Mackin is Club Champion

 Josh Mackin’s rich vein of form continued on Saturday when he won the Club Championship and in the process moved his handicap to plus one for the first time in his career.

The 17-year-old, who recently won the Ulster Boys Championship, shot rounds of 70 and 71 to take the title by two shots from the defending champion, Araon Grant with Irish international and current holder of West of Ireland and South of Ireland Championships, Caolan Rafferty, in third place a shot further back.

Mackin started slowly and was three over after four holes and although he got one back with a birdie at the sixth he gave it back at the ninth as he turned in three over par 39. A birdie on the par five 10th got him back to two over before he produced a remarkable run of six consecutive threes to cover the final six holes in four under as he came home in five under par for 31.

That left him leading after the first round by three shots from Grant and Eoin Murphy who both shot 73 with Brendan Lawlor a shot further back. Caolan Rafferty found himself five off the lead after a three over par 75.

Rafferty, however, responded in the second round with a three under par 69, the only sub-70 round of the tournament while Grant shot a two under par 70 and Murphy and Lawlor botrh carded 71s as the chasing pack tried to put pressure on the teenage leader.

Mackin, however, held his nerve in the second round although he once again struggled on the front nine. Despite starting with four successive pars and birdieing the sixth, he dropped shots at the fifth, seventh and ninth to turn in 39. However, birdies at two par fives, the 10th and 12th, and an eagle two on short par four 14th got him under par for this round and although he birdied the 15th, he handed that back when he bogeyed 17.

He came home in 32 for a second round total of 71 and finished on three under with a total score of 141. That was enough to get his handicap below scratch as he becomes the fourth Dundalk player currently playing off a plus handicap.

Six members of the Senior Panel took part in Sunday’s Warrenpoint Scratch Cup where Caolan Rafferty finished second after round 70 and 69. Rafferty has been named in the GUI Squad for the St Andrews Links Trophy in Scotland from June 7 to 9.

Saturday, May 11 – Club Championship: 141 – Josh Mackin (70, 71). 143 – Aaron Grant (73, 70). 144 – Caolan Rafferty (75, 69), Eoin Murphy (73, 71). 145 – Brendan Lawlor (74, 71). 149 – Neal MacKell (75, 74), Peter Rogers (75, 74).

 

Rafferty regains Club Championship

Caolan Rafferty

 

Caolan Rafferty regained the Club Championship on Saturday when shot a seven under par total of 137 to win the 36 hole event by nine shots from fellow plus player Aaron Grant.

Rafferty, who plays off plus four, shot a bogey free five under par 67 in his morning round and was four under par and bogey free after 15 holes of his second round before three putting the 16th and 17th and finishing with a two under par 70.

“After going for 33 holes without a bogey I was really disappointed to let it slip with three holes to go as I was trying to get around again in the afternoon without a bogey,” said Rafferty, who is currently finishing off his first year exams at Maynooth University before heading to Royal County Down on Thursday for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open and the start of a busy period of tournament golf at home and abroad.

Aaron Grant, who is now off plus three, was battling a head cold as well as the course and in the circumstances did remarkably well to produce two rounds of 73 to take second place. Conor Curran (2) took the best nett with a score of 145 after nett rounds of 73 and 72.

Saturday, May 12 – Club Championship (36 Holes): 137 – Caolan Rafferty (+4) 137 (67, 70), 146 – Aaron Grant (+3) 146 (73, 73). Best Nett: Conor Curran (2) 145 (73,72). CSS: 73 (Round 1), 76 (Round 2).

 

New course record and Club Championship for Grant

Aaron Grant

Aaron Grant set a new course record on his way to winning the Club Championship on Saturday.

The plus one handicapper shot a bogey free eight under par 64 in the first round of the 36 hole event and a level par second round saw him finish on eight under and five shots ahead of Caolan Rafferty.

Grant ‘s new course record included back to back birdies at the second and third and he also birdied the par five sixth and seventh to turn in 32. Birdies followed at 10 and 11 before he recorded his only five of the day when he parred the 12th. Another birdie at the 15th took him to seven under and he finished his record breaking round with his eighth birdie at the last.

Rafferty, who teed it up after spending five days at the North of Ireland Championship, shot a two-under par 70 in the opening round to lie six shots behind Grant and conditions got tougher for the afternoon ‘s second round as a strong south westerly wind swept across the course,.

That suited Grant and he posted a level par 72 to set a target of eight under for the chasers. Grant’s second round included four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Rafferty was only able to reduce the deficit by one shot after a one under par 71 but it was good enough to claim runners-up spot.

Grant and Rafferty will now turn their attentions to this week’s Barton Shield Leinster Finals in Kilkenny as the club bids for its first provincial pennant in this inter-club competition for elite golfers. Eoin Murphy, Josh Mackin and Richie Newell are the other players who have featured on the journey to this stage and managers Alan McCabe and John Conlon were interested spectators as Saturday’s Club Championship unfolded.  Dundalk will face Portmanrock in Friday’s quarter-final with the semi-final scheduled for the afternoon and the final taking place on Saturday.

Saturday, July 15 – Club Championship: 136 – Aaron Grant (+1) (64,72). 141 – Caolan Rafferty  (+4) (70,71). Best Nett: 139 – Conall Murdock (9) (70,69). CSS Round 1: 73,
CSS Round 2: 74.