Rafferty selected for Palmer Cup in Lahinch

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty had achieved one of his major objectives for 2020 by being selected on the International team for Arnold Palmer Cup which will take place at Lahinch Golf Club from July 3 to 5.

The Arnold Palmer Cup was co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and began at Bay Hill in Florida in 1997. The event is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top men’s and women’s university/college golfers matching the United States against a team of International players.

Last year, in the R&A Foundations Scholars Tournament in St Andrew’s, Rafferty was on course to play his way on to the team when he led by five shots going into the final round with the winner guaranteed a Palmer Cup spot. However, he was pipped by Welshman Aled Greville who came out of the pack and shot seven-under to deny the Dundalk man a trip to Arkansas.

This time around, he won’t need to play his way onto the team as last week the committee selections for the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup were announced on Golf Channel’s Golf Central as part of their coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Three men and three women per side were named and Rafferty was one of the three selected on the International men’s team.

As he is in his final year of a Business degree course at Maynooth University, this was Rafferty’s last chance of making the team and he was delighted to have achieved one of his major objectives for the year.

“It’s nice to make it, especially when it’s my final year in Maynooth and my final chance to make the team. It feels nice to get a committee pick too. Making it early saves a lot of trouble and means I don’t have the worry of having to and win the R&A event next month although I would still like to win that event after what happened last year.”

Rafferty is also delighted that this year’s event is in Lahinch where he won the South of Ireland Championship in 2018 and where he knows he will be able to count on plenty of support.

“I love Lahinch, it’s a class spot. The people down there have been very good to me over the years and to be able to play a big event like this one on home soil is a bonus too. It means I can get some of the support which I always get when I play any event in Ireland which is great and it also will show the talent that is out there at college level to people who wouldn’t always see it.”

Rafferty will be joined on the International team by Irish women’s international Olivia Mehaffey who is a student at Arizona Stage while Barry Fennelly, Maynooth University Golf Programme Manager, will be an Assistant Coach for the International side.

The remainder of the 24 player mixed International team will consist of 12 players selected using the APC Ranking (25 March), four additional committee / coach’s picks and the two winners of The R&A Student Tour Series Final on April 7.

Recent Palmer Cup representatives from Ireland include Julie McCarthy (2019), Ronan Mullarney (2018), Chloe Ryan (2018), Stuart Grehan (2016 and 2017), Gary Hurley (2013 and 2015) and Paul Dunne (2014).

Since its inception, over 100 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA Tour, European Tour or LPGA, 29 have represented Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and more than 60 have claimed over 240 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 12-10-1.

McCaughey whips up a storm for first 2020 win

Peter McCaughey, who was the form player in the Club heading into Christmas, notched up his first win of 2020 on Sunday when he won the 14 Hole Singles Stableford competition by the proverbial mile.

He won by five points after shooting an impressive 38pts over the 14 Holes with Charlie Monahan (10) edging out Anthony McGuinness (20) for second place after both had finished on 33pts.

Storm Jorge may have swept across the course the previous day but it was nothing compared to the whirlwind start that McCaughey, playing off 20, had. He had three successive three-point pars at the first, second and fifth before a birdie at the par five sixth gave him a four-point return and left him on 13pts after playing his opening four holes.

Three two-point returns saw him finish the outward journey on 19pts before he unleashed another whirlwind start to the final seven holes.

He had a three-point par at the 10th and then a four-point par at the index one 11th followed by a three-point par at the par five 12th. That 10pt haul was followed by two-point bogey on 13 before he fired in back to back three-point pars on the 14th and 17th.

He finished with a two-point bogey five on the last for an overall return of 39pts which was reduced to 38pts when some of his pre-Christmas exploits were factored in.

Paul O’Callaghan (10), Austin Carroll (12) and John Farrell (22) won the category prizes while Peter Rogers (2) returned the day’s best gross score of 27pts.

Sunday, March 1 – Men’s 14 Hole Singles Stableford Turkey Competition – Overall: Peter McCaughey (20) 38pts*, Charlie Monahan (10) 33/22pts, Anthony McGuinness (20) 33pts. Category 1 (0–11): Paul O’Callaghan (10) 32pts. Category 2 (12–16): Austin Carroll (12) 31pts*, Category 3 (17+): John Farrell (22) 32pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (2) 27/20pts. *Point deducted for each previous prize won in Turkey series.

Sally and Caroline win overall singles in The Spring League

Spring League, Overall Winner, Caroline Dunne, Sally McDonnell Overall Runner Up pictured with Sponsor Siobhan Rogers, Byrne and Maguire and Lady Captain Pauline Campbell.

Byrne and Maguire Sponsor Ladies Spring League

Spring League Team Winners
Back from left: Theresa Smyth, Oonagh Quinn, Maura Coyle, Bernadette Kearney, Teresa Connolly, Marcella Carr.
Front from left: Teresa Giff, Lady Captain Pauline Campbell, Sponsor, Siobhan Rogers, Byrne and Maguire, Elizabeth McGuinness, Marcella Ui Conluian.

Team of captains almost steals the day at Drive-In

The current captain and three former captains almost took the spoils in Sunday’s 14 Hole Champagne Team of Four competition which was held in conjunction with the annual Captain’s Drive-In ceremony.

The 2020 Captain Trevor Giff (9) partnered with Michael Coburn (10), Dessie Ward (13) and Pat Davis (16) to shoot 70pts in the sunshine over the 14 holes but they were well-beaten into second place by Adrian Kenny (16), Martin Cairns (16), Michael Brown (20) and Gregory McCaughey (6) who shot an excellent score of 74pts to take first prize.

Captain Trevor and Lady Captain Pauline Campbell then took centre-stage at 1pm when they followed a piper to the first tee for the traditional ceremonial drive-in watched by a large crowd of family, friends and members.

Once their tee-shots were dispatched, the second competition of the day, a Nine Hole Scotch Mixed Foursomes with a shotgun start was held and this time it was turn of Vice-Captains Eoin Doohan and Alison Quigley, playing alongside the two Captains, to grab the headlines.

After a double-bogey at the first, and playing off a combined nett handicap of 8.5, they shot a gross score of 36 over the front nine which included birdies at the par four third, the par five sixth and the par three ninth. That gave them a nett score of 27.5 and victory by a wide margin from Liam and Teresa O’Mahony (12.7) who shot 32.25 nett.

On the Back Nine victory went to Ciaran and Caroline Dunne who shot 32.5 nett to just pip Dave Dorr and Bernie Prendergast (10) by half-a-shot. The day’s play was followed by a presentation ceremony and music in the Clubhouse as the 2020 season begins to unfold.

Sunday, February 23 – Captains’ Drive-In 14 Hole Champagne Team of Four: 74pts* – Adrian Kenny (16), Martin Cairns (16), Michael Brown (20), Greg McCaughey (6). 70pts – Michael Coburn (10), Trevor Giff (9), Dessie Ward (13), Pat Davis (16)

Sunday, February 23 – Captains’ Drive-In Nine Hole Scotch Mixed Foursomes – Front Nine: 27.5 – Vice Captains Eoin Doohan & Alison Quigley (8.5), 32.25 – Liam & Teresa O’Mahony (12.7), 32.5 – Jim & Mary Burlingham (13). Back 9 – 32.5 – Ciaran & Caroline Dunne, 33 – Dave Dorr & Bernie Prendergast (10), 34 – M & M Browne (8).

Sun shines for Captains’ drive -in

Captain Trevor Giff and Lady Captain Pauline Campbell got the 2020 golf season underway at Dundalk Golf Club today when they held their Captain’s Drive-In watched by a large crowd of family, friends and Club members in the sunshine.

Click here to watch a video of what happened!

Captain Trevor Giff with Lady Captain Pauline Campbell at today’s Captains’ Drive-In

Rafferty finishes third in South African Strokeplay

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty continued his excellent start to the 2020 season with a third place finish at the South African Strokeplay Championship which was played over the Firethorn course at Randpark Golf Club, the venue for last month’s South African Open on the European Tour.

He went into the event after finishing sixth in the African Strokeplay Championship the previous week in what was his first tournament outing of the year and has returned home to Ireland full of optimism for the season ahead.

“It was a good two weeks down in South Africa. I didn’t really get off to a quick start in either of the events, I was a bit slow to get going and bit rusty after not playing a lot of golf. But, to be able to finish sixth and third having not really been on top of my game was really good. I certainly have a few positives to take out of it. In both tournaments, as the weeks went on, I played pretty good golf and last week I played really well in the final two rounds to get third place which was really nice.”

Rafferty opened with a two under par 70 in the first round at Randpark, shooting three birdies and a bogey, but despite being under par he found himself back in 16th place, six shots behind leader Jamie Wilson of Scotland. A one under par 71, courtesy of two birdies and one bogey, in the second round saw him fall ten shots behind the new leader, 16-year-old Casey Jarvis, but the failure of his Ireland team-mate, Tiarnan McLarnon, to make the cut reaped a rich dividend for Rafferty.

“Tiarnan caddied for me in the final two rounds and he was a great help through just simply talking about things. I saw the course in a different way with somebody else chipping in with their thoughts and that helped big time. We were communicating and going at it, taking shots on when we felt we could.”

Four birdies in the first five holes of the third round certainly cemented the partnership and when Rafferty claimed another birdie at the ninth, he found himself eight under for the tournament and heading back into contention. A bogey at the par five 11th threatened to upset the momentum but Rafferty reeled off back to back birdies at the 13th and 14th and then claimed his eighth birdie of the day at the par three 17th to finish with a seven under par 65 to move to 10 under.

That saw him leap up the leaderboard from T21 to fourth place and although leader Jarvis, with Nick Price’s former caddy on his bag, was eight shots ahead of him, Rafferty was only four strokes off second place.

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy seven-under but I hit it really close all day. I holed a couple of putts but nothing really too mad and I missed a couple of putts as well,” said Rafferty.

In the final round Rafferty didn’t get out of traps as fast as he would have liked and had only moved to 11 under by the turn after birdieing the fifth and ninth and bogeying the eighth. However, he did finish strongly and fired home four birdies in five holes from the 12th to move to 15 under with two holes to go.

That left him one shot adrift of Kyle de Beer who was in second place but Rafferty couldn’t bridge the gap to the South African and had to settled for third on 15 under as Jarvis romped to victory with an amazing final total of 25 under, having shot five birdies and an eagle in the final round.

“The scoring was outrageous in Randpark. They set the course up really well and set it in a way that you could make birdies if you hit it in the right places but you could still make bogies. It was a nice way to play a golf course that presented the chances when you put the ball in play and put the ball in position.”

Experience counts as Storm Dennis creates tricky conditions

Storm Dennis ensured there were tricky condition to test the field in last Sunday’s Four Man 14 Hole Scramble and in the end it was the experienced quartet of Pat Curran (14), Tadhg O’Sullivan (22), Andrew Shekleton (14) and Seamus Kelly (18) that prevailed.

The winners had just 0.3 of a shot to spare over the runners-up who were a formidable outfit themselves with two five handicappers in Conor McCaughey and Colin Roche as well as Martin Cairns (16) and Adrian Kenny (18).

The 14 Hole course did not include the third, fourth, 15th and 16th holes so after opening with two pars, the winners moved the par three fifth where Shekleton’s tee-shot set up their first birdie of the round. His tee-shot at the next, the par five sixth, also proved decisive in setting up another birdie and they then parred the next three holes to turn for home in 26.

It was O’Sullivan’s drive at the par five 10th that laid the foundation for their third birdie of the round and at the index one par four 11th it was off Curran’s drive that they delivered the fourth and final birdie of their round.

They then successfully negotiated the final five holes without dropping a shot to finished with a gross score of 52 which became a nett 43.5 after their team handicap of 8.5 was deducted. A previous success over the winter by Pat Curran saw 0.3 added to their score to leave them on 43.8 but it was still enough to denied McCaughey and his team-mates who finished on 44.1 after their various deduction.

Sunday, February 16 – Four Man 14 Hole Team Scramble: 43.8* – Pat Curran (14), Tadhg O’ Sullivan (22), Andrew Shekleton (14), Seamus Kelly (18). 44.1/29* – Conor McCaughey (5), Colin Roche (5), Martin Cairns (16), Adrian Kenny (18). * Reductions apply.