Spanish heartbreak for Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty

CAOLAN Rafferty discovered just how fine the margins can be in elite golf when he took part in the Spanish Amateur Open in La Manga at the beginning of this month.

Rafferty shot two rounds of 77 in qualifying to finish tied for 32nd but missed out on being one of the 32 players who advanced to the matchplay stages on a 27 hole countback.

The player who pipped the Dundalk man to the final place was England’s Billy McKenzie who went on to make his way through the five rounds of matchplay to take the title.

Rafferty, who now ranked 15th in Europe and 165th in the World, will miss the West of Ireland Championship in Rosses Point over Easter as he is heading to St Andrews with Maynooth University for the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament.

ENDS

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.

 

Rafferty receives honorary membership after international breakthrough

Caolan Rafferty

IRISH international Caolan Rafferty has received honorary membership of Dundalk Golf Club after he became only the sixth player from the club to make a senior international appearance.

Rafferty made his international debut at the Home Internationals in August and finished as the competition’s top scorer with five points out of six as he made a significant contribution to Ireland retaining the trophy for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time.

Rafferty has followed in the footsteps of Walter J Carroll, Charles A Carroll, Mick Ferguson and Barry Donnellan, who were Dundalk’s previous senior men’s internationals, and Yvonne Cassidy who was a ladies international.

“This year was a tremendous one for Dundalk Golf Club as we produced three internationals,” said outgoing Captain Michal Coburn. “Eoin Murphy and Josh Mackin played for the U18 and U16 teams respectively while Caolan bridged a 65 year gap to our last men’s senior international. Everybody in the club is very proud of what Caolan has achieved this year. He is a great inspiration to everybody in Dundalk.”

Rafferty admitted he was honoured to receive such a special recognition from a club that has already given him tremendous support.

“It’s not something that is easily got so it is a huge honour for me to receive it. I really appreciate everything the club has done for me. They have helped me to play in tournaments here and in Britain and all the members have been following my progress very closely. It’s great to come back to the club and have people asking you about the championship you have just played in,” said Rafferty.

Rafferty has certainly had a year to remember and there have been no shortage of highlights for the 25-year-old who recently won the Irish Universities Championship at Enniscrone while also helping Maynooth University, where he is a Harrington Scholar, to third place in European Universities Championship in the Czech Republic.

His other big individual win of the year was in Colomiba at the Fedegolf Championship where he also partnered Tiarnan McLarnon to victory in the Team Event. That was his first big win as an elite golfer and he admits it is a big breakthrough.

“I’ve won a few Scratch Cups but Colombia was the first big competition I have won. To also win the team competition was special as it was the first time a team from Britain or Ireland had won it. I went on and won the Irish Universities and now I am looking forward to next year and trying to win one of the major Championships. It would mean a lot to me to bring one of those trophies back to Dundalk.”

Rafferty also claimed leading qualifier honours and course records at two of the biggest championships during the year. At the British Amateur Championship he led home 280 of the world’s top amateur players and also managed to set a new course record over the Princes course. He repeated the feat at the North of Ireland Championship where he set a new mark for the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush and then reached the semi-final of the Championship itself.

He also reached the quarter-finals of the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close and finished 10th at the East of Ireland. There was a seventh place at the Lytham Trophy in England, a second place in the Laytown & Betystown Scratch Cup and a third place in a spirited defence of the Dundalk Scratch Cup behind international colleagues Colin Campbell and Tiarnan McLarnon.

As well as helping Ireland to victory in the Home Internationals, Rafferty also led Leinster to a three-in-a-row in the Interprovincial Championships where he finished as top scorer winning 5.5pts out of a possible six.

Not surprisingly, Rafferty won the Leinster Senior Order of Merit to round off a memorable year and he realises it is going to tough to match those achievements in 2018.

“Obviously I want to do well in the major championships and I want to keep my place on the Ireland panel and make the Home International team again. The Eisenhower Trophy is being played at Carton House in September so making that three man team is a target as well.

“I also want to win a pennant with Dundalk. We have some good young lads coming through and we are all determined to do something with the club.”

Having just recovered from a rib injury sustained in a freak accident, Rafferty is currently preparing for 2018 in Maynooth University where he has just started studying Business Management.

“I am really enjoying it and Barry Fennelly has been a big help to me. We have got access to physios and psychologists and I am also in gym and doing things like yoga. I am fully focused on my studies and my amateur career for the next three years. After that we’ll see what happens.”

 

 

Rafferty wins Leinster Senior Order of Merit

Caolan Rafferty’s great season was recognised by Leinster Golf at their Annual Delegate Meeting recently when he received the Senior Order of Merit Award.

PHOTO: Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty (Senior winner, far right) pictured with the other Leinster Golf Order of Merit Winners (from left) Joseph Byrne (U14), Alex Maguire (U16), Charlie Denvir (U18).

Rafferty claims Irish Intervarsity Championship

Caolan Rafferty has finished off what has been an unforgettable year by winning the Irish Intervaristy Championship at Enniscrone.

After opening with a 78 to lie four shots off the lead, Rafferty put himself right in the mix with a four under par second round 69 and a final round 75 left him with one shot to spare on three over from his playing partner and Maynooth University team-mate, Eugene Smith of Laytown & Bettystown.

Rafferty is among seven members of the GUI Senior Panel who have been selected to travel to PGA Catalunya Resort, Girona, Spain on November 28 for a four-day coaching session with national coach Neil Manchip. The group also includes Colm Campbell and Tiarnán McLarnon who were winner and runner-up respectively in this year’s Dundalk Scratch Cup.

Rafferty is also part of an eight strong Ireland squad that has been selected to compete at the South African Stroke Play Championship at Pecanwood Golf Club from February 6 to 9 and the African Amateur Championship at Glendower Golf Club from February 13 to 16.

 

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.

 

 

Double victory for Rafferty in Colombia

Caolan Rafferty and Tiarnan McLarnon

Caolan Rafferty and Tiarnan McLarnon

There was double success for Caolan Rafferty at the Copa Fedegolf at Barranquilla Country Club in Colombia.

Rafferty and partner Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene Golf Club came from behind to win the Copa Fedegolf team event for Ireland by 12 strokes.

Rafferty also shot a 66 in the final round to win the individual title by one shot.

Ireland went into the final round one stroke behind Argentina’s Sebastian Bergagna and Horacio Carbonetti in the team standings.

They were three behind Bergagna and Carbonetti after six holes but then moved up a gear to take the team title with a final score of one-under 575.

“It was good,” Rafferty told irishgolfdesk.com. “The key was that we both played solid because it isn’t easy to get two lads shooting good scores for four rounds.

“Most of the other teams had one good and one poor score each round.”

In the individual competition, Rafferty was three strokes behind Chile’s Lucas Rosso with a round to play after rounds of 75, 69 and 70 but closed with a six under 66, finishing with a birdie at the last to edge out his rival by one stroke, finishing on eight-under 280.

“I played really well,” Rafferty said. “I missed a lot of putts over the week with the greens being so different.”

McLarnon was eighth on 221 through 54 holes after 74, 72 and 75, then closed with a 74 to finish sixth on seven-over.

Rafferty heads to the European University Championships in Prague next week before defending the Dundalk Scratch Cup on Sunday, September 17.

 

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.

 

Rafferty beaten in Irish Close quarter-final

Caolan Rafferty’s search for one of the major Irish amateur championships continues after he was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Irish Close at Galway Golf Club last week.

Rafferty headed into the Close on the back of his best ever season and having finished as top points scorer in Ireland’s historic fourth successive win in the Home Internationals the previous week.

He eased to the matchplay stages with a third place finish in the two round strokeplay qualifiers, just missing out on a third leading qualifier medal of the year by a single shot after rounds of 71 and 68.

In the opening matchplay round he beat Palmerstown Stud’s Anthony McDaid 3&2 and then defeated former West of Ireland championship and Irish international Jonathon Yates of Naas by one hole to reach the last 16 where he met local favourite Ronan Mullarney who had knocked out the defending champion Alex Gleeson.

Undeterred by the large home support for Mullarney, Rafferty eased to a solid 3&2 victory to reach the last eight but his run came to an end when he was beaten 2&1 by Belvoir Park’s Marc Norton.

Next up for Caolan is the South American Championship in Colombia.

Josh Mackin finished tied ninth at the Irish U16 Boys Championship in Rockmount. Mackin produced rounds for 74, 76 and 76 for a total of ten under par and finished ten behind the eventual winner Adam Smith from Mullingar. Kyle Rafferty was the other Dundalk player in the championship and he missed the cut after two rounds by two shots.