tour.

The Dundalk player, who is a Harrington Scholar at Maynooth University, shot a six under par total of 136 to win the 36 hole event at Fairmont, St Andrews, by seven shots. His victory saw him move up to 54 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, his highest position yet.

The opening day of the competition, which attracted college golfers from all over Britain and Ireland, was characterised by shocking weather which included strong gusting winds followed by heavy rain that nearly made the course unplayable.

While most golfers struggled in the conditions, Rafferty revelled in them as he showed a high level of skill and patience in carding a one under par round of 70 that included three birdies and 13 pars having started his round contending with the high winds and finishing it in a monsoon.

Conditions improved on the second day and Rafferty, who held a one shot lead overnight, quickly stamped his authority on proceedings with three consecutive birdies from the third to move to four under.

Stirling’s Laird Shepherd emerged from the chasing pack as five birdies over the front nine saw him reduce Rafferty’s lead to two shots but the Dundalk man put his foot on accelerator down the back nine with birdies on 10 and 11. Although he dropped a shot on the 12th Rafferty holed his sixth birdie of the day on the 14th and finished with a five under par 66 for a two round total of six under. He won by seven shots from Maynooth teammate Eanna Griffin with Laird in third.

Rafferty was only player in the field to finish under par and he led Maynooth University to victory in the team event as they beat Durham 1 by a massive 23 strokes with Stirling 1 a further two strokes back.




Reid takes full advantage on back nine

Noel Reid (13) took full advantage of perfect weather conditions to win Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition with his 21pts down the back nine enough to pip David Murden (9) on countback after both carded rounds of 39pts.

Reid got off to the perfect start with a birdie three for four points on the first hole and although he only picked up one point from the two par fives he managed to cover the front nine in 18pts.

Three consecutive pars at the 11th, 12th and 13th yielded eight points and he also managed to pick up another eight points as he parred the final three holes on his way to a back nine return of 21pts and signed for an overall score of 39pts.

Murden had the consolation of taking Cateogry 1 from Damien Garland (7) who shot 38pts while Paddy Duffy (13) took Category 2 with 36pts despite playing with an ice cold putter. Aaron Waite (13) finished second in Category 2 with 35pts. Colm Garvey (20) shot 36pts to take Category 3 by one point from Seán Quigley while Sean Hession (4) returned the best gross and Rory Henry (23) was the Juvenile prize winner.

Sunday, October 14 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Noel Reid (13) 39/21pts. Category 1 (0-12): David Murden (9) 39pts, Damien Garland (7) 38pts. Category 2 (13-17): Patrick Duffy (13) 36pts, Aaron Waite (13) 35pts. Category 3 (18+): Colm Garvey (20) 36pts, Seán Quigley (18) 35pts. Gross: Shane Hession (4) 31/18pts. Juvenile: Rory Henry (23) 30pts. CSS: Non-Qualifying.




McCarthy masters the wind

Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition was won by Bobby McCarthy (16) who mastered the windy conditions and returned an excellent score of 42pts which was one better than Austin Carroll (13).

After opening with three two point bogeys, McCarthy picked up six points at the fourth and fifth after back to back three point pars and also parred the seventh for another three point par. He covered the back nine in 21 points and although he picked up only one point at the 10th after a double bogey seven he redeemed himself with a three point at the 11th. Three more three point pars followed at the 13th, 16th and 18th as McCarthy covered the inward nine in 21 points for an overall return of 42pts.

Carroll’s 41pts was good enough to claim Category 2 while Mark Cumiskey (9) took Category 1 with 39pts and Conor Byrne (23) claimed Category 3 with 27pts. Peter Rogers (2) had the best gross score of 36pts and his nett total of 38pts was good enough to take second in Category 1.

October 7 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Bobby McCarthy (16) 42pts. Category 1 (0-11): Mark Cumiskey (9) 39pts, Peter Rogers (2) 38/19pts. Category 2 (12-17): Austin Carroll (13) 41pts, Ken Lynch (12) 39pts. Category 3 (18+): Conor Byrne (23) 37pts. Martin Mc Caughey (21) 35/16pts. Gross:   Peter Rogers (2) 36pts. CSS: 72 (36pts).

Double for McGinnity as Matchplay finals are decided

The finals of the various matchplay competitions took place over the last few weeks and two out three wasn’t a bad return for Oliver McGinnity who appeared in three of the finals.

McGinnity took the biggest prize of all, The Gold Medal, when he defeated teenager Conall Murdock in the final and he also captured the Harry Walsh Cup when he beat Joe Garvey on the 19th hole. McGinnity also reached the final of the Minor Matchplay but his hopes of a unique hat-trick were dashed by Jimmy O’Connor.

O’Connor had a change to emulate McGinnity’s double as qualified along with partner Gerry Campbell for the final of the Foursomes but they came off second best to the defending champions, Paul Morrison and Michael McDermott, who made it a two-in-a-row.

In the Carolan Cup, Jim Dwyer beat Pat Donaghy while Clem Walshe and Oonagh Quinn won second successive Mixed Foursomes title with a 3&2 win over Mickey and Mags Coburn.

Andrew Keenan, a member of the club’s senior panel, captured the Senior Scratch Matchplay, with a win over Shane Hession while Neil Mullooly beat Barry Cunningham to take the Junior title and Pat Curran defeated Eamon McEneaney in the Intermediate Final.