Triple winner Walshe is no April Fool!

Clem Walshe

Clem Walshe proved he was no April Fool on Easter Sunday as walked off the course a triple winner.

The five handicapper shot a superb round of 42pts to win Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition and his gross score of 37pts was also the best gross returned on the day.

His nett score also had a major bearing on the outcome of the 2018 Winter League as Team 11, captained by Mark Browne, went from joint fourth place, and five points behind, at the beginning of the final round to top spot by the end of day’s play. They took the title by seven points from Team 7, captained by George Rogers, which had started the day alongside them in fourth place.

Another member of Team 11, Anthony O’Donoghue (13), also made a significant contribution with 38pts which was also enough for him to claim third place overall in the singles competition with Kevin Barry (10), a member of Team 7, finishing second with 40pts.

Team 3, captained by Bill McCarthy, had started the third round leading by one point but after returning a total of 98pts from their three counting cards they had to settle to third place, nine points behind the winners.

Walshe, who won the Hilary Outing at Seapoint recently, produced a superb round of golf on his way to victory as he carded three birdies, 13 pars and two bogeys for a one under par 71 or 37pts that, with the addition of his five strokes became an impressive 42pts.

He went out in 20pts, helped by a four point birdie at the par three fourth, and came home in 22pts having recorded three point birdies at the 12th and 15th and three point pars at the 11th and 15th. A sign of how well he played was shown by the accumulation of 12pts from the five holes where he had strokes.

Colin Roche (6) with 37pts took Category 1 while Kenneth Cairns (13) won Category 2 with 38pts and Sean Gallagher (20) claimed Category 3 with 35pts.

Sunday, April 1 – Singles Stableford Competition – Overall: Clem Walshe (5) 42pts, Kevin Barry (10) 40pts, Anthony O’Donoghue (13) 38/22pts. Category 1(0-11): Colin Roche (6) 37pts. Category 2 (12-16): Kenneth Cairns (13) 38pts. Category 3 (17-28): Sean Gallagher (20) 35/18pts. Best Gross: Clem Walsh 37pts.

Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock (Final Standings): 216pts – Team 11 (Mark Browne, Clem Walshe, Anthony O’Donoghue, Ciaran Rafferty, Edmund Sheridan). 209pts – Team 7 (George Rogers (c), Kevin Barry, Connor McCaughey, Peter O’Brien, Brendan Tinnelly. Full results here

Winter League Standings Week 2

1 3 Bill McCarthy 109
2 2 Colm Coburn 108
3 14 Sean Ward 106
4 11 Mark Browne 104
4 7 George Rogers 104
4 5 Ray Pepper 104
7 12 Colm Garvey 102
8 9 Brian Ward 100
9 8 Kenneth Cairns 99
10 6 Michael Stewart 98
11 1 Pat Curran 97
11 15 Patsy Cole 97
13 10 Brendan Keane 93
14 13 Barry Cunningham 91
15 4 Tom Clarke  88

The Winter League is sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock

Teams gearing up for April start

APRIL will see the start of golf’s inter-club competitions and Dundalk Golf Club plans to send out over 30 teams in men’s, ladies and juvenile events at regional, provincial and national level.

All-Ireland pennants have been thin on the ground with the Jimmy Bruen Shield triumph in 2004 being the club’s only national title to date although there has been some success at provincial level in competitions like the Barton Cup, Junior Cup, Provincial Towns Cup, JB Carr Trophy and most recently, the Fred Daly Trophy which the Boys U18 team won last year.

Regional competitions have also yielded some success with the 2016 Newsam Cup victory and the 2016 Husband and Wife being the most recent successes on the local front.

Anne Doohan & Mary Lou Grennan have been appointed as Team Directors for the Ladies teams while Jim Caraher, Vincent Conlon and Paul Malone will take charge of the Boys teams while Pauline Campbell and Mary Lou Grennan will look after the Girls teams.

Clem Walshe, who was part of the management team that guided Dundalk to a Leinster title in the Junior Cup back in 2015, has been handed overall responsibility this year for the men’s teams and he has been working hard over the past few months to get ready to the coming season.

“I was very honoured when our Captain Gerry Byrne approached me and asked would I take on looking after the men’s teams. I’ve appointed managers to all the teams and we had an excellent get-together in January to plan the year and how we intend approaching each competition this year.

“All the managers have been asked to trawl through the club looking for players who might be suitable for playing inter-club competitions. Different competitions have different formats such as strokeplay, matchplay, singles, foursomes and fourballs and are also confined to certain handicaps so there is a lot of work in matching players, with the right handicaps to the format that is best for them and the team.

“Then we have the preparation phase. In a lot of cases we will probably not be playing every match in Dundalk so we have to make sure that players get the opportunity to practice the course they will be playing.”

Walshe, who plays off five, intends to draw on his own experiences in his role. He won a Barton Cup with St Anne’s in 1995 and was manager of the Dundalk team which won the Leinster Junior in 2015.

“One of the things I have tried to get across to the managers is the importance of preparation, particularly when we are playing away from home. There are things that you need to do when you are preparing to play on an unfamiliar course which I have learned down through the years and I have tried to pass that on.

“As the panels are assembled we will look to bring them together for practice sessions as well as coaching sessions from our club professional Leslie Walker who in addition to being an excellent teacher also possesses a wealth of competitive playing experience which he is always happy to pass on.”

The first Dundalk team in action this year will be the Senior Mixed Foursomes, which is managed by Alan Hurley and Criona O’Reilly. They take on Bellewstown on Sunday, April 8, at 2.30pm with three of the five matches in Dundalk. The winners away to the either Greenore or Laytown & Bettystown in the second round.

Next up for Dundalk will be the Barton Cup team. Managed by Carl Stewart and Alan McDermott they face Ardee in Saturday week, April 14, at 2.30pm with three of the five matches in Dundalk.

Three Ladies teams will also in action the same weekend. On Saturday, April 14, the Challenge Cup team, which is managed by Brid Rocks and Mary Dooley, will travel to Laytown & Bettystown to face Ashbourne.

The next day, Sunday, April 15, the Intermediate Cup team, managed by Olivia Cunningham and Teresa Oakes, and the Minor Cup team, managed by Jacinta Foran and Elizabeth McGuinness, will be in Concra Wood for their first round ties. The Intermediate team face Ardee while the Minor team take on Hollywood Lakes.

Rafferty wins Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty produced a strong finish to win the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup for a second time on Sunday.

The 25-year-old birdied his final three holes to capture the 36 hole competition by one shot after shooting rounds of 70 and 66.

A shotgun start saw Rafferty teeing off both his rounds on the second hole and he admitted he was surprised to find himself only one shot off the lead after the first round.

“It was a cold morning and there was a bit of a breeze but I didn’t hit it that well and I just scrambled my way around with five birdies and four bogeys. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was only a shot behind a group on two under as I thought somebody would have posted a decent score.”

Relieved to be still in contention, Rafferty knuckled down in the second round and produced some excellent golf as he roared around the famous Co Meath links with a five under par 66 that included seven birdies.

After parring his opening two holes, he then birdied the fourth, fifth and sixth, to move to four under for the tournament. A dropped shot at eight was cancelled out by a birdie 11 but he then bogeyed the 12th to move back to three under.

Last Tuesday in Portmarnock, Rafferty returned the best gross score in the Winter Alliance when he birdied two of the last three holes for a 69 and on Sunday he once again produced some sparkling golf over the final three holes.

After birdieing the 17th, Rafferty hit a drive and an eight iron to set up a birdie on 18 and he then birdied the first, his last, to finish on six under and take the tournament by one shot.

It was his second victory in the competition having won it previously 2013 and he was delighted with the way he played and finished the final round.

“It’s always nice to finish strong and to do it twice in a week is great. Winning the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup in 2013 was a big breakthrough moment for me and it means a lot to have won it again,” said Rafferty

While most of Ireland’s top amateurs are heading to Rosses Point this week for the West of Ireland Championship, Rafferty will heading to St Andrews in Scotland with Maynooth University for the R&A’s Scholars Championship.

“To win in Laytown is a nice boost heading to St Andrews. I played there last year in the St Andrew’s Cup and made the cut so I’m hoping that experience will stand me to this week.”

Lack of sleep no obstacle to super Shaw

Lack of sleep proved no obstacle to in-form Austin Shaw as he surged to victory in Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition which also doubled as Round 2 of the Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock.

In the first 18 hole competition of the year, Shaw (9) had three points to spare over Neal MacKell (3) who had to settle for winning Category One and also recording the best gross score of the day with 37pts.

A passionate Dundalk FC supporter, Shaw travelled to the Showgrounds on Saturday night to watch Stephen Kenny’s side record a 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers. He drove home after the match and, despite losing an hour’s sleep when the clocks went forward on Sunday morning, he still made the first tee for his dew-sweeping 08:12 start.

Any tiredness the nine handicapper might have felt were soon banished as opened with two three point pars followed by a two point bogey five at the third and a three point par at the fourth.

That left him on 11 points after the first four holes and then he missed holing his eight iron tee shot at the par three fifth by inches but the three points he gained for the tap in birdie brought him to 14pts for his round. Two pars on the back to back par fives yielded another five points and a one point bogey five at the eighth and a two point par at the ninth saw him turn for home on 22pt.

Three more pars and eight more points followed over the next three holes before a well struck nine wood into the heart of the green on the par three 13th set up his second three point birdie of the day.

A two point par at the 14th took Shaw to 35pts with four holes to go but disaster almost struck on the 15th when he drove into the trees but was fortunate to escape with a one point double bogey six. Shaw got that dropped point back at the 16th where he produced a three point par and he then parred 17 and 18 for a further four points to finish on superb score of 43pts and record his first victory of the season.

Donal Curran (12) took the Category Two prize and Conor Byrne (23) was the Category Three winner.

March 25 – Singles Stableford & Winter League sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra, Blackrock – Overall: Austin Shaw (9) 43pts. Category 1 (0-11): Neal MacKell (3) 40pts, Connor MaCaughey (5) 36/20pts. Category 2 (12-17): Donal Curran (12) 38pts, Noel Reid (15) 37/19/12pts, Category 3 (18-28): Conor Byrne (23) 39pts, Sean Gallagher (20) 37/20pts. Best Gross: Neal MacKell (3) 37pts.

McCarthy hottest on day of red-hot scoring

BILL McCarthy was the winner of Sunday’s Singles Stableford when he shot a superb score of 36pts to win the 14 hole competition on countback from Mark Browne (22).

On a day of red hot scoring from many of the club’s seasoned campaigners, the 28 handicapper produced a round that included a four point birdie two at the ninth, four three point pars and four three point bogeys.

McCarthy could even afford to blank the par five index three seventh, where he had two shots, and still beat Browne thanks to his 26pts over his final nine holes.

Browne finished second with George Rogers (19) in third place on 35pts. The Category Prizes went to Jim Dwyer (9), Brian Ward (15) and Sean Ward (18) while Billy Cairns (6) returned the day’s best gross score of 27pts.

Sunday, March 11 – 14 Holes Singles Stableford & Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock Winter League – Overall: Bill McCarthy (28) 36/26pts, Mark Browne (22) 36pts, George Rogers (19) 35pts. Category 1 (0-12): Jim Dwyer (9) 33/22pts, Category 2 (13-17): Brian Ward (15) 34pts. Category 3 (18-28): Sean Ward (18) 34pts. Best Gross: Billy Cairns (6) 27pts.

To view standing after Week 1 please click here

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.

 

Winter League entries now open

Entries are now being accepted for the 2018 Winter League which is sponsored by Tiernan’s Centra Blackrock.

This year the League will be a five person team event and will commence on Sunday, February 18 and run for six weeks with the final scheduled for April 1. There will be a break for the Captain’s Drive in on February 25.

The competition format will be stableford with one team score to count in weeks one to three, with two scores in week four and three scores counting in week five.

The top two teams will play a matchplay final on April 1 which will be run concurrently with the Sunday competition on that date.

The closing date for entries is Friday, February 16. Entries should be placed in the box in the Club Bar. The entrance fee is €5. Please ensure your full name and handicap are written on the envelope.

O’Brien’s birdies make the difference

Darren O’Brien produced a super round, which included three birdies, to win Sunday’s 14 Hole Single Stableford competition.

On a perfect day for golf, the 13 handicapper, shot an amazing 37pts for the 14 holes and was a clear winner by two points from Shane McGuinness (19) who had to settle for second overall.

Barry Cunningham (8), Michael Hamilton (15) and George Rogers (19) took the three category prizes with Peter Rogers (1) returning the best gross score for the second successive week.

O’Brien, who had 10 strokes to play with because of the reduced number of holes, got off to a great start with a three point par at the first but handed it back when he double-bogeyed the next. However, successive three point pars at the third and fourth holes got him back in the groove and a two point par at the fifth was followed by a three point birdie at the par five sixth.

He then parred the next three holes for a further eight points to turn for home on 23pts. A two point par at the 10th and a two point bogey at the index two 11th brought him to 27 points with three holes to go and he then proceeded to burn off the field with a blistering finish.

O’Brien pared the par-five 12th for three points and then parred the par-three 13th for another three points before birdieing the par four 18th for four points and signing for a remarkable 37pts.

Sunday, February 4 – 14 Hole Singles Stableford – Overall: Darren O Brien (13) 37pts, Shane McGuinness (19) 35pts. Category 1 (0-12):Barry Cunningham (8) 34pts. Category 2 (13-18): Michael Hamilton (15) 33pts. Category 3 (19-28): George Rogers (19) 33pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers (1) 29pts.
 

Blemish-free Browne a clear winner

Mark Browne was a clear winner of Sunday’s Singles Stableford competition which was played over 14 Holes with seven clubs.

The 22 handicapper shot a blemish-free round of 34pts and had two points to spare over John Farrell (22) who edged out Seamus Bailey (11) for second place on countback.

Peter Rogers (1), Pat Curran (13) and Conor Byrne (22) took the category prizes with Rogers also recording the day’s best gross score, a two under par 30pts.

Browne was steadiness personified in playing to his handicap, not dropping a shot, and taking his three point par chances when they arose.

His first par arrived on the second and he then had back to back three point pars on the fifth and sixth before two more back to back pars came on the 10th and 11th. The par three 13th yielded his sixth par of the day and all he needed on the 18th was a two point bogey five to finish two points ahead of the field.

Sunday, January 28 – 14 Holes Singles Stableford – Overall: Mark Browne (22) 34pts, John Farrell (22) 32/21pts, Seamus Bailey (11) 32pts. Category 1 (0-12): Peter Rogers (1) 31pts. Category 2 (13-16): Pat Curran (13) 29pts. Category 3 (17-28): Conor Byrne (22) 30pts. Best Gross: Peter Rogers 30pts.