Top 100 list stirs pot

There’s nothing inhabitants of 19th holes across Ireland like more than a sporting debate and they, among others, will think Brian Keogh’s recently compiled list of the top 100 Irish amateur men is manna from heaven.

Top 100 list stirs pot

Irish Examiner contributor Keogh devised his own ranking formula for this unique celebration of Irish amateur golf, which has been published in the special 100th issue of Golf Digest Ireland.

No prizes for guessing the occupant of the number one ranking, three-time British Amateur champion and world golf hall of fame inductee Joe Carr, the winner of 40 championships; nor the number two choice of Jimmy Bruen or third-place Gareth McGimpsey, another Irish winner of the British Amateur.

Yet Keogh’s intention of stirring a little debate in clubhouses around this island will be realised as his painstakingly assembled list in Golf Digest Ireland’s centenary issue is pored over.

The spreadsheet initially comprised of winners and runners-up of Ireland’s big six championships — Close, Irish Amateur, East, West, South and North — and awarded points for each. Then the 400 names were whittled down, with further points given for Walker Cup points, Irish caps, performances in professional events, top performances in big international championships/tournaments, while account was also taken of the significant scratch cups as well as performances by Irish players on the US college scene.

“I then took into account the historical significance of the performances of many players I did not see in the flesh — they were many — and based on how they have been remembered, I factored in an X factor that would have had a significant impact on the ranking of some of our legendary names,” Keogh said.

“The bottom line is that it is merely a guide and the order is anecdotal in many respects. While there are 100 names, several dozen others merited inclusion. In short, the list was designed to provoke debate and remind us of the importance of Irish amateur golf. While many players now rush to the pro ranks, those who remain are part of the fabric of Irish golf.”

It is a laudable effort that makes for fascinating reading and Keogh might not stop there, despite the sleepless nights compiling the top 100 Irish amateur men.

“I may do a list of the Top 100 Irish Golfers of All Time and include men and women, both amateur and professional in that,” he said.

We look forward to it.

Joy of six for Power in Kilkenny Scratch Cup

Brazil got to keep the Jules Rimet Trophy after winning the World Cup for the third time in 1970 and Kilkenny Golf Club might consider handing over their Scratch Cup after clubman Eddie Power won it for the sixth time at the weekend on its 50th anniversary.

The 49-year-old’s half-dozen victories span three decades, the first coming in 1994 and adding three in four years between 1996-99. Another followed in 2004 and Power re-emerged as the Kilkenny Scratch Cup kingpin on Sunday as he finished the only golfer in the 66-player field to finish under par for the 36 holes, with rounds of 71 and 70 to close on one under at Glendine.

Power made a decisive move in the second round with a stretch of five birdies between the fourth and 12th holes and when nearest rival Richard Bridges bogeyed his 17th (the first) and hit trouble at his last hole, Power was champion once again, this time by three strokes, with fellow scratch golfer Cian Geraghty of Laytown/Bettystown second. Bridges (+2) finished third .

East Cork pair Macfarlane and Fleming relishing Gleneagles challenge

It will not be just Paul McGinley plotting a successful negotiation of Gleneagles in September. McGinley has a Ryder Cup campaign against the United States to plan for later in the month but a couple of weeks earlier, East Cork Golf Club’s PGA professional Don Macfarlane will also be heading to the famous Scottish resort after he and amateur playing partner Eric Fleming progressed to the Lombard Trophy grand final.

Macfarlane and Fleming won the Irish regional final, held at The K Club last week, the East Cork pair defeating Luttrellstown Castle’s Peter O’Hagan and Niall Carty on a countback after tying at five under par with a 67 over the Palmer Ryder Cup course.

And for Macfarlane the victory ended a wait of two decades to make his return to the Lombard Trophy grand final, which will be played at Gleneagles on September 3-4 and carries an £80,000 (€100,000) total prize fund.

“I got through to the final in the mid-90s when it was played at San Lorenzo in Portugal,” Macfarlane said. “We came eighth.

“It’s been a wait of around 20 years to get back to the final — I’m a little older and a little fatter now! But it’ll be a great experience to go and play at Gleneagles.

Eight-handicapper Fleming, 29, has only been a member at the Midleton club for a year.

“I’ve only been playing golf for three years, and last year I decided to follow my dad and join a club,” he said. “It’s been a good year so far, I’ve won a few competitions and my handicap has come down but this’ll be a trip of a lifetime.”

The K Club looks to foster young talent at junior camps

Talking of the K Club, a Ryder Cup venue itself in 2006, the Michael Dixon School of Golf there is looking to foster new golfing talent with the launch of The K Club’s Junior Golf Camps over the summer months, for young golfers aged from six to 16.

The school uses the latest ‘Snag Golf Learning Equipment’ and the teaching is adapted for two age groups, 6-10 and 11-16.

Suitable for beginners or those looking to improve, the camps take place on the Smurfit Course Driving Range and also incorporates the Smurfit Course Practice Facilities. The camp is in small groups of one coach to every seven students.

The camps run from June 30 to August 8, and cost €100 per child per week with three hours of coaching per day and healthy snacks and drinks also provided. For more details call The Golf Shop on (01) 6017321 or email golfshop@kclub.ie.

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