Vaughan, Hughes and Lyall share top spot at Ardglass UGA event

November 4, 2019

Home professional, Paul Vaughan, was forced to share first place at the latest PGA Ulster Golfers Alliance outing at Ardglass.
Vaughan’s one-under-par 69 was matched by David Hughes and Craig Lyall with Ardglass assistant, Adam Cathers, finishing alone in second following a level-par 70.
First to set the target was Massereene man Hughes who reached the turn in regulation 34 with birdies at the first and third holes and bogeys at the second and seventh.
As he turned for home, Hughes collected birdies at the long 11th and short 12th before three-putting the 13th. He regained that lost shot at the long 15th but, once more, his short game let him down as he three-putted the 16th green.
Undaunted he took on the drivable closing hole and found the putting surface before getting down in two putts for an inward run of one-under-35.
Lyall (Donaghadee) was steadiest of the winning trio as he pencilled in 10 straight pars before making birdie four at the 11th. At 13 he rolled home a 25-footer for birdie three but a fairway bunker cost him a stroke at the 14th. After a drive into trouble at 15 he dropped another stoke but, like Hughes, birdied the last for his 69.
Local pro Vaughan birdied the fourth and bogeyed the eighth holes to turn in level par before making a birdie four at 11 and missing the 14th green for bogey. Just like the other two before him, Vaughan birdied the last to snatch a share of the winner’s cheque.
Home nine-handicapper Peter Deeny topped the amateur’s nett leaderboard on 39 points with Lee Mitchell, who plays off two at Knock, taking the gross prize on 34.
Groomsport pro, Gareth Graham and his amateur partners Alan Hall (Carnalea), Stephen Goldthorp (Clandeboye) and Chris Mullan (Helen’s Bay) won the team event with 92 points.

PGA UGA Tournament at Ardglass
Professionals: 69 (-1) – D Hughes (Massereene), C Lyall (Donaghadee), P Vaughan (Ardglass).
70 – A Cathers (Ardglass).
71 – B McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching), P Hanna (Lurgan).
72 – N Grant (Knock), K Revie (Ballymena), G Wardlow (Spa).
Amateurs: 39 pts – P Deeny 9 (Ardglass).
38 – R Madine 5 (Ardglass) ,, 2nd,
38 – C Mullan 10 Helen’s Bay) … 3rd,
38 – R Kelly 13 (Ardglass) …4th.
Team: 92pts – Pro G Graham (Groomsport) with A Hall 10 (Carnalea), S Goldthorp 17 (Clandeboye) & C Mullan10 (Helen’s Bay)

Info courtesy of Tony McGee

Huge boost for disability golf with the launch of inclusive hub at Donaghadee GC

October 27, 2019

(l-r) Trevor Hillen, Gareth McNeilly and Rory O’Connor

An exciting new development supporting inclusive golf has recently been established at Donaghadee Golf Club.
The Inclusive Golf Hub, the first of its kind in Ireland, has been created with the support and backing of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI).
The Hub will act as a central point for disabled groups and individuals to give golf a go in a welcoming, supportive and encouraging environment.
A group of Donaghadee club members have volunteered to launch this new initiative and have been trained by CGI Participation officer, Rory Leonard, to deliver basic golf coaching.
The Hub went ‘live’ on October 16th with a group of students from Killard House Special School enjoying some fun golf coaching.
That was followed in the afternoon with another first for disabled golf in Ireland. An Irish disabled golf team featuring amongst others, the world number four ranked disabled golfer, Brendan Lawlor and the one-armed world golf champion, Cian Arthurs, took on a group of Donaghadee members in a nine-hole match-play clash.
The driving force behind this new development is Trevor Hillen, a disabled golfer himself and a regular competitor at European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) events.
Trevor has wider ambitions to see Inclusive Golf hubs spring up across Ireland but for now, he’s focused on turning his vision into a reality in Donaghadee.
His approach is disarmingly simple. “If you tell me you are disabled and want to give golf a go, that’s good enough for me,” said Trevor.

“No matter what your disability, whether you are paralyzed from the waist down, have early stages of Alzheimer’s, whether it’s visible or hidden, this Hub will endeavour to make sure you have some fun and get a chance to play the game.

“We’ve all heard about the positive mental health and physical benefits that golf can provide.
“Maybe illness has forced you to leave golf to one side and now you want to see if you can give it a go again. The Hub will welcome the opportunity to help you take those first steps.”
The volunteers at Donaghadee, some 20 strong, have enthusiastically embraced the chance to get involved in the project. With the golf training out of the way, plans are currently underway for a series of specialised disability awareness courses to be conducted.
Trevor added; “A hub needs to have a course with the minimum of undulating terrain, an accessible clubhouse, one that is close to public transport routes and finally and probably most importantly, a willing and welcoming club membership.
“I’m proud that my own club, Donaghadee, has proved to be so open to the idea. From the club officers to the members and the club professional. Everyone has been keen to do their bit to make it work.”
If you know a group or individuals who would like to try golf please get in touch via email:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Golf’s governing bodies have been painfully slow to recognise and address issues surrounding inclusive golf.
Over the last 18 months, there has been a number of meetings between the GUI/CGI and a group of interested ‘disabled’ individuals and groups (for the record – I have been part of this process).
The focus of those meetings was on formulating a way forward of which the Hubs, as described above, were just one strand. Also on the agenda was the need for education, support and advice for clubs on the measures they can take to make their facilities more welcoming for disabled people.
For people seeking change, the Golf Ireland project couldn’t have come at a better time (although that shouldn’t stop both governing bodies making significant changes right now). A more modern, properly constituted golfing organisation will hopefully be empowered to advocate and support the issue of inclusivity.

Lisburn’s Hamill wins UGA event at Lurgan GC with room to spare

October 17, 2019

View this post on Instagram

October 😢

A post shared by Lurgan Golf Club (@lurgangolfclub) on

Lisburn GC professional, Steven Hamill, posted a three-under-par 67 to win the Ulster Golfers’ Alliance outing at Lurgan GC.
The former European Tour player finished three shots clear of Adam Mulhall (Ardglass), Paul Stevenson (Portadown) and GB&I PGA Capt, Peter Hanna (Lurgan GC).
Hamill grabbed five birdies in total but two bogeys blunted his march to success but he still had ample breathing space at the top of the leaderboard.
After two pars he picked up his opening birdie of the day at the third where he belted a three wood off the tee and then a seven iron to 15 feet before rolling the ball home.
At the par-five fourth, a driver, three iron and two putts from 25 feet gave the winner his second birdie.
He dropped a stroke at the sixth hole where he found a greenside bunker with a seven iron and failed to get up and down for par four but bounced back immediately at the par-four seventh with his third birdie of the day.
Out in two-under-33, Stephen reached four under with birdies at 10 and 12. He drove the 10th green and two-stabbed from 15 feet while at 12 he rifled a nine iron off the tee and holed from 15 feet.
His second blip arrived at the par four 16th hole where he missed the green with his approach and failed to get up and down, returning home in 34 shots for his winning 67.
Top of the amateur’s leaderboard was Knock two-handicapper Lee Mitchell with 42 points. An all-Knock quartet, including Mitchell and led by pro Nicky Grant, won the team event as they posted 88 points.

Ulster Golfers’ Alliance October Tournament at Lurgan
Professionals: 67 (-3) – S Hamill (Lisburn).
70 – A Mulhall (Ardglass), P Stevenson (Portadown), P Hanna (Lurgan).
71 – P Vaughan (Ardglass), L Campbell (Co Armagh), S Bleakley (Blackwood).
72 – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), V Teague (Loughgall).
73 – G Wardlow (Spa), N Grant (Knock).

Amateurs: 42 pts – L Mitchell 2 (Knock).
39 – M Armstrong 12 (Spa), J Ross 6 (Donaghadee).
38 – J Lau 11 (Blackwood).

Team: 88 pts – Pro N Grant with L Mitchell 2, K Hull 12 & P Eager 5 (all Knock).

info courtesy of Tony McGee

Warrenpoint old boy McGivern puts local knowledge to good use in PGA Tankard win

October 3, 2019

Local knowledge paid rich dividends for former member Kevin McGivern in the Ulster finals of the PGA Tankard tournament at Warrenpoint.
The now Mannan Castle professional got the worst of the weather but battled through the driving rain in the afternoon to post a four-under-par 67 and head off Massereene’s assistant Nathan Kernaghan by one shot.
McGivern’s putting was well nigh perfect and he wielded his lob wedge to excellent effect, as he reached the turn in level par 37 and came home in four-under-30 for his winning round of 67.
He birdied the short second hole from 30 feet but drove into trees at the next to pencil in a bogey six. He then rolled in a 20-footer for birdie three at the fifth and had his second of three birdie twos at the sixth, after rifling an eight iron to just four inches from the flag.
However, the winner was hauled back to regulation when he suffered bogey fives at the seventh and ninth holes, missing the green at seven and three-putting nine.
McGivern turned on the powerplay again with a hat-trick of birdies from the 10th hole where he missed the green but chipped in for a two.
A lob-wedge to four feet set up birdie three at 11 and a lob to six feet gave him another birdie three at 12. The lob wedge did the trick again at the long 15th as he steered the ball to one foot for a four, before finishing with three pars for his 67.

PGA Tankard Ulster Finals at Warrenpoint
Professionals: 67 (-4) – Kevin McGivern (Mannan Castle).
68 – Nathan Kernaghan (Massereene).
70 – Neil Graham (Portstewart), Lee Campbell (Co Armagh), Nicky Grant (Knock).
72- David Hughes (Massereene), Stuart Bleakley (Blackwood), Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park).

Amateur Results: Men – 40 pts – Kyle Holmes 5 (Dungannon).
37 – Niall James 10 (Helen’s Bay).
36 – Liam McArdle 11 (Loughgall).
34 – Paul Cutler +1 (Royal Portrush).
Best Gross; 28 pts – Niall Warburton (Knock).

39pts – Marion Russell 25 (Kilkeel)
36 – Patricia McCormick 18 (St Patrick’s).
24 – Vivienne Houston 7 (Royal Portrush); Alex Murphy 9 (Spa).
Best Gross: 25 pts – Katie Poots 3 (Knock).

Team Prize: 50 pts – Pro Vivian Teague with amateurs Pauline McArdle 30 & Liam McArdle 11 (all Loughgall).

Info courtesy of Tony McGee

Tim Rice edges out Colm Moriarty to secure inaugural 9-hole matchplay title

September 29, 2019

Tim Rice (Limerick GC) with Annesley Williams director, Cian Bennis (l) and PGA in Ireland captain, Nigel Shaw

Tim Rice (Limerick GC) rolled in a 15-foot putt on the eighth green to beat Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) in the final of the inaugural Annesley Williams 9 Hole Match Play tournament at Sutton Golf Club.
The tournament, a first of its kind on the PGA in Ireland circuit, saw 32 of Ireland’s leading PGA professionals battling it out in a straight knock-out format.
“Colm and I have had many battles over the years and normally it has gone his way but this time around I was lucky enough to come out on top,” said Rice.
“It could have gone either way. It was very close. At least two or three of my opponents really should have beaten me this week. I was very lucky, I don’t know how it happened.”
In the final Moriarty birdied the second to take a one-hole lead but Rice hit back with a birdie at the third to level matters. The turning point came on the par-three sixth when a three-putt bogey from Moriarty gifted Rice a one-up lead.
Colm then missed a wonderful birdie chance at the seventh to draw level and Rice grabbed his chance, holing from mid-range on the eighth to seal the win.
“This tournament was a real breath of fresh air this week. It brought us back to our youth when we played golf for the love of it,” added Rice.

“It was kind of a weird experience trying to tap back into the reason why you played the game in the first place – to beat the hell out of your opponent.

“Colm missed a short putt to give me a bit of momentum and then on that last hole if I had missed mine, I was sure he would have holed his. It was always the type of match that was going to come down to something small in the end.”
In the morning semi-finals, both Moriarty and Rice were taken to the last by their respective opponents.
Rice started poorly against Sean O’Donoghue (Kilkenny GC) and trailed by two holes early on before gradually fighting back to wrap up victory on the ninth.
Moriarty got off to a flyer and was two up after two, but Hogan dug deep and drew level before losing out to a par on the last.

Shaw edges out Wardlow to wrap up second Festival of Golf success at Castlerock

September 17, 2019

A very old picture of Gareth Shaw (circa 2013)

Gareth Shaw likes the Festival of Golf tournaments.
He was joint first at Spa earlier this month but no-one could match him at Castlerock where he carded a two-under-par 71 to head off Spa professional Gary Wardlow by one shot.
Shaw (Moyola Park), was early into his stride at the fourth as he rolled in a 15-footer for birdie two, after a seven-iron approach to the green. He then backed that up with a drive and nine iron to the front of the fifth and got down in two putts for a birdie four.

However, his charge was halted when he missed the seventh green and failed to get up and down, pencilling in bogey five but the lost ground was immediately recovered at the next hole when he rolled home a 16-footer for birdie three to turn in two-under-par 34.
The 33-year-old picked up another shot at the long 11th hole with a drive and seven iron to the fringe and two putts before dropping another shot at the 12th. Six pars followed to be home in regulation 37 and a round of 71.
Local assistant pro, Chris Loughrey led home the winning team, which included his father Paul, Dom Higgins and Stephen McMullan.
They posted 89 points, two ahead of second-placed pro winner Gareth Shaw and third Neil Graham plus their amateur partners, all from Castlerock.

Castlerock Festival of Golf
Professionals: 71 (-2) – G Shaw (Moyola Pk).
72 – G Wardlow (Spa)
73 – A Cathers (Ardglass)
74 – B McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching), D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), B MacKay Castlerock).
Team: 89 pts – Pro C Loughrey with amateurs P Loughrey 13, D Higgins 12 & S McMullan 12 (all Castlerock).
87 pts – Pro G Shaw (Moyola Pk) with amateurs G Thompson 6, N Thompson 13 & P Dobson 15 (all Castlerock) 2nd on countback.
87 pts – Pro N Graham (Portstewart) with amateurs T Trainor 13, S Humphries scr & o Mullan 4 (all Castlerock).

Festival of Golf success for Kilpatrick and Shaw at Spa GC

September 8, 2019

The Ulster Golfers’ Alliance teed off the new season with the Spa Festival of Golf, the first of two such events during the season with the other being at Castlerock (Sept 16).
According to secretary Phil Posnett, the emphasis was all on enjoyment before the competition gets underway for real with the first Alliance outing scheduled for Lurgan GC on Oct 17.
“The Festival of Golf is a shotgun start competition with tee-off in mid-afternoon and it is designed to be more relaxed than the usual Ulster Golfers’ Alliance events. The professionals all get something for entering and of course, there are the usual prizes,” said the organising secretary.
It was certainly fun for Richard Kilpatrick and Gareth Shaw as they shared top of the professionals’ leaderboard with 34 points, two ahead of Adam Mulhall.
Banbridge pro Kilpatrick started his round at the seventh tee and dropped a shot at the short eighth where he was over the green. A birdie three from 15 feet brought him back to regulation but he then had bogeys at the 10th, 12th and 13th holes before birdie four at 15, where he reached the green with a drive and six iron, and a two at the short 17th from five feet gave him a round of two-over-par 74.
Shaw teed off at the fourth hole and opened with a birdie three having driven the green. He missed the green at the next to give back the shot he had gained but birdied the short eighth from 15 feet.
Bogey five at the ninth was followed by birdie three, from 15 feet, at 11 before a three-putt cost the Moyola Park pro a stroke. A 12 foot birdie three at 14 was cancelled out by bogey four at 17, where he overshot the surface, and he double-bogeyed 18 after driving into trees.

Spa Festival of Golf
Professional Leading Scores:
34 pts – R Kilpatrick (Banbridge), G Shaw (Moyola Pk).
32 – A Mulhall (Ardglass).
30 – S Crooks (Holywood), S Donnelly (Castle Hume), B McCoy, P Collins, R McCormack (Holywood).
29 – P Hanna (Lurgan).
28 – C Bell (Ardee).

Tim Rice claims Walled City of Derry and Strabane Pro-Am crown

August 26, 2019

Tim Rice

Tim Rice (Limerick GC) held off a couple of Challenge Tour regulars to win the Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro-Am.
The event, sponsored by Bishop’s Gate Hotel and Frylite and supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council saw 41 teams (one professional and three amateurs) competing over 36-holes.
Tim began with a round of 66 (-3) at City of Derry Golf Club and followed up with a 67 (-2) at Strabane Golf Club to finish the tournament on five under par and beat Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye GC) by two shots.
Rice was in contention after two rounds of the recent Irish PGA Championship but struggled on the final day eventually finishing tied fifth.
After a quiet start to his opening round at City of Derry, he sprung into life on the back nine, carding four birdies in his closing seven holes. At Strabane, a double-bogey six at the par-four ninth threatened to derail his challenge but he fought back with three birdies on the back nine to post his five-under total.
“A nice couple of days. Both courses are very challenging. Strabane was tough, tight off the tee, small greens, fast and very challenging,” said the 42-year-old.

“A 67 was a good score around there. Both courses played long, it’s been so wet there was very little run on the ball.”

Another Challenge Tour regular, Ruaidhri McGee, and Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel) finished in a tie for third on two under par alongside Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Resort), Brian McElhinney (Evolve Golf Coaching) and David Higgins (Waterville Links)
Defending champion, Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) carded rounds of 69/69 to finish in eighth place on level par.
David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) and amateur partners S McCay, B Corry and George McCay claimed the team prize on countback with 175pts (89/86).

Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro-Am scoreboard

Women professionals back playing in Ireland. It’s about bloody time.

August 13, 2019

Stephanie Meadow

Truth be told, this week’s ISPS Handa World Invitational Men/Women presented by Modest! Golf is a long-overdue boost for women’s golf in Ireland.
The tournament, formerly known as the NI Open, has been transformed into a new global event with men and women professionals competing for an equal share of a $500,000 prize fund at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club.
“It’s quite shocking really. I have been a pro for five years now and I still haven’t had a chance to play at home,” said LPGA player Stephanie Meadow who is relishing the chance to finally compete in front of family and friends.
“For a country like Ireland which has so many great courses and so many great players to not have an event is pretty astonishing.

Hopefully, this turns the page and there will be more to come.

“I can’t wait. I’m expecting to see people that I haven’t seen in a while. It’s just a great thing to be part of. I’m really from just down the road so I’m quite proud to be able to compete at all.”
It is impossible to deny that the ladies game, at the professional level, is underexposed in Ireland so if you sense just a hint of frustration in Stephanie’s words it’s perfectly understandable.
The last women’s professional event to be held in Northern Ireland was the imaginatively titled Northern Ireland Ladies Open at Hilton Templepatrick in 2007.
That tournament, won by England’s Lisa Hall, is notable for the emergence of two precocious young talents in Lisa and Leona Maguire who, now professionals, are returning to play this week.
The last Ladies Irish Open was held in 2012 when Catriona Matthew, the European Solheim Cup captain, who is also playing this week, triumphed at Killeen Castle.
Meadow is right, it has been too long and that grates with the 27-year-old who is an active and vocal ambassador for the ’20×20 – If she can’t see it, she can’t be it’ campaign.
She added; “I wish when I was 10 or 11 that I had someone to look up to, someone to point at and say, ‘if she can do it, I can do it’,
“It was a big guessing game for the rest of us really. There were some LET players but we didn’t know how it all worked.
“I feel strongly about it. I was lucky in my really early days when I was eight or nine. I was in a girls group. I felt comfortable when I was introduced to the game and I don’t think a lot of people are. If I hadn’t got that, would I be here today?
“Young girls might never have had the chance to see women professionals competing until now.
“If it affects a handful of girls that is ok. It doesn’t have to be thousands, if two girls get extra opportunities, that means the world to me.”

Lawlor takes another step forward, included in amateur field at ISPS Handa World Invitational

August 4, 2019

Brendan Lawlor

Brendan Lawlor is busy blazing a trail for disability golf with eye-catching results around the world and now the Dundalk sensation will tee it up in the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, presented by Modest! Golf at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort.
The 22-year-old is the latest elite amateur to confirm his place in the first of its kind event in Europe where men and women will compete at the same venues at the same time with the professionals sharing equal prize money.
Lawlor has been in sensational form of late and recently won the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open after carding a final round 71 to win over the same Renaissance course professionals played the week before The Open at Royal Portrush.
“It’s been a great year which has really taken off in recent weeks,” enthused Lawlor, who is currently ranked fourth in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD)
“Crazy but enjoyable, that’s how I would describe the run we are on at the moment. Winning in Scotland is definitely my biggest achievement to date. There is a big focus on disability golf and it’s great to see we are getting plenty of coverage around the world on Sky Sports and through social media.”
The EDGA Scottish Open was the first of two disability championships alongside Rolex Series events on the European Tour’s 2019 Race to Dubai schedule. Lawlor’s win means he qualifies for the EDGA Dubai Finale as part of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in November.
For now, Lawlor is focused on Galgorm and Massereene after receiving an invite through Niall Horan and Modest! Golf. He will also become an Official Ambassador for the tournament.
“I am very grateful to Niall and Mark (McDonnell) at Modest! Golf who invited me to play. It’s a great opportunity and will be a fun week, especially with my dad on the bag,” added the scratch golfer, who is a member of Dundalk Golf Club.

“I believe this will the first time a disability golfer will compete on the same stage over the same course as the professionals in a Challenge Tour event. That should generate a good bit of interest.

“It will be interesting to see how I play against the professionals. It will be a fun week for me. No pressure, just go out and enjoy it and it’s a great opportunity to showcase disability golf and how good it is.”
McDonnell, Modest! Golf Director, said: “We are delighted to have Brendan playing in this great event. Brendan has been shooting great scores for a long time, not least for his most recent win in Scotland. He has earned his place at Galgorm by continuing to compete at an elite amateur level.”
“Like ISPS Handa, we believe in the ‘Power of Sport’ and what Brendan is doing for disability golf epitomises that ethos. He is an inspirational character.”
Lawlor was born with Ellis van-Creveld Syndrome, a rare bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs. For years he competed at the top level of able-bodied golf. He has played alongside Irish international Caolan Rafferty for Dundalk in the Senior Cup and Barton Shield and this year was part of the club’s Barton Shield team that won the Leinster title and qualified for the GUI All-Ireland Cup & Shields finals.
Lawlor believes there is massive momentum for disability golf just now and is happy to play his part. “I know the tour and Keith Pelley are talking about a World Tour by 2021. There are lots of great things starting to happen. Inclusion is everything and it’s fantastic to be accepted.
“For so many professional golfers to see what we’re doing and accept that we can play with them, it’s fantastic. They can see our talent and that’s helping too,” said Lawlor after his Scottish win. He met Open Champion Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne, Ian Poulter and others when competing at the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne last year.
“I also met Dr Handa (ISPS Handa) in Melbourne. He was so interested in what we were doing. So many people took a genuine interest.”
Lawlor will be one of 22 elite amateurs set to compete in the ISPS Handa World Invitational Men | Women, presented by Modest! Golf. The event takes place from August 15-18 at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Club.