Passion pays for McDermott

Sometimes it takes a step back in order to move forward and that has certainly been the case for Michael McDermott.

Passion pays for McDermott

A successful amateur career for the Stackstown youngster looked to have set McDermott fair for the leap to the touring professional circuit, but five years of toil and near misses at the European Tour Q School prompted him to change direction.

“I’d been playing Tour events beforehand for about six years and just stopped enjoying it,” the 34-year-old said. “I love playing golf, but I don’t think you can play your game properly if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, so I decided to train as a PGA Assistant which meant I could also do more coaching. I just wanted to try different things. Now I feel much better about my game and I am enjoying playing again, so it’s worked out well.”

McDermott has been a qualified PGA Professional for two years, is currently teaching at Pure Golf Leopardstown and last week reached the final of the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship by winning the Irish qualifier at Killeen Castle. McDermott, fourth in last year’s Irish PGA Championship, won by two shots from Mark O’Sullivan (Piltown Driving Range) and Liam Bowler (Wexford Golf Club) after carding a one-under-par 71. All three will progress to a nine-player £78,700 Peugeot-supported final at Blairgowrie in Scotland from August 5-8.

“It was always going to be competitive with nine spots available for the final,” said McDermott. “Blairgowrie looks like a fantastic course.”

Griffin takes the spoils at Headfort

Waterford’s Eamon Griffin claimed the Headfort Golf Club Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday with five shots to spare to avenge his defeat to the host club’s Rory McNamara a month ago in Cork.

Griffin, 21, had finished runner-up to McNamara in the Lee Valley Scratch Cup but crossed the line in style at Headfort in the SuperValu-sponsored event with a four-round total of 288 around the club’s challenging Old and New courses. “I really wanted this win and now that it’s come its great,” Griffin said. “I had a wayward front nine on the second 18 (Old course) but birdied the 13th, 16th and 17th, which was the making of the win.”

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty was runner-up to Griffin on 293, finishing with his best round on the New course, a one-under 71. Sean O’Connor of Luttrelstown was a further four shots behind on 297 with Headfort’s Greg Mungovan in fourth on 301 and Laytown/Bettystown’s Cian Geraghty fifth on the same total.

O’Flaherty in top form

This year’s Ballybunion Senior Scratch Cup went to Cork Golf Club’s Gary O’Flaherty after a testing 36 holes over the famous Kerry links on Saturday.

In the most challenging of conditions O’Flaherty carded a morning 76 on the Cashen Course and followed with another 76 on the Old Course to claim first place.

The following day, the Intermediate Scratch Cup stayed closer to home with Ballybunion’s own Mark Dilger ~posting a 78 on the Old Course.

Kilkenny will be up to Scratch

There is just one month to go until many of Ireland’s leading amateurs converge on Kilkenny Golf Club for another of the country’s leading senior Scratch Cups, with this year’s edition shaping up to be a very special event.

The Kilkenny Senior Scratch Cup, sponsored by David Buggy Motors, celebrates its 50th anniversary on June 21 and an honour roll of past winners — including Joe Carr, Liam Higgins, John O’Leary, Pádraig Harrington and Damien McGrane — ensures there is always a competitive and top-class field for the 63-player event.

Five-time winner and Kilkenny native Eddie Power has already committed to competing at the Glendine venue, with the hosts’ captain Dennis Brophy looking forward to a landmark event.

“Quite an amount of planning and preparatory work by the Senior Scratch Cup committee has gone into the upgrading of the event in this special year to make it very much a special occasion for all of the participants,” Brophy said.

Details at www.kilkennygolfclub.com.

Irish players to the fore in Dubai amateur competition

There was plenty of Irish success at the Els Club in Dubai last week in the final of the major amateur competition, the Golf Care Matchplay Championship.

Dublin brothers Charles and Paul O’Callaghan, from Blessington Lakes Golf Club in Wicklow, won the Men’s Pairs thanks in part to Paul’s eagle on the eighth in the third and final round that helped them to a total of 126 points at 18 under par.

There was further Irish joy when Tom Muldoon from Cavan’s Cabra Castle Golf Club took the Men’s singles title with a score of 118, eight points clear of second place, at 10 under.

“I’d love to take this course back home to Ireland,” Muldoon said. “The greens are super, the fairways faultless and the staff are brilliant as well.

“I’ve tried to qualify for the last six years and this is my first trip.

The mixed pairs saw Woodbrook Golf Club husband and wife team Jeremy and Sarah Cleary finish joint runners up, two points behind winners Peter Fitzgerald and Leah Plester, an engaged couple from Essex.

Championship organisers are introducing a Plate event for next season for those that bow out of the first round in Dubai.

Entries are now open to all golfers who are members of a golf club in the UK & Ireland with handicaps below 28 (Men) and 36 (Women).

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