Rafferty helps International team to victory in Palmer Cup

Caolan Rafferty warms up on the range at the 2020 Palmer Cup

Caolan Rafferty warms up on the range at the 2020 Palmer Cup

After seeing almost all his plans for 2020 derailed because of COVID-19,  Caolan Rafferty got the perfect Christmas present when he helped the International team retain the Palmer Cup at Bay Hill Golf Club in Florida.

Created by the legendary Arnold Palmer, the Ryder Cup-style event involves the best male and female college players from America and the Rest of the World. It was due to be played last summer in Lahinch but had to be postponed because of COVID-19.

It was moved to America and took place just before Christmas with the International team showing no ill-effects from a disrupted year as they ran out convincing winners by 40.5 to 19.5, winning all four sessions over the three days of the event.

At the start of the year Rafferty had targeted a place at the Palmer Cup as one of his season goals in a bid to finish his time as a Harrington scholar at Maynooth University on a high.

A lack of competitive golf, a hand injury that required surgery back in September, and a period of isolation on arrival in America meant Rafferty’s preparation was far from ideal but he got off to a winning start on Day One when he partnered Olivia Mehaffey from Banbridge to victory in the Mixed Foursomes.

The Irish pair beat Quade Cummings and Jaime Jacobs by one hole in a match where they were never behind after birdieing the second to go one up. They were two up with four to play but lost 15 and 17 to birdies before snatching victory with a par on the last.

“I played okay but Olivia, thankfully, played really well. I just helped out when I could and it was nice to get a point on the board early,” said Rafferty,

The International team opened up a 9-3 lead after the first day and then extended that to 15 points after the morning fourballs on Day Two which Rafferty had to sit out as a positive COVID case on the USA team meant they couldn’t field in all the matches.

He returned for the afternoon mixed foursomes alongside Mehaffey but they were just edged out by one hole by the America pair of Evan Katz and Gina Kim. The Irish pair had taken an early lead with a birdie on the third but then lost the fourth and seventh. They got back to all square by winning the 10th but lost the next hole to par and were unable to get back on level terms as the Americans held on to win by one hole.

“Like the day before we played decent golf and it just came down to a putt here and there that could have gone our way. I suppose it just showed the standard we were playing at. There was nothing between us.”

The International team took the session 12-5 and went into the last day singles leading by 26.5 to 9.5 and needing just four points to secure overall victory.

The International selectors decided to lead with all-Irish attack with Mehaffey, Mark Power and Rafferty handed the first three slots in the singles. Mehaffey halved her match to set them on their way before Rafferty delivered the international’s first win of the day when he beat Evan Katz by one hole.

The Dundalk player had got off the perfect start by winning three of the first five holes but he then lost six and seven to birdies and when he lost nine and ten to pars he found himself one behind.

However, he bounced back by birdieing the 11th and regained the lead with a par on the 13th. However, Katz refused to submit and struck back on the 16th which he won with a birdie. Rafferty then needed to hole a knee-jerking four-foot putt on the 17th to remain all-square before winning the match on the last.

“We both played sloppy golf on the front nine but there was a lot of good golf on the back nine. On 18 I hit a 5 iron from the rough to 35 feet while he missed the green long and didn’t get up and down. It ended up that I had two putts for the win but first putt held its line across the slope and went in for birdie which was a nice way to finish especially considering it’s a similar putt which we see the pros having when they play the Arnold Palmer invitational at Bay Hill.”

The International team took the singles 14-10 to run out winners by 40-5 to 19.5 and retain the Palmer Cup. For Rafferty, it was a week to remember at the end of a year to forget.

“It was great that it was played because it wasn’t looking likely for a long time. Lahinch would have been fantastic venue but getting the opportunity to play in Arnold Palmer’s back garden at Bay Hill was very special.

“The team gelled so well. It was as if we knew each other for ages. Nothing felt awkward and there was good craic between us all. The whole week was great with the opportunity to meet loads of new people and experience a fabulous venue. I was told it would be special and it surely was.” 

Rafferty’s next objective is to make the Great Britain and Ireland team which will play the USA in the Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club in Florida next May. He was recently named on the squad from which the travelling team will be picked and is determined to make it back to back appearances in one of golf’s biggest events.

“It’s always a great achievement to make that panel so I’m delighted. I’m just going get the foot down and start getting ready for whatever will be the first event in 2021. Hopefully I can play my way back onto the final 10-man team again.”

Quinn holds on to take Halloween Hamper

OONAGH Quinn (28) shot 39pts to win the Ladies Halloween Hamper eating Brid Rocks (20) by one point with Ann McDonnell (19) a shot further back in third place

Quinn picked up three points at the fifth and eighth as she went out in 19pts and she collected three points at the 12th, 15th and 17th as she covered the back nine in 20pts for an overall score of 39pts.

Rocks had a four point par at the par five seventh also had five three-pointers at the fifth, ninth, 10th, 13th and 18th but was left wondering what might have been had she not failed to score at the par four second.

McDonnell also had a blank on her card as he failed to score at the 11th although she did bounce back from that disaster with a four point birdie at the next, the par five 12th. Her round included three-point returns at the second, fourth, fifth, seventh and 18th.

Saturday, October 17 and Tuesday, October 20 – Ladies Halloween Hamper – Winner: Oonagh Quinn(28) 39pts, Runner-Up: Brid Rocks (20) 38pts, Third: Ann McDonnell (19) 37pts. CSS: Saturday 33pts, Tuesday 35pts.

Clarke edges out Mullins and Byrne as youth dominates

TWO of the Club’s promising teenagers were to the fore in the last weekend competition before the Government’s decision to close all golf courses as part of the Level Five restrictions.

Fifteen-year-old Chris Clarke (10) shot 43pts to edge out another 15-year-old, Conall Mullins (12) by one point with 2018 Captain Gerry Byrne flying the flag for the older golfers as he took third after being edged out for second by Mullins on countback as both returned a score of 42pts.

Aidan Thornton (7) was the Category 1 winner with Kenneth Byrne (18) winning Category 2 and Charlie Beattie (18) taking Category 3.

Aaron Grant (-1) shot 38pts for the weekend’s best gross score as he produced a round that included birdies at the first, 12th and 18th and just one bogey at the par three 17th.    

Four pars over the first four holes gave Clarke a perfect start to his round as he had shots on three of those holes and he stood on the fifth tee with 11pts already in the bag.

But he failed to score at the first par three of the day and saw his early advantage whittled away. However, he has shown tremendous character this year in inter-club competitions and that was again evident as he bounced back from his set-back on five by taking 12 points from the next four holes to complete the front nine in 23pts.

After a two-point par at the sixth, he parred the seventh for three-points and then birdied the eighth for four points and birdied the ninth for three points.

Another three-point par followed at the index two 11th and he added three more three-points pars at the 15th, 16th and 18th. The par-threes were definitely not his favourite holes as he could only manage one-point bogeys at the 13th and 17th to come home in 20pts for an overall total of 43pts.

Mullins, who had played on Saturday, had set the score to beat when he returned a total of 42pts which included an eagle two for four points at the par four 14th, a three-point birdie at the fifth and three-point pars at the second, ninth, 10th, 12th, 15th, 17th and 18th. He scored on every hole but had to settle for one-point bogeys at the sixth and 13th where he didn’t have shots.

Byrne had cause to rue the par five sixth where he failed to score and the 11th where he had a double bogey for one point. Those were the only blemishes on an otherwise excellent card that included nine three-point pars.

Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Chris Clarke (10) 43pts, Conall Mullins (12) 42/23pts, Gerry J Byrne (19) 42pts. Category 1 (0-12): Aidan Thornton (7) 40pts, J E McEneaney (10) 38pts. Category 2 (13-18): Kenneth Byrne (18) 40pts, Ollie Reilly (17) 37pts. Category 3 (19+): Charlie Beattie (19) 41pts, Conor Marron (23) 38pts. Gross Recognition: Aaron Grant (+1) 38pts. CSS: Saturday 36pts, Sunday 36pts.

Teather triumphs as Ward left to rue disaster at 14th

The 14th hole at Dundalk Golf Club, with a stroke index of 18, is supposed to be the easiest hole on the course but, as any member, and quite a few visitors, will testify, it is anything but.

The short par four features a drive over a pond in front of the tee and if you don’t get your drive over the hill that dissects the fairway some 125 yards from the front of the green you won’t see what’s in front of you for your second shot. The green is well protected by a necklace of bunkers and subtle breaks come into play no matter what the pin position is.

Last Sunday, in the weekly Singles Stableford competition, it had a major say in the final outcome when two 14 handicappers, Derek Teather and Brian Ward, were tied on 41pts and returned back nines of 21pts after going out in 20pts. That meant the countback went to the final six holes where Teather pipped Ward by 14pts to 13pts to take the Overall Prize and his second big win of the season.

Ward had plenty of reasons to rue his visit to the 14th where he failed to score and where even a one-point bogey would have tied the back six count and sent the countback to the last three holes where he had a nine point to seven advantage over Teather.

Ward wasn’t alone in cursing the 14th hole that Sunday as 13 other players also failed to return a score which was the highest number of blanks recorded across the 18 holes.

Ward’s response to that disaster was to par the final four holes in a blistering finish that would normally have sealed the deal. But Teather was already in the Clubhouse after an excellent display of consistent golf that saw him score three points on six holes, two points on 11 and just one point at one hole. His three-point pars came at the second, eighth, ninth, 10th, 16th and 18th.    

Liam McGailey (11) was another player rueing what might have been as he also finished on 41pts. He stood on the 17th with 39pts to his name but proceeded to bogey the par three 17th for one point and double bogey the par for 18th for one point to come home in 20pts having covered the front nine in 21pts.

He did take the Category 1 Prize with Michael Noone (17) winning Category 2 and AJP Green (21) claiming Category 3. Conall Murdock (4) shot 36pts for the best gross score and Lee Egan (15) continued his excellent run of form by winning yet another Juvenile Prize.

Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Derek Teather (14) 41/21/14pts, Brian Ward (14) 41/21/13. Category 1 (0-12): Liam Mc Gailey (11) 41pts, Conall Murdock (4) 40pts. Category 2 (13-18): Michael Noone (17) 40pts, Anthony Tuite (13) 39/21pts. Category 3 (19+): AJP Green (21) 39pts, Ciaran Rafferty (20) 38pts. Gross Recognition: Conall Murdock (4) 36pts. Juvenile: Lee Egan (15) 31/16pts. CSS: Saturday 36pts, Sunday 36pts.

Runaway winners in Ladies Three Player Waltz

THE Ladies staged a Three Player Waltz on October 10 and 13 with 38 teams playing and the runaway winners were Mary Sinton (16), Laura Hackett (23) and Geraldine Hoare (28) with a score of 78pts. That was four better than Maura Coyle (32), Anne McDonnell (19) and Geraldine Mohan (33) with Angela McGuire (30), Bernie McCabe (17) and Una Connolly (35) a shot further back on 73pts. Deirdre Clarke (19) won the 9-Hole competition with 18pts.

THE Ladies Winter League starts on Saturday October 24 and Tuesday, October 27 and entry envelopes are available in the Locker Room. The closing date for entries is Wednesday, October 21.

 

Saturday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 13. 18 Hole Three Lady Waltz – Winners: Mary Sinton (16), Laura Hackett (23), Geraldine Hoare (28) 78pts. Second: Maura Coyle (32), Anne McDonnell (19), Geraldine Mohan (33) 74pts. Third: Angela McGuire (30), Bernie McCabe (17), Una Connolly (35) 73pts. 9 Hole Competition: Deirdre Clarke (19) 18pts, Sally Goodman (28) 15pts.

 

Rocks, McDonnell and Morrison are Ladies winners

BRID Rocks (21), Sally McDonnell (24) and Denise Morrison (38) were the category winners in the Ladies 18-Hole Stableford competition which was played, as usual, over Saturday and Tuesday.

Rocks won Category A with 37pts with a round that included five three-point pars as she went out in 19pts and returned in 18pts.

McDonnell took Category B and recorded two three-point pars and two three-point bogeys as she returned nines of 17pts and 18pts respectively and finished strongly with ten points over the final four holes after blanking the par four 14th.

Morrison was the Category C winner and her total of 34pts included a four-point par at the par four 15th as well as three-point returns from the four par-three holes.  

June Desmond (31) won the nine-hole competition shooting an impressive 21pts to win by six from Clodagh Greene (37).

THE Ladies Winter League will commence on Saturday, October 24 and Tuesday, October 27. Please enter by using the envelopes provided in the locker room and take time to read the notice regarding entering and registering your scores.

Saturday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 6 – 18 Hole Stableford Competition – Category A: Brid Rocks (21) 37pts, Juliette Morrison (16) 34pts, Anne McDonnell (19) 32pts. Category B: Sally McDonnell (24) 35pts, Olive Jones (25) 32/15pts, Mary Laverty (24) 32/15/11pts. Category C: Denise Morrison (38) 34pts, Noreen Mullins (30) 33pts, Grainne Gallagher (41) 32pts. 9-Hole Competition: June Desmond (31) 21pts, Clodagh Greene (37) 15pts. CSS: Saturday – 76 (reduction only), Tuesday  -75.

 

Greenan and Reid the winners in contrasting weather conditions

BARRY Grennan and Noel Reid were the weekend winners in the men’s competitions with Greenan taking Saturday’s Singles Stableford competition and Reid prevailing on Sunday when conditions were absolutely horrendous.

Grennan (13) won the Saturday event with 42pts which was three better than the rest of the field and was greatly assisted by a four point birdie three at the last as he shot 22pts down the back nine. He also managed to birdie the par three 13th on the way home for three points and also had three -returns at the 12th and 15th.  Grennan had gone out in 20pts having recorded three-point pars at the first, second, fourth and ninth  

Cathal Purcell (14) came closest to catching Grennan but had to settle for taking the Category Prize. He had gone out in 22pts having opened the front nine with four successive three-point pars and closed it with back to back three-point pars at the eighth and ninth. He then birided the 10th for another four points and, even though he had another four-point birdie at the 17th, he was left rueing his failure to pick up points at the 13th and 16th as he finished with 39pts.

Mark Gorham (4) claimed Category 1 with 38pts while David McDonnell (22) won Category 3 with 36pts and Lee Egan (15) took yet another Juvenile Prize with 38pts. Gorham also returned the best gross score of the day.  

Sunday was the complete opposite to Saturday from a weather point of view making Noel Reid’s round of 38pts one of the rounds of the year. The 14-handicapper got off to a steady start before recording his first three-point par at the fifth. Although he dropped a point at the next he picked up three-point pars at the seventh and eighth as he went out in 20pts.

Down the back he had three three-point pars at the 12th, 15th and 17th and could even afford a blank at the 14th and a one-point return at the last, from his only double-bogey of the day, as he came home in 18pts for a superb score of 38pts.

That was three better than David Lynch (11) who shot 35pts and also recorded the day’s best gross score while David Cairns (16) was third on 32pts. The CSS of 33pts showed just how tough conditions were.

Saturday, October 3 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Barry Grennan (13) 42pts. Category 1 (0-12): Mark Gorham (4) 38pts. Category 2  (13-18): Cathal Purcell (14) 39pts. Category 3 (19+): David McDonnell (22) 36/19pts. Gross Recognition: Mark Gorham 34pts. Juvenile: Lee Egan (15) 38pts.   CSS: 36pts.

Sunday, October 4 – Singles Stableford – Overall: Noel Reid (16) 38pts, David Lynch (11) 35pts, David Cairns (16) 32pts. Gross recognition: David Lynch 25pts. CSS 33pts: Reductions only.

 

McDonough wins Lait Cup after excellent round

JUDY McDonough (27) won the Lait Cup with a score of 39pts after she compiled an excellent round that saw her score at every hole after a slow start.

She began by taking a point from the first and second holes before picking up three points at the third. Two points followed at the fourth, fifth and sixth before she earned one point at the seventh. However, she finished the front nine strongly with three point returns at the eighth and ninth.

That saw her go out in 18pts and she really found her rhythm down the back nine where she had three point returns from pars at the 11th, 13th, 16th and 17th as she came home in 21pts for a final score of 39pts which left her two points clear of the field.

Juliette Morrison (16) took Category A with 35pts, Evelyn Fallon (26) won Category B with 37pts and Teresa Oakes (29) claimed Category C with 36pts. Anne Redehan (28) won the 9-Hole competition with 16pts.

Saturday September 26 Tuesday September 29 – Lait Cup Singles Stableford – Overall: Judy McDonough (27) 39pts. Category A: Juliette Morrison (16) 35pts, Bernie McCabe (17) 34/18/14, Fionnuala Dullaghan (20) 34/18/13. Category B: Evelyn Fallon (26) 37pts, Caroline Dunne (28) 35pts, Catherine Mullins (28) 34pts. Category C: Teresa Oakes (29) 36pts, Maura M. Coyle (32) 34/20, Geraldine Mohan (33) 34/16/11/5/3. 9 Hole Competition: Anne Redehan (28) 16pts, Anne O’Reilly (32) 15pts.  CSS: Saturday – 73/36pts, Tuesday – 74/35pts.