Golf: Seve heaps praise on Irish

Seve Ballesteros spoke in glowing terms about Ireland and the Irish people at the PGA Irish Region Centenary Banquet in the Burlington Hotel.

Seve Ballesteros spoke in glowing terms about Ireland and the Irish people at the PGA Irish Region Centenary Banquet in the Burlington Hotel.

The Spanish ace was there to collect a special award.

The PGA in Britain and Ireland is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and each region is holding a banquet to mark the occasion.

Individuals connected with golf are being honoured and, in all, 17 awards were presented at the Burlington on Tuesday night.

Ballesteros was there to receive the 'International Player' trophy. He got a standing ovation from the attendance of 440.

"I have been coming to Ireland for 25 years and I love it here," he said. "I hope to see more of Ireland as I am designing a course at the Heritage Centre in Portaloise. I am deeply honoured with this award and this is a moment I will always cherish."

Both amateur and professional golfers were included among the awards with

Des Smyth getting the 'Tour Professional' trophy.

The Drogheda man won the Moroccan Open this year as well as the Smurfit Irish Championship for the fifth time.

British Amateur Champion Michael Hoey got the Male Senior Player award but was not in attendance. He is currently in America brushing up on his game.

The huge Cavan Crystal Trophy was collected on Michael's behalf by his dad

Brian.

The female equivalent went to Irish, Leinster and Ulster champion Alison

Coffey from Warrenpoint who also won the international St Rule's Trophy this

season and who is a member of the present Curtis Cup squad.

The full list of winners is:

2001 Awards:

Female Juvenile Amateur - Heather Nolan (Shannon).

Male Juvenile Amateur - Michael McHugh (Ballinasloe).

Female Senior Amateur - Alison Coffey (Warrenpoiont).

Male Senior Amateur - Michael Hoey (Shandon Pk).

Order of Merit Winner - John Dwyer (Ashbourne).

Centenary Awards:

Pioneering - The late Michael Moran.

Champion - The late Harry Bradshaw.

Major - The late Fred Daly.

Ryder Cup - Christy O'Connor, sen.

Golf Course Architect - The late Eddie Hackett.

Female Amateur - Mary McKenna (Donabate).

Male Amateur - Joe Carr (Sutton).

PGA Teacher - Don Patterson.

Club Professional - Michael Doherty (City of Derry).

Tour Professional - Des Smyth

Services & Support for Irish Professional Golf - Dr Michael Smurfit.

International Player - Seve Ballesteros.

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