Rafferty finishes third in East of Ireland

Caolan Rafferty went very close to capturing his first golfing major over the June Bank Holiday weekend when he finished third at the East of Ireland Championship at Co Louth Golf Club.

The Dundalk Golf Club player shot rounds of 69, 69, 66 and 73 to finish on 11 under par, three shots behind the winner Christo Lamprecht from South Africa.

Two steady three-under-par rounds of 69 left Rafferty on six-under par and tied for fourth, four shots off the lead, heading into the final two rounds on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Rafferty then produced a magnificent six-under-par 66 in the third round to moved up to joint second and close the gap on Lamprecht to one shot with 18 holes to play.

The news that he was in contention travelled fast and a large crowd made its way to Baltray for the afternoon round in the hope of seeing a Dundalk member win the East of Ireland for the first time since Mick Ferguson in 1949.

After three putting the opening hole for bogey, Rafferty soon settled down and birdies at the third, fourth and sixth moved him to 14 under. With the South African teenager having dropped shots at the second and fifth, Rafferty found himself leading the Championship with 11 holes to go.

However, a wayward tee shot on the eight found a deep fairway bunker on the right from which he could only pitch out and although he hit a glorious approach shot to within 15 feet of the pin he shaved the hole with his par-saving putt.

That left him tied for the lead but back to back bogeys on the 10th and 11th from the middle of the fairway saw him drop to 11-under and although he parred his way in, he couldn’t find the birdies he badly needed to haul the South African in.

To compound his disappointment Rafferty was pipped for second place by Mark Power who finished on 12-under thanks to three brides on the last six holes.

Nonetheless, it was a great performance from Rafferty, his best ever in one of the GUI’s major tournaments, and suggests that his day is not too far away at this stage.

His Dundalk team-mate, Aaron Grant failed to make the final day after a second round 81 undid his excellent score of 72 in the opening round. A triple bogey six at the par three seventh, when he was lying level par for the tournament, followed by bogeys at the next two holes proved to be his undoing.

Rafferty then headed to Scotland for the St Andrews Links Trophy which took place over the weekend but rounds of 73 and 74 saw him miss the cut, which fell at one-over par, by three shots

 

 

Dundalk reach Barton Shield quarter-finals

Barton Shield squad

Dundalk Golf Club have reached the last eight of the Leinster section of the Barton Shield for the second successive year after some superb performances at Balcarrick Golf Club over the weekend.

After qualifying in second place behind Portmarnock on Saturday, Dundalk then beat Greenore and Royal Dublin in Sunday’s matchplay ties to advance to the Leinster Finals which will take place in Mount Wolseley on the weekend of July 20 and 21.

With recently crowned club champion Caolan Rafferty away on international duty in France with Ireland, Dundalk managers Alan McCabe, John Conlon and Fergal Harte looked to Conor Curran to step up to the plate and he didn’t disappoint.

Curran partnered Irish Boys international Eoin Murphy while the experienced Aaron Grant was paired with the club’s other Boys International, Josh Mackin for the foursomes event.

Both pairings shot rounds of 76 as Dundalk finished three shots behind Portmarnock in qualifying but well inside the qualifying mark of 160 from which the field of 25 clubs was whittled down to eight for the matchplay phase where two clubs would qualify for the Leinster finals.

On Sunday morning, Dundalk faced neighbours Greenore and beat them by four holes with Murphy and Curran winning by one hole while Grant and Mackin were 3up when they were called in, having been all square at the turn.

That earned the team an afternoon match against Royal Dublin for a place in Mount Wolseley in July and things didn’t look good in the top match early on as Murphy and Curran found themselves two down but birdies on seven and 11 brought them back to all square.

They went behind again when they lost the 15th but came good in the end by winning the final two holes to win their match 1up.

Grant and Mackin got their noses in front early on by sinking birdie putts to win two of the first three holes and they then won the 10th and the 11th to extend their lead to four holes with seven to play.

They were still four ahead with four to play but then saw their lead halved when Royal Dublin won the 15th and 16th but a half on the 17th ensured a two hole victory as the match was called in once Murphy and Curran had got over the line up ahead.

Next up for Dundalk’s elite squad will be the Senior Cup qualifier on June 23 in Laytown & Bettystown when the format will be five singles matches.

Dundalk’s elite ladies were also in action on the Donabate peninsula on Sunday as they faced a Senior Foursomes qualifier along with 11 other clubs at Donabate Golf Club and were unlucky to encounter the worst of the heavy rain which fell in the Fingal area during the afternoon.

The team of Jennifer Holland, Criona O’Reilly, Jacinta Foran, Elaine Ward, Ann Hopper and Pauline Campbell missed out by two shots on qualifying for the next phase of the competition,

The JB Carr Diamond Trophy Team went down fighting as they tried in vain to overhaul a 0-5 deficit when they faced Greenore in the second leg of the Co Louth on the Cooley Peninsula last Friday. Despite giving from one to three shots to their opponents in each of their matches, the Dundalk pairings were two up in two matches and level in two others when they were called in after Greenore got the point they needed for overall victory with a 3&2 win as they closed out the top match on the 16th hole.

The inter-club competitions continue this week with all eyes on the All-Ireland Fourball team who meet Headfort on Saturday in the last 16 of the Leinster section. Three of the matches are in Kells with the other two in Dundalk.

 

Ladies Senior Foursomes team

 

 

Rafferty regains Club Championship

Caolan Rafferty

 

Caolan Rafferty regained the Club Championship on Saturday when shot a seven under par total of 137 to win the 36 hole event by nine shots from fellow plus player Aaron Grant.

Rafferty, who plays off plus four, shot a bogey free five under par 67 in his morning round and was four under par and bogey free after 15 holes of his second round before three putting the 16th and 17th and finishing with a two under par 70.

“After going for 33 holes without a bogey I was really disappointed to let it slip with three holes to go as I was trying to get around again in the afternoon without a bogey,” said Rafferty, who is currently finishing off his first year exams at Maynooth University before heading to Royal County Down on Thursday for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open and the start of a busy period of tournament golf at home and abroad.

Aaron Grant, who is now off plus three, was battling a head cold as well as the course and in the circumstances did remarkably well to produce two rounds of 73 to take second place. Conor Curran (2) took the best nett with a score of 145 after nett rounds of 73 and 72.

Saturday, May 12 – Club Championship (36 Holes): 137 – Caolan Rafferty (+4) 137 (67, 70), 146 – Aaron Grant (+3) 146 (73, 73). Best Nett: Conor Curran (2) 145 (73,72). CSS: 73 (Round 1), 76 (Round 2).

 

Top 15 finishes for Grant and Rafferty

Aaron Grant

Aaron Grant tied 11th at Munster Strokeplay Championship in Cork Golf Club after being one shot off the lead at the halfway stage of the 72 hole tournament,. He shot rounds of 70, 73, 75 and 73 for a three over par total of 291 and finished nine shots behind the winner Alan Fahy,

Caolan Rafferty tied 14th at Lytham Trophy and finished as the leading Irishman. After opening with a one under par 69 to lie two shots off the lead, Rafferty shot rounds of 73, 72 and 76 to finish on nine over with the winner, England’s Matthew Jordan, being the only player to finish under par.

Caolan Rafferty

 

 

 

 

Campbell wins One Finance Dundalk Scratch Cup

Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell receives the Dundalk Scratch Cup from Martin McDonnell of One Finance and Dundalk Club Captain Michael Coburn

 

Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell produced a superb second round to win the 36 hole One Finance Dundalk Scratch Cup at Dundalk Golf Club.

The 30-year-old Irish international shot a five under par 67 to pip Masserene’s Tiarnan McLarnon on countback after the two Ulster players were tied on 138, six under par, with the defending champion, Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty, two shots further back in third.

The three internationals had played together in the marquee group and were very much in contention after the opening round when Rafferty and McLarnon had shot two under par 70s and Campbell was a shot further back.

Slieve Russell’s Seamus Cullen led after the round following his excellent four under par 68 which included five birdies and he led by one shot from Boys International Eoin Murphy of Dundalk who had also shot five birdies in compiling his three under par round of 69.

Cullen was unable to keep the momentum going and dropped out of contention after a second round 76 while a lost ball off the 15th tee saw the end of Murphy’s challenge as he faded to a 77.

It was another Dundalk player, former winner and course record holder Aaron Grant, who set the early club house lead as he added a three under par 69 to his opening 73 for a two under par total of 142.

Cairndhu’s Ryan McKinstry, who started the second round at level par, got to six under with three to play but he then double-bogeyed 16 and bogeyed 17 to finish on three-under.

He held the clubhouse lead momentarily as the top three were in the group behind and were producing fireworks of their own with McLarnon eagling the par five sixth to go to four under and a back to back birdies on the ninth and tenth plus a birdie three on the 14th got him to seven under while Campbell was on six under at that points after five birdies of his own.

Not to be outdone, Rafferty had thrown in four successive birdies from the sixth but back to back double bogeys at the 11th and 12th ended his charge.

A bogey at 16th saw McLarnon drop back to six under while a birdie two at 17th got Campbell to six under and in the end it proved decisive as Campbell’s second round 67 was enough for him to pip McLarnon’s 68 on countback as they both tied on 138.

“It was a good battle coming down the last few holes with Tiarnan and I just pipped him,” said Campbell afterwards. “I feel I have robbed Tiarnan a couple of times in Scratch Cups at this stage.”

Runner-up Tiarnan McLarnon with Martin McDonnell of One Finance and Club Captain Michael Coburn

Caolan Rafferty, who finished third, with Martin McDonnell of One Finance and Club Captain Michael Coburn

Dundalk Scratch Cup sponsored by One Finance

138 – Colin Campbell (Warrenpoint) 71, 67; Tiarnan McLarnon (Masserene) 70, 68 (Campbell wins on countback).

140 – Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 70, 70

141 – Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu) 72, 69

142 – Aaron Grant (Dundalk) 73, 69, Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) 72, 70

144 – Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell) 68, 76; Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) 73, 71; Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) 71, 73; Darragh Coghlan (Portmarnock) 72, 72; Glenn McAuley (Dunmurry) 71, 73.

146 – Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock) 73, 73; Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) 79, 67; Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 69, 77;

147 – Josh Robinson (Lisburn) 72, 75

148 – Brendan Lawlor (Ardee) 75, 73; Jonathan Kelly (Athy) 72, 76.

149 – Ross Kelly (Tuam) 77, 72

150 – Thomas Pepper (Mannan Castle) 77, 73; Eoin O’Brien (Clontarf) 74, 76; Liam Grehan (Mullingar) 76, 74; Philip Kelly (Armagh) 74, 76; Alex Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 73, 77; Jack Shellard (Lisburn) 75, 75; David Kitt (Athenry) 75, 75, Robert Brown (Castle) 77, 73

151 – Dan Coyle (Portmarnock) 76, 75; Evan Farrell (Ardee) 73, 78; James Temple (Portmarnock) 73, 78, Colin Kenny (Portmarnock) 75, 76

152 – Robert Costello (Headford) 75, 77; William Eickholt (Portmarnock) 76, 76;

153 – Kyle Patton (Lisburn) 78,75; James Lawlor (Naas) 75

154 – Conor Curran (Dundalk) 75,79; Maurice Murphy (Dundalk) 77, 77; Peter Rogers (Dundalk) 77,77; Jamal Sabir (Moate) 77, 77, Dara Smith (Castle) 77, 77.

155 – Sean Laverty (Dundalk) 74, 81; Shane Hession (Dundalk) 74, 81.

156 – Nick Armstrong (Castle) 76, 80; Gerard Brennan (Dundalk) 78, 78

157 – Andrew Keenan (Dundalk) 79, 78, Luka Keyes (Dun Laoghaire) 80, 77

158 – Richard Newell (Dundalk) 79, 79; Andrew Montgomery (Old Conna) 77,

159 – Emmet O’Neill (Trim) 83, 76; Fionntan Lawlor (Dundalk) 80, 79, Christopher Morgan (Dunmurry) 82, 77

161 – Kyle Rafferty (Dundalk) 83, 78

163 – Shane Corr (Mannan Castle) 82, 81

165 – Senan Kavanagh (Borris) 81, 84

175 – Neal McKell (Dundalk) 91, 84

DQ – Edward Rogers (Dundalk) 76, 87; Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) 79, 67; Evan Shipp (Headford) 83, 77

RTD – Ryan Symington (Lisburn) 74, RTD; Colin Pilkington (Cloverhill) 74, RTD; Cian Dullaghan (Greenore) 77, RTD; Andrew Montgomery (Old Conna) 77, RTD; Chris Cullen (Beaverstown) 78, RTD; Christopher Moulds (Lisburn) 78, RTD; David Pilkington (Cloverhill) 78, RTD; Lee Campbell (Armagh) 79, RTD; Clem Walshe (Dundalk) 80, RTD;  Alex Hanneffy (Mannan Castle) 82, RTD; Josh Mackin (Dundalk) RTD, RTD;

CSS: 73 (Round 1), 73 (Round 2).

Detailed Results:

Sunday, September 17 – Dundalk Senior Scratch Cup sponsored by One Finance – 1st               Colm Campbell Jr. (+3) (Warrenpoint) 138/67 (71/67).  2nd Tiernan  McLarnon (+3) (Masserence) 138 (70/68). 3rd Caolan Rafferty (+4) (Dundalk) 140 (70/70). 4th Ryan McKinstry (+1) (Cairndhu) 141 (72/69). Best Nett: Brendan Lawlor (2) (Ardee) 144 (73/71). 1st 18  Gross: Seamus Cullen (0) (Slieve Russell) 68. 1st 18 Nett: Eoin Murphy (1) (Dundalk) 68. 2nd  18  Gross: Aaron Marshall (0) (Lisburn) 67. 2nd  18  Nett: Gerard Dunne (+2) (Co Louth) 69. 1st  Round CSS 73, 2nd Round CSS 73.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st  Round CSS 73

2nd Round CSS 73

 

 

Top class field assembled for Dundalk Scratch Cup

A top class field has been assembled for the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup which takes place this Sunday (September 17) over 36 holes at Dundalk Golf Club.

It includes a host of top players including the recent winner of the Irish Close Championship Jamie Fletcher from Warrenpoint and the player he beat in the final, Athenry teenager David Kitt,

Over 25 plus-handicap players will tee it up over Dundalk’s testing championship course including defending champion Caolan Rafferty who will lead a formidable home challenge that includes course record holder and former winner Aaron Grant, Boys internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin, and veteran stalwart Peter Rogers and another former local winner, Dan Coyle.

Tiarnan McLarnon, who partnered Rafferty to success in Colombia last week, is also in the high-quality field along with the likes of Colm Campbell, Jack Doherty, Aaron Marshall, Ross Kelly Eugene Smith and Geoff Lenehan.

The greenkeeping staff at the Dundalk have been working hard over the last few weeks to have the course in top shape for Sunday and club professional Leslie Walker believes that the course record of 64, which was recently set by Grant, could be under threat.

“With the quality of the field and the course set-up, I’m looking forward to a low-scoring event and I think it will be a great opportunity to see some of the top amateur players in action,” said Walker.

Rafferty, who is the defending champion, says he would love to retain his title after an amazing season which has seen him win the silver medal for leading qualifier at the British Amateur and North of Ireland Championships as well as helping Ireland to victory in the Home Internationals and the Copa Fedegolf in Colombia where he also won the individual event.

“It was a big breakthrough for me last year when I won it and I am delighted that I kicked-on after that. I’d love to retain the title but I know that it’s not going to be easy looking at the quality of the field. Hopefully local knowledge will count for something!” said Rafferty who will spend this week playing for Maynooth University at the European University Championships in Prague.

This year’s event has a new sponsor in One Finance and Club Captain Mickey Coburn said it is great to have them on board.

“We are delighted to welcome on board One Finance as the new sponsors of the Scratch Cup and look forward to working with them to consolidate the competition’s status as one of the top 36 hole senior scratch cups in Ireland.

The Dundalk Scratch Cup commenced in 1963 when it was won by David Sheahan and previous champions include three-times Major winner and European Ryder Cup player Padraig Harrington.

PHOTO: Pictured at the launch of the 2017 Dundalk Scratch Cup sponsored by One Finance were (from left): Leslie Walker (Club Professional), Niall McDonnell (One Finance), Caolan Rafferty (Current Holder) and Dundalk Golf Club Captain Mickey Coburn.

 

 

Entries open for Dundalk Scratch Cup

Entries are now being accepted for the 36 hole Dundalk Scratch Cup, sponsored by One Finance, which will be played at Dundalk Golf Club on Sunday, September 17.

Irish international Caolan Rafferty will defend the title he won for the first time last year and there will be a special prize for anybody who beats the course record of 64 which was recently set by another former Scratch Cup winner Aaron Grant..

Grant and Rafferty will lead the challenge from the home club along with Boys internationals Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin,.

Entries can be submitted to the Pro Shop at Dundalk Golf Club on +353 42-9322102.

 

New course record and Club Championship for Grant

Aaron Grant

Aaron Grant set a new course record on his way to winning the Club Championship on Saturday.

The plus one handicapper shot a bogey free eight under par 64 in the first round of the 36 hole event and a level par second round saw him finish on eight under and five shots ahead of Caolan Rafferty.

Grant ‘s new course record included back to back birdies at the second and third and he also birdied the par five sixth and seventh to turn in 32. Birdies followed at 10 and 11 before he recorded his only five of the day when he parred the 12th. Another birdie at the 15th took him to seven under and he finished his record breaking round with his eighth birdie at the last.

Rafferty, who teed it up after spending five days at the North of Ireland Championship, shot a two-under par 70 in the opening round to lie six shots behind Grant and conditions got tougher for the afternoon ‘s second round as a strong south westerly wind swept across the course,.

That suited Grant and he posted a level par 72 to set a target of eight under for the chasers. Grant’s second round included four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Rafferty was only able to reduce the deficit by one shot after a one under par 71 but it was good enough to claim runners-up spot.

Grant and Rafferty will now turn their attentions to this week’s Barton Shield Leinster Finals in Kilkenny as the club bids for its first provincial pennant in this inter-club competition for elite golfers. Eoin Murphy, Josh Mackin and Richie Newell are the other players who have featured on the journey to this stage and managers Alan McCabe and John Conlon were interested spectators as Saturday’s Club Championship unfolded.  Dundalk will face Portmanrock in Friday’s quarter-final with the semi-final scheduled for the afternoon and the final taking place on Saturday.

Saturday, July 15 – Club Championship: 136 – Aaron Grant (+1) (64,72). 141 – Caolan Rafferty  (+4) (70,71). Best Nett: 139 – Conall Murdock (9) (70,69). CSS Round 1: 73,
CSS Round 2: 74.