Rafferty wins in Scotland

CAOLAN RAFFERTY produced a fantastic performance in the wind and rain in Scotland last week to win the 14th Fife Tournament on the British Universities & Colleges Tour.

The Dundalk player, who is a Harrington Scholar at Maynooth University, shot a six under par total of 136 to win the 36 hole event at Fairmont, St Andrews, by seven shots. His victory saw him move up to 54 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, his highest position yet.

The opening day of the competition, which attracted college golfers from all over Britain and Ireland, was characterised by shocking weather which included strong gusting winds followed by heavy rain that nearly made the course unplayable.

While most golfers struggled in the conditions, Rafferty revelled in them as he showed a high level of skill and patience in carding a one under par round of 70 that included three birdies and 13 pars having started his round contending with the high winds and finishing it in a monsoon.

Conditions improved on the second day and Rafferty, who held a one shot lead overnight, quickly stamped his authority on proceedings with three consecutive birdies from the third to move to four under.

Stirling’s Laird Shepherd emerged from the chasing pack as five birdies over the front nine saw him reduce Rafferty’s lead to two shots but the Dundalk man put his foot on accelerator down the back nine with birdies on 10 and 11. Although he dropped a shot on the 12th Rafferty holed his sixth birdie of the day on the 14th and finished with a five under par 66 for a two round total of six under. He won by seven shots from Maynooth teammate Eanna Griffin with Laird in third.

Rafferty was only player in the field to finish under par and he led Maynooth University to victory in the team event as they beat Durham 1 by a massive 23 strokes with Stirling 1 a further two strokes back.

 

 

 

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.”

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.