Mooney and Hughes locked together at Castlerock

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David Hughes

Damian Mooney and David Hughes matched the hot sunshine at Castlerock to split the professionals’ top prize at the final qualifying round for the Conor Mallon Trophy in the Ping PGA Ulster Grand Prix series.
Mooney was the steadier of the two on his way to a four under 69, with his five birdies offset by just one bogey, a four at the short 14th where he missed the green and failed to get up and down.
A pair of birdie twos on the front nine left him turning in 34 (two under), having rolled in a 20-footer on the fourth green, after a six iron from the tee. He used the same club at the ninth hole and rifled the ball to three feet.
He picked up another birdie at the 10th where he chipped from 25 yards to three feet and at the long 15th he was on the green with a drive and four wood with two putts for his four. An up and down from 70 yards gave Mooney another birdie four at 17 for a two-under-35 back nine.
Hughes shot eight birdies but also recorded a double-bogey and two bogeys as he joined Mooney at the top of the leaderboard. He birdied the second and third but then knocked his tee-shot into sand for a bogey four at the fourth. He picked up a birdie at the sixth but missed the green and fluffed his chip,  resulting in a double-bogey five at nine to reach the turn in level par 36.
A lob wedge to two inches gave him a birdie three at 10 and he was on in two for birdie at the long 11th. The Massereene pro three-putted the 12th but bounced back at the short 14th and followed that up with birdies at the 15th and 17th for a homeward run of four-under-par 33.
Foyle plus-one handicapper Kealan Quigg won the amateurs’ top award on 72 which he shared with Tiernan McLarnon, taking the No 1 spot on the back nine, 21 points to 18.
Michael Alexander (Galgorm) won the nett award while pro David Hughes and amateur Tiernan McLarnon (both Massereene) clinched the team prize with 44 points.
Meanwhile, Portstewart head professional, Neil Graham, won the Ping Ulster Grand Prix outing at Ballycastle GC with a five under 66. Brian McElhinney carded a 69 for second spot, one stroke ahead of third placed Damian Mooney.
The final of the Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy will be played at Ballyliffin on March 19th.

Ping PGA Ulster Grand Prix Qualifier for the Conor Mallon Trophy at Castlerock.
Professionals:69 (-4) – D Hughes (Massereene), D Mooney (Ballyliffin).
70 – B McElhinney (Foyle).
71 – N Graham (Portstewart), N Murray (Massereene).
72 – P Collins (Galgorm Castle).
Amateurs: Gross 72 – Kealan Quigg +1 (Foyle)
Tiernan McLarnon +2 (Massereene)
76 – P Rafferty 5 (Carnalea).
Nett 36 pts – Michael Alexander 5 (Galgorm).
35 – Phil McKeown 5 (Greenacres).
Team: 44 pts – Pro David Hughes & Tiernan McLarnon +2 (Both Massereene).
Ping Ulster PGA Grand Prix at Ballycastle
Professionals: 66 (-5) – N Graham (Portstewart).
69 – B McElhinney (Foyle).
70 – D Mooney (Ballyliffin).
71 – G Graham (Groomsport).
72 – DP Jones (Bushfoot), D McEvoy (Ballycastle), D Allen (Roe Pk).
Amateurs: Gross 69 – Kealan Quigg +1 (Foyle).
70 – Simon Erwin 2 (Holywood).
74 – Ian Smyth 4 (Clandeboye).
Nett 38 pts – John Higgins 5 (Ballycastle).
35 – Philip Gibb 2 (Massereene).
Team: 45 pts – Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin) & Kealan Quigg +2 (Foyle).
copy courtesy of Tony McGee
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