Impressive Whelan wins Dundalk Scratch Cup by five shots

Jake Whelan from Newlands produced a sublime performance to captured the 58th Dundalk Scratch Cup sponsored by One Finance.

The 26-year-old fired two three under par rounds of 69 to win by five shots from Cian Geraghty of Laytown & Bettystown and Roganstown’s Arron Edward-Hills on a day when a strong wind, tricky pins and slick greens presented a formidable challenge for the top class field.

Whelan led at the halfway stage after shooting an opening 69. The Dubliner, who has strong Dundalk connections, was two under after five holes following birdies at the first and fifth but dropped a shot on the par three ninth to turn in one under. Down the back he birdied the short par four 14th and the long par four 16th to come home in 34 and set the pace at three under.

That left him two shots clear of Dundalk’s Aaron Grant, Roganstown Aaron Edward-Hills, the 2018 North of Ireland winner, and Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan with Jack McDonnell of Forest Little and Daivd Shiel of Powerscourt a shot further back on level par.

 Grant, who won this competition in 2013, opened with a birdie on the 10th, his first hole, but turned level after bogeying the 18th. He responded to that setback with back to back birdies on the first and second and parred his way in to sign for a one under par 71.

Edward-Hills also began on the back nine and got off to a blistering start with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th to lie four under after six holes. A bogey at 16 interrupted his momentum but he still completed his first nine in three under par. He was still three under with two to play, after a bogey on five was cancelled out by a birdie on the par five seventh, but dropped to one under following a double bogey six on the tricky par four eighth where he three putted from close range.

The defending champion, Caolan Rafferty, who was bidding for his third successive title and fourth in all, went out in one under par thanks to a birdie on the par four 11th. However, a wayward tee shot on the first, his 10th, led to a double bogey six and that was followed by a bogey five on the next.

He got back to level par for the round with birdies on the third and sixth but a bogey on the par five seventh meant he came home in 38 for a first round total of one over par 73 which was matched by his playing partner Colm Campbell.

In the second round neither Rafferty or Campbell were able to mount a charge. Rafferty did birdie the ninth to turn level but fell away down the back nine and eventually finished on four over par with Campbell matching him.

Edward-Hills set the clubhouse lead when he carded a second round of level par 72 to finish on one-under and was joined by Laytown & Bettystown’s Cian Geraghty who shot a second round 69 to go with his 74 from the morning. After a bogey at the fourth moved him to three over, Geraghty birdied the sixth, eighth, 12th and 17th to move through to the pack into second.

If Whelan was feeling the pressure holding the halfway lead he didn’t show it. Starting his second round on the 10th he reeled off ten consecutive pars, including a sublime up and down from the back of the first green. Then he holed a long putt from the front of the second, his 11th, for birdie to move to four under.

Although he handed that back at the next with a bogey he showed his confidence on the par five sixth when hit a driver off the fairway from 260 yards out and left the ball eight feet from the pin. His eagle putt didn’t drop but his tap-in birde brought him back to four under and he then birdied the par five seventh to move to five under before finishing in style by sinking a birdie putt on his final hole, the par three ninth, to finish on six under.

“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Whelan afterwards. “It is one of the biggest Scratch Cups and there are some great names who have won it in the past. I am delighted for my family as we have strong links to the area and my father was a member here.

“I hit the ball well all day and I also putted well for a change,” said Whelan, who added that he intends to keep an appointment he had made last week for a putting lesson on Tuesday with Dundalk professional Leslie Walker.  

Final Leaderboard:  138 – Jake Whelan (Newlands) 69, 69. 143 – Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 74,        69; Arron Edward-Hills (Roganstown) 71, 72. Robert Moran (The Castle) 74, 70. Jack Mc Donnell (Forest Little) 72, 72. 146 – Dylan Keating (Seapoint) 75, 71; Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) 71, 75. 147 – Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) 74, 73. 148 – Sean Keeling (Roganstown) 77, 71; Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) 75, 73; Joseph Byrne (Baltinglass) 74, 74; Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) 73, 75; Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 73, 75; David Shiel (Powerscourt) 72, 76. 149 – Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin) 75, 74; 150 – Paul Conroy (Enniscorthy) 78, 72, Jason Rackard (Enniscorthy) 75, 75; Daniel Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) 75, 75; Aaron Grant (Dundalk) 71, 79.

Official Results: 1st Jake Whelan (Newlands) (+2) 138 (69/690).  2nd Cian Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) (+1) 143 (74/69) 3rd Aaron Edward-Hills (Roganstown) (+4) 143 (71/72). 4th Robert Moran (The Castle) (+4)           144 (74/70). Best Nett: Sean Keeling (Roganstown) (2) 144 (75/69). 1st 18  Gross: Geoffrey Lenehan (Portmarnock) (+3) 71/36. 1st 18 Nett: David Shiel (Powerscourt) (0) 72/37. 2nd 18 Gross: Dylan Keating (Seapoint) (+3) 71. 2nd  18 Nett: Graham Callaghan (Co Louth) (0) 72/36.

1st  Round CSS 76 reductions only

2nd Round CSS 74

ENDS

PHOTO: The 2020 winner of the Dundalk Scratch Cup Jake Whelan of Newlands Golf Club pictured with sponsor Martin McDonnell, Managing Director of One Finance, and Dundalk Golf Club Captain Trevor Giff. 

Senior Scratch Cup Timesheet

The timesheet for Sunday’s Dundalk Scratch Cup, sponsored by One Finance, has been published. To view it, please click on the link below.

Dundalk Scratch Cup 2020 Timesheet

Entries open on Thursday for Dundalk Scratch Cup 2020

 

Many of the top amateur players in Ireland will be heading to Dundalk on Sunday, September 13, determined to stop local hero Caolan Rafferty from winning his third successive One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup.

Only Rafferty (2018-19), JB Carr (1965-66) and Declan Brannigan (1972-73) have won back to back Dundalk Scratch Cups so the Dundalk player will be bidding to make history by becoming the first to win three-in-a-row in what will be the 58th staging of the event.

Entries will open on Thursday, August 27, for the tournament which is one of the longest running and most prestigious Senior Scratch Cups in the country with a roll of honour that includes three times Major winner Padraig Harrington.

Entries must be made through the Pro Shop at 042-9321731. The entry fee is €50 which includes soup and sandwiches after round one and a post tournament meal. The prize-fund is €2,500 with €250 for a course record and €150 for a hole in one. Entries will close on Wednesday, September 9.

Round One of the 36-hole tournament will tee off between 8am and 9.40am from the first and 10th tees with Round Two commencing at 1pm. Because of government restrictions no spectators will be permitted at the event with only the players and those involved in running the tournament allowed on the course.

Rafferty, who is currently ranked No.1 on the European Amateur Golf Rankings, is bidding for his fourth title in five years with Warrenpoint’s Irish international Colm Campbell the only player to have broken Rafferty’s dominance when he won in 2017.

Dundalk Golf Club Captain, Trevor Giff, said: “It has been a tough year for all our elite players because the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected their schedules, However, we know that many of them would have pencilled Dundalk in September into their diaries at the beginning of the year and we look forward to welcoming them to our course.”

Martin McDonnell, Managing Director of sponsors One Finance, said: “One Finance are delighted to be once again sponsoring the Dundalk Scratch Cup. It is a competition that has always attracted the top amateur golfers and it has certainly brought out the best in Caolan Rafferty over the last five years. He will be bidding for history this year which is going to make the event even more special than it usually is.”

ENDS THIS

PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured at the launch of the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup were (from left): Martin McDonnell, Managing Director, One Finance; Trevor Giff, Captain, Dundalk Golf Club; Caolan Rafferty, defending champion and John O’Sullivan, Head of Operations, Dundalk Golf Club.

Rafferty wins Scratch Cup for third time in four years

Caolan Raffertty

Caolan Rafferty has won One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup for the third time in four years after dominating proceedings over his home course today.

The 26-year-old Walker Cup player followed up a bogey-free five under par 67 in the first round of the 36 hole competition with a four under par 68 to finish on nine under and five clear of Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell in second place.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Rafferty afterwards. “I played really well and as Conor (Purcell) said I didn’t miss too many shots today. I put myself in good position off the tee and then hit my approach shots to within makeable positions. The birdies I did make, I chipped in twice, but the rest of them were pretty much straight-forward. Overall, it was pretty solid.”

Rafferty began his first round with five straight pars before birdieing the par five sixth and turned on two under after a birdie at the par four eighth. More birdies followed at the 10th and 14th before he sank a 15ft putt on the last for his fifth birdie of the round.

Campbell, who won in 2017, fired seven birdies on his way to an opening round of 68 which left him one shot behind Rafferty at the halfway mark of this 36 hole competition with Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly two shots further back after a two under par 70 which included a run of three birdies from the 10th.

Campbell drew level with playing partner Rafferty at the beginning of the second round when he birdied the opening hole to move to five under and then holed his ninth birdie of the day on the third to join Rafferty on six under after he too had a three at the par four hole.

But the Warrenpoint man, who won this competition in 2017, saw his challenge fade away as he bogeyed three of the next four holes to drop to three under while Rafferty moved to seven under by birdieing the par three fifth.
Immediately ahead of them, Knightly was also going backwards thanks to a double bogey seven at the sixth and a bogey five at the eighth.

Rafferty picked up shots at the 10th and 11th, where he chipped in, to move to nine under before having his first bogey in 32 holes when he chunked a chip on the short par four 14th and failed to get up and down.

“I’m still annoyed about the only bogey I made. I tried over the last two years to go around without a bogey but I bogeyed 16 last year and 14 this year for my only bogeys of the tournament. It would have been nice to go 36 holes without a bogey but that’s the joys of it and a win is a win at the end of the day.”

Rafferty got his round back to nine under on the last when, much to delight of the large home support, he drained a 30ft putt for his 10th birdie of the day to round off a highly impressive performance in which he seemed oblivious to the incessant rain that fell throughout the afternoon round.

The only other sub-70 round in the afternoon came from course record holder and last year’s runner-up, Gerard Dunne of Co Louth, who shot a three under par 69 to finish in third place overall, six shots adrift of the winner.

LEADERBOARD:
135 – Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 67, 68.
140 – Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) 68, 72.
141 – Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) 72, 69; Paul Conroy (Enniscorthy) 71, 70.
144 – Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 73, 71; Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) 71, 73; Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin) 70, 74.
145 – Jake Whelan (Newlands) 72, 73
146 – Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 76, 70; Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint) 71, 75;
147 – Eugene Smith (Portmarnock Links) 75, 72; Liam Grehan (Mullingar) 73, 74; Max Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 71, 76.

RESULTS
1st Caolan Rafferty (+6, Dundalk) 135 (67/68), 2nd Colm Campbell Jnr (+4, Warrenpoint) 140 (68/72), 3rd Gerard Dunne (+3, Co Louth) 141 (72/69), 4th Paul Conroy (+1, Enniscorthy) 141 (71/70). Best Nett: Fionntan Lawlor (3, Corballis) 145 (76/69). 1st 18 Gross: Richard Knightly (+2, Royal Dublin) 70. 1st 18 Nett: Liam Abom (1, Edmondstown) 70. 2nd 18 Gross: Eoin Murphy (+1, Dundalk) 70. 2nd 18 Nett: Lee Mitchell (2, Knock) 71/36. 1st Round CSS 74/75. 2nd Round CSS 74. Player name Handicap rd1 rd2 Total score

Full Results

Position-Name-Handicap-R1-R2-Total

1 RAFFERTY, CAOLAN -6 67 68 135

2 CAMPBELL, COLM JNR -4 68 72 140

3 Conroy, Paul -1 71 70 141

4 Dunne, Gerard -3 72 69 141

5 MCKINSTRY, MARC -1 73 71 144

6 KNIGHTLY, Richard -2 70 74 144

7 Purcell, Conor -5 71 73 144

8 Whelan, Jake -2 72 73 145

9 MURPHY, EOIN -1 76 70 146

10 COULTER, STEPHEN -2 71 75 146

11 Smith, Eugene -2 75 72 147

12 Grehan, Liam -2 73 74 147

13 Kennedy, Max -2 71 76 147

14 LENEHAN, GEOFFREY -3 74 74 148

15 Mitchell, Lee 2 76 73 149

16 CURRAN, CONOR 1 77 72 149

17 Carter, Shaun -2 75 74 149

18 GRANT, AARON -1 73 76 149

19 Dullaghan, Cian -2 73 76 149

20 Cullen, Gary -3 74 75 149

21 Boggan, Ciaran 1 75 75 150

22 Farrell, Evan -1 75 75 150

23 McCabe, Joshua -2 76 74 150

24 Lawlor, Fionntan 3 79 72 151

25 Shipp, Evan 1 72 80 152

26 Copeland, Gerard -1 74 78 152

27 ALDERDICE, ZAK 4 77 76 153

28 ABOM, LIAM 1 71 82 153

29 Geraghty, Cian 0 82 72 154

30 Pepper, Tomas 2 77 77 154

31 Coyle, Daniel 0 78 76 154

32 Mc DONNELL, CHARLIE 2 76 78 154 33

Holland, Daniel -2 72 82 154

34 GORHAM, MARK 3 75 80 155

35 Denvir, Charlie -2 75 80 155

36 Kelly, Tom S 2 78 78 156

37 HESSION, SHANE 3 77 79 156

38 McGlynn, Shane 1 79 77 156

39 BRENNAN, GERRY 4 76 80 156

40 Mulligan, Daniel 2 75 81 156

41 Plunkett, Thomas -1 77 79 156

42 MURDOCK, CONALL 5 77 80 157

43 Connell, Charlie 2 79 79 158

44 Doggett, Benjamin 1 79 79 158

45 RAFFERTY, KYLE 5 75 83 158

46 McCabe, Stephen 3 76 83 159

47 MacKELL, NEAL 3 75 84 159

48 Grant, Niall 2 82 78 160

49 Cully, Liam 3 81 79 160

50 O’Connor, Tadhg 3 81 79 160

51 Duffy, Bevan 2 83 78 161

52 Winters, David 1 77 85 162

53 HURLEY, ALAN 5 84 84 168

Caolan Rafferty receives the Dundalk Scratch Cup from Dundalk Golf Club Captain Pat Davis and Event Sponsor, Martin McDonnell of One Finance.

Rafferty leads Scratch Cup after bogey-free 67

Caolan Rafferty leads the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup after this morning’s opening round.


The 26-year-old Walker Cup player shot a bogey-free five under par 67 over his home course and holds a one-shot lead over Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell going into this afternoon’s second round.


Rafferty, who is bidding for a third win in four years, opened with five straight pars before birdieing the par five sixth and turned on two under after a birdie at the par four eighth. More birdies followed at the 10th and 14th before he sank a 15ft putt on the last for his fifth birdie of the round.

Campbell, who won in 2017, fired seven birdies on his way to an opening round of 68 which left him one shot behind Rafferty at the halfway mark of this 36 hole competition.
Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightley is lying third three shots off the lead after a two under par 70 which included back to back birdies at the third and fourth and a run of three successive birdies from the 10th.

He is one shot clear of a group of five players on 71 which includes Australian Amateur champion Conor Purcell, who played alongside his Walker Cup teammate Rafferty and Ireland international colleague Tiarnan McLarnon. Purcell ended up on one under despite shooting three birdies over his first seven holes.

The second round takes place this afternoon.

LEADERBOARD: 67 – Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk); 68 – Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint); 70 – Richard Knightley (Royal Dublin); 71 – Max Kennedy (Royal Dublin), Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint), Liam Abom (Edmondstown), Conor Purcell (Royal Dublin), Paul Conroy (Warrenpoint). 72 – Evan Shipp (Headfort), Jake Whelan (Newlands), Daniel Holland (Castle), Gerard Dunne (Co Louth).

DETAILED ROUND 1 SCORES
Place Player name (H’cap) Score Front Back

1 RAFFERTY, CAOLAN (-6) 67 34.0 33.0
2 CAMPBELL, COLM JNR ] (-4) 68 33.0 35.0
3 KNIGHTLY, Richard (-2) 70 36.0 34.0
4 Kennedy, Max (-2) 71 38.0 33.0
5 COULTER, STEPHEN (-2) 71 37.0 34.0
6 ABOM, LIAM (1) 71 35.0 36.0
7 Purcell, Conor (-5) 71 34.0 37.0
8 Conroy, Paul ( -1) 71 33.0 38.0
9 Shipp, Evan (1) 72 35.0 37.0
10 Whelan, Jake (-2) 72 35.0 37.0
11 Holland, Daniel (-2) 72 35.0 37.0
12 Dunne, Gerard (-3) 72 34.0 38.0
13 GRANT, AARON (-1) 73 38.0 35.0
14 Grehan, Liam (-2) 73 37.0 36.0
15 MCKINSTRY, MARC (-1) 73 37.0 36.0
16 Dullaghan, Cian (-2) 73 36.0 37.0
17 LENEHAN, GEOFFREY (-3) 74 39.0 35.0
18 Cullen, Gary (-3) 74 39.0 35.0
19 Copeland, Gerard (-1) 74 36.0 38.0
20 Keating, Dylan (-3) 74 36.0 38.0
21 Carter, Shaun (-2) 75 39.0 36.0
22 Boggan, Ciaran (1) 75 39.0 36.0
23 Denvir, Charlie (-2) 75 38.0 37.0
24 RAFFERTY, KYLE (5) 75 38.0 37.0
25 MacKELL, NEAL (3) 75 38.0 37.0
26 GORHAM, MARK (3) 75 38.0 37.0
27 Mulligan, Daniel (2) 75 38.0 37.0
28 Smith, Eugene (-2) 75 38.0 37.0
29 Farrell, Evan (-1) 75 35.0 40.0
30 MACKIN, JOSH (-1) 76 39.0 37.0
31 McCabe, Stephen (3 ) 76 39.0 37.0
32 Mitchell, Lee (2) 76 39.0 37.0
33 BRENNAN, GERRY (4) 76 38.0 38.0
34 MURPHY, EOIN (-1) 76 37.0 39.0
35 Mc DONNELL, CHARLIE (2) 76 36.0 40.0
36 McCabe, Joshua (-2) 76 35.0 41.0
37 MURDOCK, CONALL (5) 77 40.0 37.0
38 ALDERDICE, ZAK (4) 77 40.0 37.0
39 CURRAN, CONOR (1) 77 39.0 38.0
40 LAWLOR, BRENDAN (0) 77 39.0 38.0
41 MURPHY, MAURICE J 3 77 39.0 38.0
42 Pepper, Tomas (2) 77 39.0 38.0
43 Plunkett, Thomas (-1) 77 39.0 38.0
44 HESSION, SHANE (3) 77 39.0 38.0
45 Winters, David (1) 77 38.0 39.0
46 McLarnon, Tiarnan (-4) 77 38.0 39.0
47 Kelly, Tom S (2) 78 42.0 36.0
48 Coyle, Daniel (0) 78 42.0 36.0
49 O’CALLAGHAN, NIALL (2) 78 41.0 37.0
50 WALSHE, CLEM (4) 78 39.0 39.0
51 Connell, Charlie (2) 79 42.0 37.0
52 McGlynn, Shane (1) 79 40.0 39.0
53 Lawlor, Fionntan (3) 79 40.0 39.0
54 Doggett, Benjamin (1) 79 38.0 41.0
55 Cully, Liam (3) 81 42.0 39.0
56 O’Connor, Tadhg (3) 81 40.0 41.0
57 Geraghty, Cian (0) 82 44.0 38.0
58 Cullen, Christopher (3) 82 43.0 39.0
59 Grant, Niall (2) 82 43.0 39.0
60 ROGERS, PETER (2) 82 42.0 40.0
61 LAVERTY, JOSEPH (6) 83 43.0 40.0
62 Duffy, Bevan (2) 83 41.0 42.0
63 HURLEY, ALAN (5) 84 44.0 40.0
64 Tracey, Ciaran (2) 85 41.0 44.0

CSS 74 Home, 75 away

Walker Cup stars heading for Dundalk Scratch Cup

Walker Cup and Ireland stars Caolan Rafferty, James Sugrue and Conor Purcell will switch from being teammates to rivals this Sunday (September 15) when they tee it up at the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup at Dundalk Golf Club.
Last weekend the trio were part of the Great Britain & Ireland team in the Walker Cup at Hoylake before travelling to Lahinch to represent Ireland in the Home Internationals.
The presence of three players from the World’s top 60 is sure to attract big crowds to Dundalk for the 36 hole tournament which will have shotgun starts at 9am for Round 1 and 2pm for Round 2.
Rafferty is the defending champion and is bidding to win a third title in four years while Sugrue from Mallow is the Amateur champion and Portmarnock’s Purcell is the Australian Amateur champion.
The three Walker Cup players will start as favourites but there are plenty of players in the star studded field that will fancy their chances of lifting the famous trophy. Previous champions include the likes of three-time major winner Padraig Harrington while another former Walker Cup players, David Sheahan, was the first winner in 1963.
Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell won the event in 2017 while Co Louth’s Gerard Dunne set a new course record in last year’s second round and both will be expected to feature strongly as will another former winner, Gary Cullen, while current Boys’ internationals Max Kennedy and Dylan Keating will see this as their opportunity to make their senior breakthrough.
Rafferty will lead a strong home challenge into this year’s competition as members of the club’s senior panel will be battling to nail their places in next week’s All-Ireland Barton Shield semi-final against Rosses Point in Westport. Over their home course, the challenge of Aaron Grant, Eoin Murphy, Josh Makin and Brendan Lawlor cannot be underestimated. 
The greenkeeping staff at Dundalk have been working hard over the last few weeks to have the course in top shape for Sunday and Dundalk Captain Pat Davis said everybody is looking forward to the event.
“We have a great field this year and are delighted that James Sugrue and Conor Purcell are able to play given their busy schedules. The course is in superb condition and we are expecting a lot of people to come out and take advantage of the opportunity to see some of our top amateur golfers in action,” he said.

Rafferty wins One Finance Dundalk Scratch Cup

LOCAL hero Caolan Rafferty won the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup for the second time in three years at Dundalk Golf Club.

The 25-year-old shot two rounds of 68 for an eight under par total of 136 to win his home tournament by six shots from Co Louth’s Gerard Dunne, who stormed through the field after an opening 79 to take second place on two under thanks to a course record nine under par 63 in the second round.

In the morning, Rafferty had covered the opening nine in one-under par after an eagle three at the par five sixth and a bogey at the par four eighth and he then birdied the 10th, 14th and 18th on the way in to take lead after the opening round on four under.

That left him two shots ahead of Max Kennedy, Tom McKibben and Evan Farrell who all shot two under par 70s while Eanna Griffin was a shot further back on 71.

However, none of the chasers managed to mount an attack on Rafferty in the afternoon with Kennedy shooting 81, McKibben 83 and Farrell 80 to drop out of contention while Griffin managed a level par 72 to finish on one under.

During the second round Rafferty moved to five under with a birdie at the par four second but then bogeyed the par three fifth. However, back to back birdies at the sixth and seventh saw him turn in six under for the tournament and he got to nine under with three to go after birdies at 10, 14 and 15.

But Rafferty, who was playing his sixth competitive round in five days having been away with Ireland at the Home Internationals in Wales, admitted the fatigue finally caught up on him on the par three 17th when he overcooked his pitch from the right of the green and took two putts for a bogey four,

He then missed the par four 18th green with his approach but found enough energy to get up and down for par and finish on eight under and six clear of Dunne.

“It was two steady rounds,” said Rafferty afterwards. “I was slow to get going but the eagle on six gave me the kick-start I needed. In the second round after I birdied 10 I had chances on 11, 12 and 13 and just missed. A couple of years ago that would have got me down, I would have been upset that I didn’t get one of them and the whole round would have gone to pot. But I stuck at it and birdied 14 and 15. Seventeen was when the tiredness really kicked-in and the concentration levels were really low but it was nice to hole a putt for par on the last and not finish with a bogey.”

Rafferty acknowledged that his win in this tournament two years ago kick-started his emergence as one of the top players in the country during which he has established himself as an international squad member and captured this year’s South of Ireland Championship, his first major title.

“I started this year by winning the Laytown & Bettystown Scratch Cup, I’ve won the South of Ireland Championship and now I have won this so it’s nice to have won those trophies and the Inter-Varsities Cup as well. It has been a good year even though I missed a couple of cuts at the wrong time of the year but I didn’t get down on myself. I am maturing and accepting what will be, will be,” said Rafferty.

He will now take a break from golf before returning next month to lead Dundalk’s bid for a first national title at senior level when they compete in the AIG Barton Shield All-Ireland Finals at Thurles Golf Club.

“It’s been a long year, the body is starting to ache a little bit so I’m looking forward to a bit of a break before the Barton Shield.”

Dunne’s course record in the afternoon, when he shot a bogey free nine under par 63, was one better than the previous best set by Dundalk’s Aaron Grant last year.

It was also a massive 16 shots better than his first round total of 79 in the morning but it was during that round that the seeds were sown for his record score.

“I was not swinging it well the last few weeks but I figured something out on the 16th this morning and when I was going down the first in my second round I said to Evan Farrell that I was going to birdie every second hole and shoot nine under. I’m glad I kept my word,” said Dunne who finished six shots behind Rafferty in second place on two under.

Dunne’s 63 was made up of seven birdies and an eagle at the par five 10th when he holed a putt from off the green after a 3 wood approach shot.

The presentation of the Dundalk Scratch Cup took place in the clubhouse where Caolan Rafferty was presented with the trophy by sponsor Martin McDonnell of One Finance and Dundalk Captain Gerry Byrne.

DUNDALK SCRATCH CUP sponsored by One Finance: 136 – Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 68, 68. 142 – Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) 79, 63. 143 – Joshua Robinson (Lisburn) 72, 71; Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 71, 72; 146 – Conor Curran (Dundalk) 75, 71; John McCarthy (The Island) 74, 72; Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown) 75, 71; 147 – G McAuley (Dunmurry) 76, 71; Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock) 75, 72; Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 74, 73; Aaron Marshall (Lisburn) 72, 75; Ronan McCrory (Lisburn) 79, 69.

Best Nett: Conor Curran (1, Dundalk) 144 (74/70)

First 18 Gross: Max Kennedy (+2, Royal Dublin) 70/33

First 18 Nett: Evan Farrell (Scr, Ardee) 70

Second 18 Gross: Ronan McCrory (Scr, Lisburn) 69

Second 18 Nett: Ronan Cowhey (2, Elm Park) 70.

CSS: 73 (Round 1), 73 (Round 2).

 

 

Rafferty bidding for second Dundalk Scratch Cup victory

Pictured at the launch of the 2018 Dundalk Scratch Cup sponsored by One Finance were (from left): Pat Cleary (Lady Captain); Martin McDonnell (One Finance), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk & Ireland), Niall McDonnell (One Finance) and Gerry Byrne (Captain).

SOUTH of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty will be the big draw when the One Finance sponsored Dundalk Scratch Cup takes place this Sunday (September 16) over 36 holes at Dundalk Golf Club.

Since he first won the competition in 2016, Rafferty has firmly established himself as one of the top amateur players in Ireland and is currently the second highest ranked Irishman in the World Amateur Golf Rankings where he sits this week in 63rd place.

He will head home to Dundalk after spending the earlier part of this week in the Welsh seaside resort of Conwy as part of an Irish team looking to win the Home Internationals for a fifth year in a row.

Last year, Rafferty had to settle for third place behind Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell in his defence of a title that includes the likes of three times major winner Padraig Harrington among its former champions since its inception in 1963 when David Sheahan was the first winner.

Rafferty’s presence alone is sure to guarantee a large crowd at Dundalk on Sunday as the locals avail of a rare opportunity to see the 25-year-old in competitive action over his home course.

Rafferty will lead a strong home challenge into this year’s competition with all eight members of Dundalk’s Senior Panel included in the field as they battle for places in next month’s All-Ireland Barton Shield semi-final at Thurles Golf Club.

Entries are still open but the field already includes plenty of quality with the likes of Colin Woodroofe, Aaron Marshall, Eugene Smith, Max Kennedy, TJ Forde, Jack McDonnell and Cian Geraghty among the early entrants for an event that is firmly established as one of the top Scratch Cups in the country.

The greenkeeping staff at the Dundalk have been working hard over the last few weeks to have the course in top shape for Sunday and the course record of 64, which was set last year by Aaron Grant, could be under threat.