Pros battle it out at five events in week

Lahinch GC captains Jenny Cagney and Ian Slattery. The world famous links will again host the South of Ireland Championship from July 26-30.

It’s been a very busy week on the PGA Irish Region circuit with five events staged across seven days in four counties.

John Dwyer (Ashbourne GC) and Graeme Dunlea (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort) shared the spoils at the Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am in Cavan last Tuesday before the action moved south to Kerry where, the following day, Mark O’Sullivan cleaned up at the Tralee Pro-Am claiming both individual and team honours. The Piltown Driving Range pro carded a three-under-par 69 to hold off Kilkenny GC’s Jimmy Bolger by a shot at the Arnold Palmer-designed course.

Next stop was Kinsale Golf Club, where O’Sullivan continued his good form by taking the team honours for the second day in a row.

Kenny Fahey, head pro at the GUI Academy, won the Kinsale GC Pro-Am sponsored by Hyland Security Systems. Fahey, 31, carded a two-under-par 70, the only competitor to break par at the parkland venue.

It was a score that surprised even Fahey, who had taken a week’s holiday to compete on the PGA in Ireland circuit.

“Since taking up my new role at the academy I have not been playing as much and I suppose my expectations have been lower, so I’m delighted to claim the victory,” said the Carton House-based GUI Academy head pro.

Runner-up at two over par was Monkstown professional Cian McNamara, who had won the recent PGA Challenge Pro-Am at Carton House.

Good form told once again last Friday as the PGA pros headed north to Palmerstown Stud GC for the Palmerstown/Console Charity Pro-Am in association with EMB Copiers.

Ashbourne’s Dwyer followed up Tuesday’s share of the Slieve Russell victory by shooting a four-under-par 68 to claim joint first prize three days later with David Ryan (Cahir Park GC) and Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin GC).

The trio finished a shot ahead of John Kelly, James Quinliven and Kinsale Pro-Am winner Fahey.

Which brought us to Sunday’s Castlewarden Pro-Am as the pros moved across Kildare where a brilliant back nine of 29 sealed the deal for Glasson’s Colm Moriarty as he defended his title.

Moriarty had made the turn in one-under-par 36 before the back nine began with three birdies in a row on the way to a six-under 29 to win by two strokes from Eamonn Brady.

Next up for Moriarty are the two Europro Tour events in Ireland, at Concra Wood (July 23-25) and Mount Wolsley (July 30-August 1).

Top amateurs getting in swing for ‘South’ glory

While the pros look towards the two EuroPro Tour events on these shores in the next couple of weeks, leading amateurs are gearing up for the 113th South of Ireland Championship which will again be staged over the world famous links at Lahinch Golf Club from July 26-30.

Ireland’s oldest championship, the South has consistently attracted the best amateur golfers in the country as well as overseas entrants of a high calibre and Lahinch GC captain Ian Slattery is rightly proud of the tournament’s prominent place on the Irish golfing calendar.

“Played in mid-summer at peak holiday time in Lahinch, the South is generally regarded as the most enjoyable of the amateur ‘majors’ with many matches attracting large crowds and golf being the talk of the village throughout the week,” Slattery said.

Alas there will be no defending champion this year as last year’s winner Simon Ward turned pro after his 2013 victory but the tournament, sponsored by Clare Coast Hotels, will carry on regardless and Lahinch GC is again providing live scoring, in association with ClubApp Live, either through the club’s website www.lahinchgolf.com or by downloading the free app at https:// clubapplive.com/lahinchgc.

Kelly completes hat-trick

Maurice Kelly made it a hat-trick of Irish Seniors Close Championship wins at the weekend as he claimed his first victory in the Tourism Malaysia-sponsored event since 2010 with a final round 69 at Tullamore. The Naas GC golfer, who also won the inaugural tournament in 2009 before a successful defence the following year, started the final round two strokes behind leader Neville Steedman from Courtown but was soon six shots back after dropping shots on the first three holes, while the leader picked up a shot on the third. Then came a reversal of fortunes, as former Shamrock Rovers player Steedman began to drop shots, while Kelly carded five birdies in his next seven holes for an eight-stroke win over John Hughes, who finished one ahead of Alan Lilley and Steedman.

Girls’ Close title and Irish team places up for grabs

There will be Ireland team places as well as individual glory on the line at Shannon Golf Club this week as this island’s brightest female golfing talents gather for the Irish Girls’ Close Championship, starting tomorrow.

Julie McCarthy of Forrest Little will put her title on the line and faces a high-quality field which will also be looking to impress the Irish selectors ahead of the Girls Home International Matches, to be staged this year in Dublin on August 6-8 at Donabate Golf Club.

McCarthy, 15, will once again come up against last year’s runner-up and current Irish Girls Open Strokeplay champion, Olivia Mehaffey of Royal Co Down Ladies, while also in the field is Irish Ladies Close champion Mary Doyle from The Heath.

Both Doyle and Mehaffey were on the Irish ladies team at last week’s European Ladies Team Championship, while McCarthy’s team-mates from European Girls’ Team Championships are also in the field — Ciara Casey (Hermitage), Mairead Martin (Killarney), Niamh McSherry (Lurgan), Niamh Ward (Lurgan) and Chloe Weir (Shandon Park).

With the eight-girl home international panel being named after the Close there is plenty of incentive for a successful week over the 5,809-yard course by the Shannon Estuary.

The 84-player field will play 36 holes of strokeplay tomorrow with the top 32 players qualifying for the championship matchplay flight.


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