Rogers, Harte, Cunningham and McDonnell take IJM Scratch Matchplay honours

Last Saturday saw the semi-finals and finals of the IJM Matchplay competition take place with Peter Rogers, Fergal Harte, Dennis Cunningham and Gavin McDonnell taking the four titles on offer.

Qualification for the Matchplay was based on the Golfer of the Year standing with the 16 players who teed it up on Saturday morning among the most consistent performers in the Club this season.

In the senior section, Clem Walshe was taken to the 20th by Zak Alderdice before he booked his place in the afternoon final against Peter Rogers who had come back from one down after three to win 5&4 against Billy Cairns.

The final was a closely fought affair with Rogers opening up a one hole lead on the fourth and extending it two with a birdie on the 13th and three with a par on the 15th. Although Rogers lost the 16th to a par he got the halve he needed on the 17th to win 2&1.

The junior final was also settled on the 17th after another close battle between Fergal Harte and Stephen Lynch. Harte had seen off John Conlon 5&4 in the semi-final while Lynch beat Gregory McCaughey 3&2

A poor opening tee-shot resulted in Lynch losing the opening hole but he got back to all square with a par on the fifth. Harte regained the lead with a par on the ninth but lost it when bogeyed the 11th. However a par at the 12th, followed by a biride at the 13th allowed Harte to open up a two hole lead and he retained it to the 17th which he halved to close out a great contest.

The Intermediate Final saw two members of the Jimmy Bruen Shield squad, Denis Cunningham and Ronan Farrelly, go head to head after both had comfortable wins in the morning semi-finals. Cunningham defeated Michael O’Sullivan 4&3 while Farrelly drained a 45ft birdie putt on 12th to close out an impressive 8&6 win over Gerry McDermott.

 In the final Farrelly edged ahead by winning the second but Cunningham took the third and then went ahead on the fourth. He stretch his lead by winning the fifth with a par and then birdied the eighth to go three up. A par at the 10th saw Cunningham extend his lead to four holes but Farrelly took the 11th to bring it back to three. However, Farrelly’s hopes of a comeback were short-lived as Cunningham took the next three holes to win 6&5.

The only final to go the distance was the Minor final between Golfer of the Year Brian Crombie and Gavin McDonnell. Crombie has been in sparking form over the past month but he was made to fight all the way in his semi-final against Mark Coan which he eventually won 2&1.  McDonnell beat Ray Pepper 4&3 having kept his nose in front from the fourth.

In the final Crombie recovered from losing the opening hole to open up a two hole by the fifth but McDonnell won the next two to bring the match back to all square. Crombie regained the lead on two more occasions but each time he brought back by McDonnell who then won the 15th to lead for the first time since the opening two holes. After halving the next two holes, McDonnell closed out the match on the 18th for a two hole victory and almost did it in style but his birdie chip from off the green hit the pin and stayed out.

IJM Senior Scratch Matchplay Finalists Peter Rogers (centre left) and Clem Walshe (centre right) pictured with Dundalk Golf Club Captain Trevor Giff (left) and Peter McCaughey of IJM.

IJM Minor Scratch Matchplay Finalists Gavin McDonnell (centre left) and Brian Crombie (centre right) pictured with Dundalk Golf Club Captain Trevor Giff (left) and Peter McCaughey of IJM.

IJM Junior Scratch Matchplay Finalists Stephen Lynch (centre left) and Fergal Harte (centre right) pictured with Dundalk Golf Club Captain Trevor Giff (left) and Peter McCaughey of IJM.

IJM Intermediate Scratch Matchplay Finalists Ronan Farrelly (centre left) and Dennis Cunningham (centre right) pictured with Dundalk Golf Club Captain Trevor Giff (left) and Peter McCaughey of IJM.