Rafferty makes international headlines at British Amateur

Caolan Rafferty

Dundalk Golf Club’s Caolan Rafferty made international headlines last week when he shot a course record 62 to finish as leading qualifier in the British Amateur Open.

A top class field of 288 of the world’s amateur players teed it up for a place in the matchplay stages of the championship and after carding a level par 70 at Royal St George’s in the first round, Rafferty found himself tied 83rd heading into his second round at nearby Prince’s Golf Club.

His round to remember began with a par before he eagled the par five second and then rolled in birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth holes turn for home on six under par after going out in 30.

The birdie putts continued to drop down the back nine as birdied 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15 and he looked set to at least match the all-time lowest score in the Amateur Championship under a bogey five at the last left Rafferty having to settle for a ten-under-par 62, a new course records at Prince’s and the prize for leading qualifier.

“The wind was up but everyone knows back home that I love the wind and playing links golf in the wind suits me right down to the ground,” said Rafferty. “It might be a bit of a graft when it comes to getting a score out of it but I just kept hitting it to ten to 12 feet and I couldn’t miss it.

“It was nice to finish as leading qualifier. The players in the British Amateur are the best of the best. They are the closest thing to professionals that we are going to see. To come out on top is always nice.”

In his opening matchplay round at Royal St George’s Rafftery has a comfortable 5&3 victory over David Ravetto of France as he continued the stunning form which saw him set that new course record at Prince’s.

That earned him a place in the last 32 against Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, who is ranked 24th in the world compared to Rafferty who went into the week ranked 514th. Rafferty was leading by one hole with one to play when thunder and lightning halted play for over two hours. When play resumed he lost the 18th and was then involved in a titantic struggle as the match went to the 25th hole before Tosti emerged as the winner,.

After reaching the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland Championship, finishing seventh in the Lytham Trophy and earning a golf scholarship to Maynooth University, this has been a good year so far for Rafferty and he will look forward to the upcoming major championships with confidence as he chases his dream of an Irish international call-up.


Record-breaking Rafferty is leading qualifier at British Amateur

Caolan Rafferty

Dundalk Golf Club’s Caolan Rafferty carded a ten-under-par 62 to finish as leading qualifier in the British Amateur Championship today and will face David Ravetto when the matchplay phase commences tomorrow at Royal St George.

Having carded level par 70 at Royal St George in the first qualifying round on Monday, Rafferty jumped from tied 83rd to top spot with his course record round at Prince’s. His 62 also matched the second lowest ever qualifying round in the British Amateur.

Rafferty, who finished tied seventh at the Lytham Trophy, eagled the par five second hole and reached the turn in six-under-par before going on a run of five birdies in six holes from the 10th. A bogey at the last, after finding a bunker, left the Dundalk golfer on ten-under- par.

“The wind was up today but everyone knows back home that I love the wind and playing links golf in the wind suits me right down to the ground,” said Rafferty. “It might be a bit of a graft when it comes to getting a score out of it but today I just kept hitting it to ten to 12 feet and I couldn’t miss it.

“It is nice to know that I am the leading qualifier in this field. The players are the best of the best. They are the closest thing to professionals that we are going to see. To come out on top is always nice.

“Match play is a funny game. You can play really poorly and win a match or you can play really well and lose a match. You just have to take it one step at a time in match play and not get down about it. I enjoy match play so I’m looking forward to it,” said Rafferty who reached the last eight at the West of Ireland Championship.


Walsh wins Greenore Junior Scratch Cup for third time

Clem Walshe

Clem Walshe has won the Greenore Junior Scratch Cup for the third time.

The four handicapper shot rounds of 75 and 78 for a 36 hole total of 153 to beat club colleague Kyle Rafferty by one shot after the teenager shot two rounds of 77.

Walshe and Peter Rogers also had a good run in the Ulster Seniors was played over Donegal Golf Club’s testing links at Murvagh.

The Dundalk pair both recorded top ten finishes and Rogers led after the first round of the 36 hole event as he shot four birdies in a one over par round 74.

However, defending champion Garth McGimpsey posted a 70 in the second round to retain the title and Rogers, who shot 79, had to settle for fifth place but had the consolation of winning his age category.

Walshe, with rounds of 77 and 78 took ninth place overall.


Cumiskey take route 66 to Professional’s Prize

The weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot at Dundalk Golf Club on Sunday as a few of the 187 strong field took full advantage of the good conditions to go low over the formidable blue course.

Fifteen handicapper Andrew Cumiskey emerged as the winner of Leslie Walker’s Professional’s Prize after shooting a six under par 66 while Aaron Grant (+1) took the Gross Prize with a two under par 70 and Denis Ryan (22) claimed the veteran’s prize with a 71. James Reillyu (26) won the Juvenile Prize.

After opening with a par, Cumiskey double bogeyed the second but got those shots back with back to back pars at the next two holes. A bogey at five was followed by a birdie at the par five sixth and pars at seven and eight. Bogeys at nine, 10 and 11 followed  by pars at 12, 13 and 14 before he took full advantage of his shots by bogeying his way home for a nett 66.

Dillon Green (7) also shot a 66 and that was good enough to take Category 1 by three shots from Barry Cunningham (8). Green’s round  included birdies at 5 and 11. Gerry O’Keefe (13) with a 67 won Category 2 by two shots from Noel Reid (16). Category Three was won by Caoimhin O’Callaghan (20) with 69 as Gavin McDonnell (19) produced  back to back birdies on 17 and 18 to slip into second with a 71.

Sunday, June 18 –  Professional’s Prize (Leslie Walker) – Winner:  Andrew Cumiskey (15) 66. Gross: Aaron Grant (+1) 70. Veteran: Denis Ryan (22) 71. Category 1: (+1-12) Dillon Greene (7) 66, Barry Cunningham (8) 69/34. Category 2: (13-18) Gerard O’Keefe (13) 67, Noel Reid (16) 69/35.  Category 3 (19-28): Caoimhin O’Callaghan (20) 69, Gavin McDonnell (19) 71/32.5. Juvenile: James Reilly (26) 78. CSS: 73.

Campbell masters conditions to win Lady Captain’s Prize to Men

Lady Captain Maeve Ahern’s Prize to the Men took place on Sunday with the gale force wind and the occasional torrential downpours making for testing conditions for the 180 players and the CSS of 73 reflected the difficulty.

With a noon tee-off time, Gerry Campbell was one of those who experienced the worst of the weather but it proved to be no deterrent as the 27 handicapper claimed overall victory with a nett 65 after making good use of his shots.

The key to his victory were the par threes which he covered in level par after birdieing the fifth, parring nine and 17 and bogeying 13. He also parred the par four 14th which was playing long into a gale force wind with the flag in a tricky position at the back of the green.

Campbell won by four shots from Danny Gallagher (69) who took second on county back from Pat Curran (13) and JP Gilbourne (11). Curran had the consolation of taking the Veteran’s Prize while Gilbourne won Cateogy 1.

Noel Reid (16) won Category 2 while Maeve’s husband Dermot (21) and brother-in-law Tim (27) finished first and second in Category 3 after both shot 71s. Terry Conlon (6) with a 76 had the best gross while James Reilly (28) with a 69 won the Juvenile Prize.

Junior Cup team reach Leinster Finals

Dundalk’s Junior Cup team are through to the Leinster Finals after coming through their area qualifier over the Bank Holiday weekend at Knightsbrook Golf Club where 15 clubs from North Leinster participated.

Dundalk’s panel consisted of Billy Cairns, Shane Hession, Conor McCaughey, Kyle Rafferty, Brian Renaghan, Ciaran Traynor and Clem Walshe and they showed tremendous battling qualities the two day event

The first day was the strokeplay qualifier which was played in blustery conditions and with four of the five cards to count Dundalk needed to be in the top four to qualify for Sunday’s matchplay play-off.

Dundalk returned a total of 318, which was three shots behind leading qualifiers, Co Louth, with Headford also posting 318 and Ashbourne taking the final play-off spot on 320.

Renaghan shot the lowest score of the day, a 77, with Hession 78, Traynor 82 and Walshe 81 completing the four counting cards for Dundalk.

The following day, pre-tournament favourites Co. Louth comfortably disposed of Ashbourne in the first semi-final winning their first three matches comfortably, with the other two being called in.

Playing Headfort in the other semi-final, Dundalk were soon involved in a marathon struggle. Renaghan and Traynor were beaten on the 16th and 18th respectively while Hession and teenager Kyle Rafferty were always in command of their respective matches, both winning on 17.

Headfort looked to be in control in the final match, but a fantastic comeback by Walshe over the closing holes saw him edge to victory by the narrowest of margins on the last green to send Dundalk into the final against their great rivals from Baltray.

Astute team placement by selector Peter Rogers proved to be a decisive factor as Dundalk came from behind to win the afternoon contest.

Billy Cairns and Ciaran Traynor were beaten in the first two matches with Traynor going down narrowly on the 18th. But, Shane Hession came out of the blocks like a whirlwind in the third match, firing three birdies in the first five holes, to leave his opponent on the back foot and he eventually closed out the match on the 16th.

Clem Walshe played his usual brand of steady reliable golf and was always in control in his match before finally winning on 15.

The deciding match came down to Kyle Rafferty, a nephew of Leinster Interpro Caolan, who was representing the club at senior level for the first time. Always behind in his match to a more seasoned opponent, and three down with six to play, Rafferty finally drew level on 17.

He then held his nerve on the difficult 18th hole to half and, as darkness beckoned, he closed out the match holing a five foot putt on the 19th to secure victory for Dundalk.

All roads now lead to Co Kilkenny this summer for Dundalk as the Junior Squad will contest the Leinster Finals in Callan Golf Club on July 29 and 30 while the Barton Shield team have already qualified for the Leinster Finals at Killkenny Golf  Club the previous weekend.

Barton Shield – Dundalk reach Leinster Finals

Dundalk have reached the Leinster finals of the Barton Shield which will take place in July in Kilkenny when the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will take place.
Over the weekend, Dundalk came through a tough qualifying section at Killeen Castle with included 11 clubs from the North East.
On Saturday Dundalk’s two foursomes pairings combined to top the strokeplay qualifying round. Young guns Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin shot a four under par 68 while Caolan Rafferty and Richard Newell went round in 73. That left Dundalk on 141, two shots ahead of Laytown & Bettystown with Co Louth(145) and Co Meath (147)
In the semi-final on Sunday morning, Dundalk faced Co Meath in a match that went to sudden death. Murphy and Mackin won their match 1up but Rafferty and Aaron Grant lost by one hole. The two experienced players faced the sudden death play-off and, after halving the first two holes, they finally got the job done on the 21st.
In the final on Sunday afternoon Grant and Rafferty won 1up and it was left to 16-year-old Mackin to sink a slippery 3ft downhill putt to secure a half and send Dundalk to the finals in Kilkenny where they are set to face Portmarnock in the last eight.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Rafferty and Grant. Both took part in the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Co Down but missed the cut when it fell after 54 holes. The previous weekend Rafferty had been the leading Irishman at the prestigous Lytham Trophy in England where finished an impressive seventh.

Other news

Peter Rogers flew the flag for Dundalk over the weekend at the Irish Amateur Seniors Open in Co Tipperary and secured a top 20 finish in the 54 hole event.
The Provincial Towns Cup team continued their progress with a comprehensive win over Bellewstown while in the Fred Daly Trophy there was a 4-1 victory over Laytown & Bettystown and a 3.5 to 1.5 win over Donabate. Next up are Ardee this Friday. The U15 Inter-club team are due to face Seapoint in their next round after a 4-1 win over Co Louth. However, there was disappointment for the Newsam Cup team who lost to Summerhill and the North Leinster Mixed team who fell to Laytown & Bettystown.
The deadlines for the completion of the current rounds of the Mixed Foursomes and Gold Medal matchplay competitions have been extended by one week to May 29.

Open Week

The first Open Week of the season proved to be very successful with many visitors availing of the opportunity to test themselves over the revamped layout which is bedding in well and has attracted a lot of favourable comment.
The week finished on Sunday with a Singles Stableford competition which was won by Greg McCaughey (10). He shot 41pts and took top prize on countback from Stephen English (12) with Stephen Haughey (16) a further shot back.
Saturday’s Fourball Stableford resulted in a win for Clem Walshe (4) and Paul O’Reilly (16) while Thursday’s Team Event was won by Gerry O’Keeffe, Declan Muckian, Danny Kelleher and C Costelloe.
Conor Curran (3) with 40pts won Wednesday’s Singles Stableford and Dessie Ward (14) won on Monday with 41pts.
The most notable feats of the week went to long-time member Donal Cotter who claimed the first hole-in-one of his career on Wednesday when he aced the par three 5th, this was matched by Ruairi O Connor who had a hole-in-one at the 13th on Thursday .
Many thanks to all the businesses who so generously sponsored the Open Week competitions.
Sunday, May 21 – Open Singles Stableford sponsored by Specsavers – Overall: Gregory McCaughey (10) 41/24pts, Stephen English (12) 41, Stephen Haughey (16) 40/21/13/7. Gross: Brendan Lawlor (3) 35pts. Category 1 (+1 to 11): Martin Crosby (8) 39pts. Category 2 (12-16): Phil Holland (12) 37/20pts. Category 3 (17-28): Eamonn Arthur (21) 40pts. Juvenile: Zak Alderdice (15) 40pts. CSS: 36pts.
Saturday, May 20 – Fourball Stableford sponsored by National Tile – Clem Walshe (4) & Paul O’Reilly (16) 46/25pts, John McKeever (12) & JP Casey (16) 46/23/18pts, J Sheridan (11, Gorey) & Eddie Sheridan (13) 46pts.
Thursday, May 18 – Four Man Team Event – sponsored by Flanagan Motors – 92pts: Gerry O’Keeffe (13), Declan Muckian (14), Danny Kelleher (10), C Costelloe (7). 90pts: Dessie Ward (13), Declan Ward (20), Ollie English (12), Gareth Duffy (5).
Wednesday, May 17 – Open Singles Stableford sponsored by McCaughey Homes – Overall: Conor Curran (3) 40pts, Ciaran Daly (18) 39/20, Martin Mills (12, Mannan Castle) 39/20/13/6pts. Gross: Caolan Rafferty (+3) 39pts. Category 1: Neil Murphy (9) 39pts. Category 2: Bernard Crombie (14) 38pts. Category 3: G Rice (28, Enniscorthy) 38/19pts. CSS 36pts.
Monday, May 15 – Open Singles Stableford sponsored by The Bayview Lounge and Bar – Overall: Dessie Ward (14) 41pts, Michael O Keeffe (17) 39/19/11/5, Jim Rowland (12) 39pts. Seniors Prize (Over 50): Declan Muckian (15) 39/19/13pts. Best Gross: Jim Caraher (7) 29/14. CSS 37pts.

Duffy wins Junior Scratch Cup by one shot

Garrett Duffy won the Dundalk Junior Scratch Cup, sponsored by DAR Golf, on Sunday by one shot from Ciaran Traynor with Clem Walshe a shot further back in third place.


Duffy, who plays off five, produced rounds of 78 and 75 for a total of 153 on a day when the weather was varied with morning sunshine for the opening round making way for periods of heavy rain during the second circuit.


After inauspicious start with a double bogey on the opening hole, Duffy dropped three more shots over the par five sixth and seventh to turn in 41. However, he managed to cover the back nine in 37 shots as birdies at the 10th and 14th took the sting out of further bogeys at 11, 12 and 17.


That left Duffy on 78, three adrift of first round leader Joe McArdle from Ardee who shot 75. Traynor, who plays off seven, opened with a 79 and was lying one shot behind Duffy as they teed up for the second round.


Duffy’s hopes seemed to be fading after the first three holes of the final round as he opened with three straight bogeys and although he birdied the index one par four fourth he then went and double-bogeyed the par three fifth.


Another birdie followed at the sixth and three pars ensured he turned for home with a chance after covering the opening nine in 39. A birdie at 10 was followed by bogeys at 11 and 14 but he birdied 16 to get back to level par for the back nine and managed to par the final two holes for a homeward nine of 36, a second round score of 75 and an overall total of 153.


When the dust settled, it proved to be just enough. Traynor matched Duffy’s second round 75 but came up short by one shot while Walshe, who had shot 77 in the first round, could only manage a 78 in the second.


Sunday, May 14 – Dundalk Junior Scratch Cup, Sponsored by DAR Golf – Overall – 153: Garrett Duffy (5) 78, 75. 154: Ciaran Traynor (7) 79, 75. 155: Clem Walshe (4) 77, 78. 156: Paul Reilly (5, Co Louth) 77,79. Best Nett: 145 – J K Cohalan (6, Ballybunion) 75,70. First 18 Gross: Joe McArdle (5, Ardee) 75. First 18 Nett: Ciaran Sheridan (5) 71/34.5. Second 18 Gross: John Oster (4, Laytown & Bettystown) 77. Second 18 Nett: Damian English (10) 68. First Round CSS: 73 (Home), 74 (Away). Second Round CSS: 73 (Home), 74 (Away).




McCaughey shines in Carolan Cup qualifier

The sun wasn’t the only thing to shine at Dundalk on Sunday as Martin McCaughey led home the 16 qualifiers for the matchplay stage of the Carolan Cup,

This was the third Golfer of the Year competition of the season and 168 players teed it up on a beautiful day over the demanding blue course.

Playing off 22, McCaughey produced a solid round that included one birdie, six pars, five bogeys and six double-bogeys as he recorded a nett 67, five under par. The birdie came at the par three fifth, while his six pars were at the fourth, sixth, 10th, 13th, 14th and 17th.

The foundation for McCaughey’s victory came at the par-threes where he had a birdie, two pars and bogey to cover them in gross level par.

McCaughey’s reward for finishing as best qualifier is a meeting with 13 handicapper Seamus Bailey in the first round of the matchplay while the only two single figure handicap players to make the last 16 were Ultan Gaughran (9) and teenager Sean Laverty (4).

The full first round draw is: Andrew Brodigan (12) v Ken Lynch (12), Ultan Gaughran (9) v Richard Barry (11), Dennis Cunningham (10) v Kevin Keenan (12), Seamus Bailey (13) v Sean Laverty (4), Paddy Duffy (13) v Martin McCaughey (22), Jim Burlingham (28) v Gavin McDonnell (19), Tommy Reneghan (13) v Tadhg O’Sullivan (21), Michael Byrne (21) v Ray Pepper  (20).

Sunday, May 7 – Carolan Cup – Leading Qualifier: Martin McCaughey (22) 67. Scores to 73/35/22.33 qualified for Matchplay Stage. CSS: 74

Hanratty takes Paddy Markey Cup

A very early tee-time and a strong start laid the foundations for the nine handicapper’s excellent round. After bogeying the first, he scored four at each of the next five holes which yielded a birdie, three pars and a bogey. Another par followed at the par-five seventh and although he double-bogeyed the eighth he parred the ninth for an opening nine of 34 nett.Another birdie followed at the par-five 10th which was followed by a par four at the 11th. There were further pars at the 14th, 16th and 17th and bogeys at 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th as he completed the back nine in 35 nett.

His early score survived the rest of the day with Paul Lynch (22) coming closest to threatening Hanratty but he came up short after posting a 70,

Len Mullins (16), another of the early starters, took the Veteran’s Prize after posting a 73. Peter Rogers (2) claimed the Gross Prize with a find level par round of 72 while the category prizes were won by Clem Walshe (4), Kieran Arthurs (12) and Diarmuid McAdams (23). Iarlaith Carroll (19) with a 68 was the best of the juveniles.

Sunday, April 30 – Paddy Markey and Veterans Prize – Overall: Eugene Hanratty (9) 69, Paul Lynch (22) 70. Veteran’s Prize: Len Mullins (16) 73. Gross Prize: Peter Rogers (2) 72. Category 1 (0-11): Clem Walshe (4) 71, Christy Ward (9) 72/36.5. Category 2 (12-17): Kieran Arthurs (12) 72. Joseph Laverty (12) 73/36.5. Category 3 (18-28): Diarmuid McAdams (23) 71. Ray Pepper (20) 72. Juvenile: Iarlaith Carroll (19) 68. CSS: 73.