Ireland retain International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort

May 22, 2018

Team Ireland pictured with Maurice Hetherington, Captain, Lough Erne GC

Ireland wrapped up a third successive International King’s Cup victory following the final day of competition at Lough Erne Resort.
Supported by Tourism NI, the International King’s Cup is a Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer.
This year, 12-man teams (six pairs) of club golfers from Ireland and the USA went head-to-head at the Sir Nick Faldo designed course in Co. Fermanagh.
Ireland dominated the fourball and greensomes session on Wednesday and Thursday to take a huge lead into the final day singles.
Under King’s Cup rules, players receive two points for a hole won, one point each for a hole halved and nothing for a lost hole. Ireland needed just 176 points from the final 12 singles matches to pass the winning mark of 433 points.
“It was a brilliant week, really, really enjoyed it,” said Donegal born, O’Gallachoir who is the GM at Dunmurry Springs GC in Kildare.
“It was a great chance to meet up with lads from across Ireland and the US. We’ll keep in touch now in the future.”

Team USA got off to a great start in the singles when Brad Garrett (Falls GC, Missouri) won the opening match against Martin White (Woodstock GC) but there was no sign of a dramatic fight back.
Bob Daddano (Maple Meadows GC, Illnois) beat Liam Byrne (Hermitage GC) and Matt McDevitt (Arroyo Trabuco Mission Viejo, California) defeated Colin O’Leary (Cill Dara GC), who managed a hole in one at the third, but that was as good as it got for the USA.
“It has been a wonderful trip, the people are amazing, the facilities, the tournament it is very professional and we had a great team,” said California based McDevitt.
“I won four up today. I just had a good day on the course, every once and while you have those days.”
Ireland set about chipping away at their points target and wins for Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC) and Michael Ryan (Tipperary GC) plus further victories for Sean O’Gallachoir (Cloughaneely GC), Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) and Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) set up Martin Smyth (Druids Heath) to grab the winning points from his halved match with Bob Silvestri (Addison and Flossmoor CC, Illinois).
“We would love to win but the camaraderie that developed amongst the players is the most important thing,” said US Team Captain, Bob Butte.
“The values that Mr Palmer displayed throughout his career, his integrity, sportsmanship and commitment to excellence is at the heart everything we try to do with this event
“We always had ambitions to bring this event to the States and we’d love to see that happen next year. We will have 90 degree heat, we will play on bermuda grass and we will turn this thing around.”

Team USA and Team Ireland at the conclusion of the International King’s Cup

Final results
Fourballs: Ireland 127 USA 89
Foursomes: Ireland 130 USA 86
Singles: Ireland 228 USA 204
Final total: Ireland 485 USA 379

Team USA 
Open Championship Flight
Frank Gambaro & Gene Hart (both Aberdeen Golf Course, Eureka, Missouri)
Senior (50 +) Championship Flight
Bill Daddono & Bob Silvestri (Maple Meadows Golf Course, Addison and Flossmoor CC Flossmoor, Illinois)
Open Flight A (5-9.9)
Ankur Amin & Chris Devine (Otter Creek and Coldwater, Ames, Iowa)
Senior (50+) Flight A
Mike Broksch & Ron Schroeder ( Grand Palms Golf Resort, Pembroke Pines, Florida)
Open Flight B (10-14.9)
Matt McDevitt & Brian McDevitt (Arroyo Trabuco Mission Viejo and Tijeras Creek Rancho Santa Margarita, California)
Senior (50+) Flight B
Brad Garrett & Darryl Henson (Falls Golf Club and Falls Golf Course, O’Fallon, Missouri)

Team Ireland
Open Championship Flight
Ryan Gribben & David Barron (Warrenpoint GC)
Senior (50 +) Championship Flight
Martin Smyth and Liam Byrne (Druids Heath GC/Hermitage GC)
Open Flight A (5-9.9)
Declan McKeever and Darren McKeever (Donegal GC)
Senior (50+) Flight A
Michael Ryan and Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC)
Open Flight B (10-14.9)
Sean O’Gallachoir and Colin O’Leary (Cloughaneely GC/Cill Dara GC)
Senior (50+) Flight B
Oliver McNamara and Martin White (Ennis GC/Woodstock GC)


It’s Tom versus the Shot Clock on the European Tour

May 20, 2018

Tom McKibbin

Holywood GC’s rising star, Tom McKibbin, will make his European Tour debut at the innovative new Shot Clock Masters tournament at Diamond Country Club in Altzenbrugg, near Vienna, on June 7-10.
The 15-year-old from Newtownabbey has caught the attention of the golfing world with a string of international victories, most recently at the 2018 Junior Honda Classic (U18) and The Faldo Major Champions Invitational, both in the United States
The Irish boys international became one of the youngest players ever to tee it up on the European Challenge Tour in 2016, aged just 13 years and 222 days when he played in the Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Castle.
Now, Tom will tee it up in the first event of its kind, one that will see every shot timed as part of the European Tour’s bid to combat slow play.
He said: “It is very exciting to play on the European Tour for the first time, and especially in the first ever tournament like this. Teeing it up at Diamond Country Club will be an amazing experience, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the shot clock technology and how the whole event works.

“I’m in favour of fast play and I consider myself to be a fast player so I think the idea behind the Shot Clock Masters could be great for the future of golf.

“I’m grateful to the European Tour and the promoters of the Shot Clock Masters for giving me this opportunity. It is my dream to play on the European Tour in the future and I can’t wait to experience the environment and take the chance to learn as much as I can from the players in Austria.”
Tom has experienced life on the European Tour in the past, playing alongside Rory McIlroy in the Pro-Am at the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, and is looking forward to making his tournament debut.

The 2018 Shot Clock Masters will be the first tournament in professional golf to use a shot clock on every shot.
The European Tour experimented with a shot clock on one hole at the inaugural GolfSixes in 2017 – a move which proved popular with both players and fans.
In a marked difference to the GolfSixes model this tournament will embrace the Tour’s official timing policy (similar to policies used across the world of professional golf) over 72 holes, with an intent to showcase a European Tour event played at a more compelling pace.
In accordance with this official policy, each player in the field will have 50 seconds for a first to play approach shot (including par 3 tee shot), chip or putt and 40 seconds for a tee shot on a par 4 or par 5 or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.
Players will incur a one-shot penalty for each bad time incurred and these will be shown as a red card against their name on the leaderboard.
Each player will have the right to call two-time extensions during a round which will permit them twice the usually allotted time to play the shot.
In 2016 the European Tour pledged to speed up the game of golf, introducing a new pace of play policy which included monitoring penalties, handing referees additional powers to target slow players. This policy had an immediate effect, leading to a visible reduction in round times, and the additional development in Austria could have an even more dramatic impact.
It is hoped the move will cut round times by around 45 minutes, reducing three-ball timings to approximately four hours, and two-balls to around three hours 15 minutes.

Lahinch gets the nod to host Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2019

May 17, 2018

Paul McGinley pictured with the ‘Lahinch Goat’ on a recent visit to Lahinch Golf Club
Credit – Lahinch Golf Club

The 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played at Lahinch Golf Club from July 4-7, 2019, the European Tour announced today, following consultation with next year’s tournament host Paul McGinley, tournament sponsor Dubai Duty Free, and local stakeholders.
It will be a landmark moment for Ireland’s national Open when it lands on the shores of County Clare for the first time in its 91-year history, building on the vision of the European Tour and title sponsors Dubai Duty Free to take the event to Ireland’s greatest links courses.
As a Rolex Series event, the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will once again feature a minimum prize fund of $7 million and will attract a world-class field to Lahinch Golf Club, providing a huge boost to the local and national economy.
The tournament enters a new era next year when McGinley leads a rotation of Irish golfing legends – Major champions Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell – in the hosting role, taking over the mantle from Rory McIlroy. The four-time Major champion’s charity, the Rory Foundation, has successfully hosted the tournament since 2015.
The winning 2014 Ryder Cup Captain will host at a venue for which he holds a great affinity, having triumphed at Lahinch as an amateur when he claimed the South of Ireland Championship in 1991.
The Dubliner will be aided in his preparations for the 2019 event by his close friend and one of his Vice-Captains during The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Des Smyth, who was recently announced as Tournament Ambassador, a role which will see him help in the marketing and promotion of the event for the next four years as well as aid a successful transition between each of the hosts.
Paul McGinley said: “Lahinch is one of Ireland’s truly iconic links golf courses and I am delighted to be taking the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open there. Embedded in the history of Irish amateur golf, as well as in the hearts of our many international visitors, it now deservedly gets the opportunity to showcase itself on the world stage.

“We are very proud of our great links courses in Ireland and Lahinch has evolved to rank as one of the very best. It will challenge some of the game’s best players to produce skill, creativity and a mindset rarely tested in professional tournaments.

“The club and the community have left no stone unturned in embracing the idea of hosting the tournament and I look forward to working with them over the next 14 months to put in place a tournament that will honour a great venue, town and people in what is a stunning part of the Irish southwestern coastline.”
The 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will also represent the first year of a partnership between the European Tour Foundation and the respective hosts to provide a programme of charitable support across the country.
Ambitious fundraising targets will be set to support various projects throughout the island of Ireland including the host’s own Foundations, environmental issues, local and national charities, education and the development of both grassroots and elite junior golf programmes.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “I am delighted to announce today that the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played at Lahinch Golf Club, continuing our desire to take the tournament to Ireland’s great links.
“We extend our grateful thanks to everyone at the golf club, the local authorities in County Clare and everyone in the south west of Ireland for coming together to make this happen. The tournament is one of the great and historic events on the European Tour, raised to a new level in recent times by the commitment of our title sponsor Dubai Duty Free and its Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin, alongside the support of our own Rory McIlroy in recent years.
“Now the hosting baton has been handed over to Paul McGinley and it would be remiss of me not to mention the hard and meticulous work that he has personally put in throughout this selection process. We look forward to working with him, and everyone involved with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, in 2019.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Dubai Duty Free, said: “We are happy with the choice of Lahinch Golf Club as the venue for the 2019 edition of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“Lahinch is a very well-known and popular links course with a 125-year history and has seen many of the greats play there including Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Greg Norman as well as all the Irish golfers including Paul McGinley who will act as the tournament host next year.
“In the meantime, we are looking forward to another great tournament this year at Ballyliffin and think that the players are going to enjoy this equally spectacular golf course in Donegal.”

Situated on the west coast of Ireland, Lahinch Golf Club celebrated its 125th year anniversary last year and the famous Old Course on which the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be played, regularly features in lists of the top golf courses in the world.
It is home to the South of Ireland Championship, an amateur golf tournament which began in 1895, and whose notable champions, aside from McGinley, include two other future hosts of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open; Darren Clarke who won in 1989, and Graeme McDowell who triumphed in 2000.
Designed originally in 1894 by Old Tom Morris, the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club was built on a stretch of huge sand dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean which provide a dramatic and picturesque landscape as well as a challenging but enjoyable test of golf.
In 1907, Charles ‘Mo’ Gibson of Royal North Devon Golf Club led a redevelopment before one of the finest architects of the 20thcentury, Alister MacKenzie – who designed Augusta National among many other – provided a new lay-out in 1926.
Some 74 years later in 2000, renowned British course architect Dr Martin Hawtree modernised the Old Course, while incorporating many of the touches which made MacKenzie’s design so special, to provide the layout which the stars of the European Tour will enjoy in 14 months’ time.

Ballyliffin ready to make the most of Dubai Duty Free Irish Open opportunity

May 13, 2018

TEEING OFF: John Farren, General Manager of Ballyliffin Golf Club, Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation, Simon Alliss, the European Tour’s Championship Director of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dubai Duty Free, Des Smyth, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Tournament Ambassador and Martin Donnelly, Business Development Manager of Failte Ireland.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Ballyliffin GC will roll out the red carpet for the great and good of the European Tour when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation touches down in Co Donegal from July 5-8.
The European Tour is breaking new ground by taking the tournament to the North West of Ireland for the very first time.
“It is a big big deal for this part of the world,” said Ballyliffin GM, John Farren.
“We are very grateful that the Tour had the confidence to bring this event to the region.
“We are looking forward to it. We will seize this opportunity and we will be ready.”
Tournament Director, Simon Allis, described advance ticket sales as ‘encouraging’ insisting that no-one would be, ‘disappointed’ by the final figures attending the event.
Farren was bullish about the prospects of big crowds coming through the turnstiles, pointing to the likely support of thousands of fans from across the border.
He added; “Ballyliffin is held in very high esteem across Ireland. Our proximity to Northern Ireland means that it is very accessible and the Northern Ireland golfing fans, well, they travel to Irish Opens no matter where they are.

“This will be a new option, a new destination for people and the Irish Open is so much more than a golf event now. The European Tour and the sponsors have developed a festival atmosphere around the tournament.”

Rory will again headline the event with world number three Jon Rahm returning to defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion at Portstewart last year.
The event will enter a new era in 2019 with a rotation of tournament hosts featuring the biggest names in Irish golf. Four of Ireland’s most revered golfers – The 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley as well as Major winners Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell – will share the hosting duties with McIlroy, beginning with McGinley next year.

“Four years ago Rory decided he wanted to improve the lot of the Irish Open,” said Rory Foundation CEO, Barry Funston.
“We were very fortunate to have a terrific partner in Dubai Duty Free who bought into that vision straight away and over the years, the evolution of the tournament has been well documented.
“From the perspective of the Foundation, it has been terrific. We have raised in excess of three million dollars for charitable causes in areas around the host venues.
“There is a deliberate strategy of moving the event around Ireland and we think that is the right thing to do. Getting it to Ballyliffin is something Rory has spoken about for years and we are delighted that our four-year term is coming to an end at Ballyliffin, a course Rory holds in great affection.”
A venue for the 2019 staging has yet to be confirmed but Dubai Duty Free has agreed a four-year extension of its title sponsorship of the Irish Open taking the partnership through to 2022.

New look Castlerock primed to take advantage of North Coast golfing boom

May 10, 2018

These are golden days for the North Coast as a must play golfing destination.
Last year’s Irish Open at Portstewart coupled with the huge media exposure offered by next year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush has raised the region’s profile to new heights.
Now Castlerock Golf Club, close to Benone beach, has unveiled a raft of significant course changes constructed under the watchful eye of renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree.
The 71-year-old Englishman has worked on numerous links courses including Lahinch, Ballybunion and Trump International in Scotland.
“We had intended improving and reshaping the existing bunkers but after consultation with the designer we felt that only reshaping the bunkers would still leave some weak holes,” said General Manager, Bert Mackay,
After further consultations, a plan to develop and update eight holes on the Mussendun Links was conceived which was eventually reduced to six with costs running into the £100,000’s.
As a result, the links venue is primed and ready to take advantage of any potential surge in golf visitors to the North Coast following the 2019 Open Championship.
“Our focus has been on improving the course primarily for our members,” added Bert.

“We will not be bidding for an Irish Open, we simply are not big enough, we will leave that for the likes of Royal Portrush.

“Castlerock has evolved over the last five or 10 years but it has been overlooked in the past. Now we have definitely put ourselves on the map as a golf destination, one that is very family friendly.”

Hawtree’s plan for the venue was to try and get Castlerock playing and feeling more like a traditional links.
“I want it to really feel like a links. I’m not interested in length for the sake of it. I do want to make the surrounds of the greens more interesting and lively and force players to think about things a bit more,” said Hawtree.
In achieving those aims the most significant changes have been made to two holes, the second and 15th which saw the construction of two new green complexes.
“Our intention was never to make the course harder, it was to make the course fairer,” added Bert.
“Unlike many other projects on a golf course, the aim was never to add length to the course, and as a result, the total length of the course has come down 25 yards in total. The second has been reduced by 41 yards and that has been offset by a small increase of the 13th hole by 16 yards.”
The members played the revamped course for the first time at the weekend with early feedback very positive. Whether that encourages them to press ahead and redevelop the remaining 12 holes remains to be seen.
“I would be lying if I said that Martin hadn’t looked at all 18,” added Bert
“This was the start of a process and there is a wider vision for further down the line.
“If the members wish, the plans are in my office to move on with phase two and three.”

Kilpatrick back to defend Ruddy Cup crown at The European Club

May 9, 2018

l-r – Patrick Ruddy (The European Club), Richard Kilpatrick, Yvonne Cassidy (Tournament Controller PGA in Ireland) and Gerard Ruddy

Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge Golf Club) will return to The European Club to defend The Ruddy Cup for Trainee Professionals (May 9).
The Banbridge man shot a terrific, one-under par 70 last year to edge out playing partner Noel Murray by a stroke.
As has happened in so many previous events at The European Club, the par-four 17th proved to be the decisive hole last year with Murray making a bogey to Kilpatrick’s crucial birdie three.
“Thinking back, I played quite steady on the day. I didn’t do a whole lot wrong and didn’t do anything flamboyant,” said Kilpatrick who recently completed his final year PGA exams.

“I always play the European Club as a second shot course. Make sure and get it into the fairway and take it from there so then you don’t cause yourself too many problems.”

Richard has been concentrating on his exams prep in recent months and admits that his golf may be a bit ‘rusty’ but he wouldn’t miss the chance to defend his title.
“It’s a great event for the assistants, especially on a course like The European Club,” he said.
Pat Ruddy, the creator of The European Club and the sponsor of the event, is pleased to be able to give the young PGA professionals a chance to flex their competitive muscles.
“The cup used to be offered for the match between the amateurs and professionals back in the 1990s when Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington would play as amateurs,” Ruddy explained.
“But it went into abeyance. So a few years ago I thought that with the GUI now sending players to compete all over the world, I might offer the young professionals something to play for.

“They guy who goes to work in the shop doesn’t get the same attention as they might have in the past, so it’s a small token to that side of the field, and a four-figure cheque might help whoever happens to win it.

“Some of them can lose interest after becoming immersed in club life when the reason they turned to it in the first place was the love of the game.
“So it’s a small incentive at the start of the year the get out in clean pair shoes with some fresh golf balls and give it a go and who knows what the rest of the year might bring.”
The prize fund for the event is €5,820 with €1,000 going to the winner.

Tee Times – The Ruddy Cup for Trainee Professionals

Additional info courtesy of Brian Keogh

NI Open spot on offer to winner of 2018 NI Amateur Open at Galgorm Castle

May 3, 2018

Colin Fairweather won the NI Amateur Open last year
Pic by PressEye

This year’s NI Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena and Srixon/Cleveland, will take place at Galgorm Castle on Tuesday 18th July. The 36-hole strokeplay event is restricted to 72 competitors in a two-tee start and demand for places has always been high for this prestigious event.
The main goal for this year’s NI Amateur Open entrants is to secure a place in the NI Open at Galgorm Castle and the rare chance to compete alongside Europe’s top professionals.
Last year, Irish international Colin Fairweather (Knock) booked his place in the NI Open with a winning total of 146. Former Walker Cup player Cormac Sharvin won in 2012, while former Irish Internationals, Reeve Whitson (2010) and Tiernan McLarnon (2015) also feature on the roll of honour.
Ballymena favourite Dermot McElroy has moved into the paid ranks, but he too is a former NI Amateur Open champion from 2013.
“I always enjoy competing at Galgorm Castle. It’s such a great golf course and always presented in excellent condition,” said McElroy.

“Through winning the NI Amateur Open in 2013, I booked my place in the NI Open and had a great week. I managed to finish tied ninth that year as an amateur and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

The NI Open is integral to the development of elite Irish amateurs and young professionals seeking to make their mark in the paid ranks. No amateurs will gain an automatic place at this year’s Irish Open at Ballyliffin, instead a number of amateurs will be invited to compete in the Irish Open pre-qualifer.
This means winning the NI Amateur Open is a rare opportunity for the 2018 champion to test their game against the best professionals in Europe.
This year’s NI Open takes place at Galgorm Castle from August 16-19 and will be one of the standout events on the European Challenge Tour. Last year over 43,000 spectators came through the gates during tournament week and this year promises to be another week-long celebration of golf in Northern Ireland.
“We will have another action-packed week of activities, both on and off the course, for all the family. I am particularly looking forward to the GolfNow Junior NI Open, which was a great success for our budding stars of the future. The Junior NI Open will again be played over our pitch and putt course throughout the week of the event,” explains Ross Oliver, Director of Golf at Galgorm Castle.
“Every year we introduce something new to the NI Open and this year will be no different. We’ll have an outstanding new clubhouse bar, restaurant and roof garden in partnership with Galgorm Resort & Spa, which will serve up one of the best dining options in the country.
“Also new for 2018 will be the NI Open Showstage where live music and bands will play over the weekend of the event and further add to the festival atmosphere.”
Entry for the NI Amateur Open is £35 (€45) and includes lunch. Forms can be downloaded from and entries close on Monday 3rd July 2018. For further information, contact the Galgorm Castle Professional Shop on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.

(The NI Open has always been free to enter for all the family and will be the same this year. To get your tickets for the 2018 event, simply register online at


Copy courtesy of Galgorm Castle/Paul Gallagher

Excited Grant joins Mehaffey on GB&I Curtis Cup team for Quaker Ridge clash

April 27, 2018

Paula Grant in action at County Louth Golf Club.
Image by Jenny Matthews (

Ulster and Ireland amateur stars Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) and Paula Grant (Lisburn) have been included in the GB&I team to face the United States in the 40th Curtis Cup match which will be played at Quaker Ridge, New York from 8-10 June.
GB&I will defend the historic trophy after securing an 11½-8½ win over the United States at Dun Laoghaire two years ago.
Paula Grant is a former R&A Foundation scholar and last year she won the Irish Women’s Close Championship for the second time in five years following her success in the event in 2013.

“I’m so excited and can’t wait to get over there,” said Paula who led the qualifiers after the stroke play stage of the 2017 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig.

“I made a decision a year or so ago to put more time into my golf and I’ve worked hard with the ILGU coaches and my own coach at Lisburn, Stephen Hamill, it’s nice to get the rewards.”

The 24-year-old optometrist admitted that watching her Irish international contemporaries Maria Dunne, Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey competing at recent Curtis Cups had provided extra incentive.
“I was on the fringes of selection four years ago but I probably wasn’t ready,” she added.
“When I saw how well Maria, Leona and Olivia have played in recent Curtis Cup matches I really started to believe that I could compete at that level as well.”
Olivia and Alice Hewson will be making their second appearances for GB&I in the Curtis Cup after featuring on the winning side at Dun Laoghaire in 2016.
In 2016 Olivia won the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship and Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship.
This year, she finished tied first in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, her first collegiate tournament representing Arizona State University, and has been selected for the International Team to play against the United States in the Palmer Cup at Evian, France in July.

Elaine Farquharson-Black, who will captain GB&I in the Curtis Cup for the second time, said, “There have been a number of players throughout Great Britain and Ireland who have been in impressive form recently and it was a difficult decision to select only eight.
“The players selected will now have a wonderful opportunity to perform on the international stage in one of the world’s most prestigious events and I’m sure that they will give their very best as we attempt to retain the trophy against a talented team from the United States.”
Ireland’s Leona Maguire, currently the number two golfer in the Women’s Amateur golf rankings will turn professional next month and has ruled herself out of contention for selection.
The non-travelling reserve is another Ulster player, Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson.

Will Jonathan Caldwell rise to the Challenge in 2018? Clandeboye golfer ready to go in Turkey

April 25, 2018

Jonathan Caldwell (pic via PGA Europro Tour)

It’s been a long time coming but Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell will finally get his Challenge Tour season underway on Thursday at the Turkish Airlines Challenge in Belek.
Caldwell secured his Challenge Tour card on the final day of the Europro Tour season back in October at the Sky Sports Tour Championship. A 15th place finish in Portugal saw him grab the fifth and final card on offer via the Tour’s Order of Merit.
Since then he’s had precious little competitive golf and he’s ready to get started.
“It’s been a long wait between tournaments but generally I have managed to stay patient and positive,” said Jonny.
“I played in the second stage of European Tour Q-School and narrowly missed out there and then in February, I went to Spain for a couple of weeks to play on the Evolve Tour.
“I managed to get a win over there but it was mostly about finding out what stage my game was at and what I needed to be working on.”
A long wet, cold winter hasn’t been particularly conducive to quality practice but the 33-year-old is determined to make an impact on the Challenge Tour this season.
After a number of years struggling to find his way as a professional, Jonny, a former leading amateur who played Walker Cup alongside Rory McIlroy at Royal County Down in 2007, is finally moving in the right direction again.
With the support of the Clandeboye members and some key sponsors – Wirefox, Woodgate Aviation and the Safety Advice Centre, Bangor – he has been freed from financial worries to focus on golf and has turned his fortunes around on the course over the last 18 months.

“My expectations are high. Hopefully, I will be competing at the top end of the leaderboard,” added Jonny.

“I feel that I have had some decent prep this winter considering the weather we have been dealing with. My game is in reasonably good shape and a couple of days in Turkey will hopefully help sharpen up the short game.

“My number one goal this year is to win and then to finish inside the top 70 which will guarantee my playing privileges for 2019.”
The Turkish Airlines Challenge is the third event of the Challenge Tour season which will include visits to Galgorm Castle for the NI Open in August and Concra Wood in Co.Monaghan for the Irish Challenge in September.
Joining Jonny in Turkey are Cormac Sharvin and Michael Hoey alongside a number of bright young Irish talents in Stuart Grehan, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Ruaidhri McGee.

Rockmount GC to host Tiny Life Golf Classic

April 24, 2018

Gillian Breen (Tiny Life), Robert Patterson with Granddaughter Sophie, Frank McWilliams (Captain), Diane Patterson and Peter O’Hara.

On Friday 6th July Rockmount GC will host the ‘Tiny Life Golf Classic’ sponsored by Andrew Morris Golf.
This charitable event has special resonance for Rockmount proprietors Robert and Diane Patterson. Their son David and his wife Kimberley welcomed a premature baby (Sophie) into the world on July 5 last year. Sophie arrived a full seven weeks early weighing in at just 4lbs but is now a gorgeous healthy girl.
Past Captain, Peter O’Hara endured a similar experience when his son James and wife Leah’s baby (Mylah) arrived 15 weeks early.
Following a traumatic birth, Mylah weighed in at just 1lb 7oz but she defied the odds and is also happy and healthy.
Tiny Life supported both sets of new parents through the difficult and emotional times following the premature births. So, the Patterson and O’Hara families have decided to raise much needed vital funds for Tiny Life.
This fourball event will feature a morning and afternoon shot gun start with one starting at 10am and the other at 3.15pm.
Presentation of prizes will follow completion of each session. Entry fees including meal are £30 for Rockmount members and £40 for non-members.
Entertainment will be provided by Colin Barkley after the first session and Gene Fitzpatrick after the second session.
If you would like to play in this event, please contact Rockmount GC (Tel: 02890 812279) to book a tee time (10am or 3.15pm)