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.

 

 

Dundalk duo qualify for Morocco final

Leslie Walker

Club captain Mickey Coburn and Club Professional Leslie Walker produced a dominant performance to reach the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final by winning their qualifier at Seapoint Golf Club.

The Dundalk pairing will now play in the £22,000 final, in association with Golfplan, which will be played on November 21 and 22 at Mazagan Beach Resort in Casablanca, Morocco.

They carded a 10 under par round to return a total of 46 points without dropping a shot. That gave them a two point advantage over Shaun Donnelly and Neal Graham of Castle Hume Golf Club and David Walker (Leslie’s brother) and Stuart Margetson of Foxrock Golf Club.

This was the first time that Coburn and Walker had actually played alongside each other. But they gelled immediately with Coburn making six birdies and a nett eagle – and the result now sees them travelling to Morocco for the final.

“If I’m brutally honest that’s the first time I’ve ever played with Leslie, it worked out very well on the day, and we started out well which was important,” said eight-handicapper Coburn.

“I really enjoyed it and I love the course. It was cloudy and no wind, we probably got the best of the day, but we had about a four hour wait to see if we’d won. You’re always hoping someone doesn’t nick it at the end.

“But I have to say this is absolutely fabulous prize.”

For Walker it was a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure on the PGA circuit but he was quick to pay tribute to his teammate.

“We played a super round, Mickey was very strong, he did all the scoring with six birdies and an eagle,” said Walker.

“It was a great links course but the rough was very difficult so you can see why some teams dropped shots, but we were in the short grass all day long.

“I’ve never played out in Morocco, it’ll be a great new experience and I hope we can compete out there.”

Win gets Laverty down to single figures

The juveniles have certainly made their presence felt this year and it was another of the club’s up and coming players Joseph Laverty, who won Sunday’s Singles Stableford.

The 10 handicapper won on countback from Fergal Sexton (11) after both had shot 42pts and it resulted in Laverty seeing his handicap cut by two shots to eight.

It was Laverty’s superb short-game that delivered his victory as time and again he managed to get up and down after missing greens. He opened with three points pars at the first, second and fourth and then hit a wobble with a no score on the fifth followed by a solitary point at the sixth but after a three point par at the par five seventh he produced three successive birdies to get to 24pts after 10 holes.

Four more three point pars followed on the back nine as he parred 12, 15, 16 and 18 and although he dropped shots at the 13th and 17th he did enough to come home in 21pts and it was that back nine score which got him through on countback.

Billy Carins (7), Stephen Haughey (13) and JP Connolly took the category prizes with the best gross of 36pts being returned by Carins.

Sunday, September 3 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Joseph Laverty (10) 42/21pts, Fergal Sexton (11) 42pts. Category 1 (0-12): Billy Cairns (7) 40pts. Category 2 (13-17): Stephen Haughey (13) 41 pts. Category 3 (18-28): J P Connolly (25) 37pts. Best Gross: Billy Cairns 33pts. CSS: 36pts.

Fred Daly team lose All-Ireland semi-final

The Fred Daly Trophy team were beaten in today’s All-Ireland semi-final by Lisburn at Bray Golf Club.

Eoin Murphy lost 3&2 to fellow Boys international Aaron Marshall in the top match while Kyle Patton beat Josh Mackin 4&3 and Padraig Fallon lost 6&5 to Jack Shellard.

Sean Laverty and Kyle Rafferty earned half points from their matches with Joshua Robinson and Mark Stewart respectively.

Lisburn subsequently lost 3.5 to 1.5 against Athenry in the Final.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Impressive McCaughey masters the weather

Gregory McCaughey won Sunday’s Singles Stableford with an impressive 40pts, some of which was collected during one of the heavy downpours that affected those with morning tee-times.

Poll-forking meant that the greens were heavily sanded but that too didn’t deter the nine-handicapper who began fast with three point pars on the opening two holes.

Over the next eight holes he collected two points on seven of them with his only dropped shot coming on the index three par five seventh which he doubled-bogeyed.

That left him on 21pts standing on the 11th tee and the next three holes saw him produce the fireworks needed to distance himself from the rest of the field. He parred the index two par four 11th for three points and then tossed in back to back birdies at the 12th and 13th for a three hole haul of 10pts.

Another three points were gained at the 16th to move him to 38pts and he could afford to score one point bogeys at the final two holes and still win by two points from Joseph Laverty (10) and Anthony Tuite (14).

Laverty took Category One with Tuite winning Category Two and Johannes Steenvooden (25) took Category Three with 37pts. Best Gross was recorded by Peter Rogers with 34pts while James Murtagh (28) with 42pts won the Juvenile Prize.

Sunday, August  27 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Gregory McCaughey (9) 40pts. Category 1 (0-12): Joseph Laverty (10) 38pts, Zak Alderdice (10) 37/21pts. Category 2 (13-18): Anthony Tuite (14) 38pts, Gerry Oakes (17) 37/21pts. Category 3 (19-28): Johannes Steenvooden (25) 37pts, Graham Purcell (19) 36/17/15pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers 34pts. Juvenile: James Murtagh (28) 42pts. CSS: 36pts.

 

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.

Boys U13 and U18 teams take county titles

The excellent season being enjoyed by our Juveniles continued last week when the Boys U13 and U18 teams won their respective county titles at Seapoint.

The U13s captured the McCooey Cassidy Cup which is named after Brendan McCooey and Jimmy Cassidy, two men who had a long standing association with the club.

The team of Zak Alderdice, Joseph Laverty, Christopher Clarke and Aaron Spaight beat Co Louth in their final.

The U18s beat Ardee in a play-off with Sean Laverty playing a superb shot out of a fairway bunker and over the drain protecting the front of the green to set up the win on the first sudden death hole.

The U18 team was Josh Mackin & Sean Laverty, Eoin Murphy & Kyle Rafferty and Conall Murdock & Ciaran Johnston.

Monarch Trophy Winners 2017: (from left): Kyle Rafferty, Conall Murdock, Josh Mackin, Vincent Conlon (Team Manager), Sean Laverty, Eoin Murphy.

McCooey Cassidy Cup Winners 2017 (from left): Zak Alderdice, Christopher Clarke, Paul Malone (Team Manager), Joseph Laverty, Aaron Spaight.

Copas takes Route 66 to Captain’s Prize

2017 Captain’s Prize winner Richard Copas receives the trophy from Captain Mickey Coburn

Richard Copas won Mickey Coburn’s Captain’s Prize thanks to a superb six under par 66 in the second round on Sunday.

His  10 under par overall total of 134 was enough to pip first round leader Noel Crowe by two shots with third placed David Cairns a further six shots behind.
Noel Mahon (23) took the Veterans Prize while the evergreen Peter Roger claimed the Gross Prize with a two round total of 148 which was helped by an impressive one under par 71 in the final round.
Copas and Crowe were paired together in the final group and, as the expected challenge from the groups behind failed to materialise, they rose to the occasion rather than wilt under the pressure.
Eighteen handicapper Copas, who was lying two shots behind Crowe after a first round 68, had a shot at every hole and he produced an almost perfect round in crafting his 66.
He opened steadily with four bogeys before gaining his first par at the par three fifth to go one under. After bogeys at the next three holes, Copas took a firm grip of the competition when he reeled off four successive pars from the ninth to the 12th to go to five under for the round and nine under for the competition.
A birdie three at the par four 16th took him to 11 under for the competition and his only blemish of the day came at the 18th which he doubled bogeyed for a round of 66 and a final total of ten under.
Crowe (26) hung in but with Copas playing so steadily his one under par 71 came up a couple of shots short as he finished on eight under.
Sunday’s Second Round category prizes were won by Ciaran Sheridan (5), Brian Gaughran (13) and Sean Gallagher (20).
Sunday, August 21 – Captain Michael Coburn’s Prize –  1st Richard Copas (18) 134 (68/66); 2nd Noel Crowe (26)  136 (65/71); 3rd David Cairns 142 (73/69/32.5); 4th Martin McEntaggart (10) 142 (73/69); 5th Brian Mernagh (11) 142 (70/72/36.5); 6th Paul O’Reilly (17) 142 (70/72); 143 – 7th Willie McKeever (17) 143 (75/68); 8th Jim Dwyer (9) 143(71/72). Veteran: Noel McMahon (23) 141 (66/75). Gross: Peter Rogers (2) 148 (77/71). Category 1: Ciaran Sheridan (5) 70/33.5. Terry Conlon (6) 70. Category 2: Brian Gaughran (13) 67/32.5, Seamus Bailey (13) 67. Category 3:  Sean Gallagher (20) 70. Dessie Corbett (22) 72. CSS 72.

Sunday Qualifier Category 1: Kyle Rafferty (winner, left) and Caolan Rafferty (second, right)

Sunday Qualifier Overall Winner, Maurice Murphy

Saturday Qualifier Overall Winner, John P Daly

Dream debut for Rafferty as Ireland wins Home Internationals

Caolan Rafferty receives a special presentation from Captain Mickey Coburn and Lady Captain Caolan Rafferty to mark his international debut

Caolan Rafferty had a dream international debut last week when he helped Ireland to an historic fourth successive Home Internationals title at Moortown Golf Club in England.

The 24-year-old Dundalk Golf Club player finished as Ireland’s top scorer with five points out of a possible six from the matches against Wales, Scotland and England.

“It was the best week I have had in golf in a long time,” said Rafferty. “To do something as a team was great but to perform as well as I did was extremely satisfying.”

Rafferty had never previously been capped by Ireland at any level and, while he was being tipped for call-up this year, he admitted that he was nervous in the lead-up to the team being finally announced even though he had won the silver medal for leading qualifier at the British Amateur and North of Ireland Championships and reached the last 16 at the British, the last eight at the West of Ireland and the semi-finals of the North as well as leading Leinster to the third successful Inter-provincial title.

“Others boys who were on the fringes did well at the South so I was a little bit apprehensive. I knew they were going for four-in-row and there wouldn’t be many changes to the team so it was nice when the phone-call came although it was hard keeping it quiet for a few days until it was officially announced. It’s been a goal of mine for some time to play for Ireland.”

The Home Internationals involved five foursomes matches each morning followed by 10 singles matches and for Ireland’s opening tie against Wales, Rafferty was partnered with Conor Purcell but they lost 2&1 after getting off to a slow start and finding themselves trailing early on.

“At the team meetings we spoke about the need to get out fast and get up early. Because the standard is so high it is usually one or two small things that decides it.”

Ireland lost the foursomes 4-2 to Matthew Harris and Lewys Sanges so going into the afternoon singles the pressure was on to keep alive their hopes of becoming the first team ever to win four successive Home Internationals titles.

Playing against Jake Hapgood, Rafferty got ahead on the first hole and played steady golf to eventually win 3&1 and pick up his first international point. His team-mates had also bounced back from the morning disappointment and Ireland took the singles 7-3, for an overall 9-6 victory.

The following day against Scotland, Rafferty was paired with Colin Fairweather in the foursomes and it proved to be an inspired choice by team captain Tony Goode as they won 3&2 against Craig Ross and Sam Locke and helped Ireland into a 4-1 lead. Rafferty and Ross met again in the afternoon singles with Rafferty coming from behind to win the last two holes and win by one hole. Ireland won the singles 6-4 and the overall match 10-5.

That set up a showdown with England for the title with the Irish only needing a draw because of their superior point difference.

Playing against Jack Gaunt and David Hague in the foursomes, Rafferty and Fairweather found themselves three down early on but fought back to win 5&3 and give the Irish team a massive lift as they headed into the singles with a narrow 3-2 lead.

“It gave everybody a big lift because a lot of the lads thought we had lost. I have played a lot with Colin over the years and we get on well. We just went about our own jobs and also helped out one another. It was so laid-back we were never flustered.”

With so much on the line, the singles were nail-biting as Ireland looked for the 4½ points they needed to take the title. They got there thanks to three halved matches and three wins with Rafferty delivering one of those victories by beating David Hague 4&3.

“I was two down through three but then I got to work and won four of the next five holes to go two up. After that it was just a case of hitting fairways and greens and keeping him under pressure.”

Rafferty has been inundated with messages of congratulations all week but the texts he was constantly receiving from his father Ciaran were particularly special.

“He been a huge influence on me. It would have been lovely to have had him there but it was nice to know he was following it all at home. My family have been very supportive as has my girlfriend Hayley. They’ve had to put with a lot!

“I’ve also had great support from Dundalk Golf Club and all the members. The club linked up with DKIT at the start of the year to provide fitness training for the elite squad members. It wasn’t something I’d done before but every little bit helps.”

One of the messages he received was from a Dundalk golfer now living in Galway who took the opportunity to congratulate him and offer him the use of his locker at Galway Golf Club where this week’s Irish Close Championship is being held.

That’s the next target for Rafferty before he heads to Colombia for the South American Championship with Tiarnan McLarnon as part of a two man Irish team. Then he’s off to Maynooth University to commence a Business Management course having received one of the Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarships which were set up by Major winner Padraig Harrington in memory of his father.

However, his first week of college will be spent in Prague at the European University Championships before he returns home to defend the Dundalk Scratch Cup he won for the first time last year.

It’s been a season to remember for Rafferty and there are still plenty of opportunities ahead to make it even more memorable.