Archive for the ‘amateur golf’ Category

KPMG sponsorship boost for Irish Kids Tour

June 14, 2018

Irish Kids Tour founder Gordon Smyth, with Erin and Charlie ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Irish Kids Golf Tour has secured the backing of sponsor KPMG for 2018.
The tour offers professionally conducted competitions for both boys and girls aged 13 years and under that help develop players both on and off the golf course.
Established in 2017 by the Slieve Russel Hotel Golf & Country Club Head PGA Professional, Gordon Smyth, and co-founder, Ciaran Cahill, the Irish Kids Golf Tour provides an event setting for junior golfers to compete in a safe and enjoyable environment on some of Ireland’s best golf courses.
Speaking at the sponsorship announcement Gordon Smyth said: “We are proud to have a global company like KPMG as sponsor of the Irish Kids Golf Tour. KPMG’s continued investment in young Irish talent and its support for the Irish Kids Golf Tour is most welcome in growing the game of golf in Ireland.”
As part of the sponsorship, KPMG will provide goodie bags and branded caps to all the 600 participants at this year’s events. During the five competitions, event competitors will also receive products from Titleist, Keeling’s Fruit, Golfbar and Irish Golf Magazine.
Ciaran Cahill, Co-Founder, Irish Kids Golf Tour added: “KPMG’s sponsorship in golf is well documented particularly with their support of Irish golfers Paul Dunne and Leona and Lisa Maguire. To have them support Golf in Ireland at this grass root level is fantastic.

“We are also tremendously thankful to the five world-class golf club who have been most supportive to the tour and to our many partners who have supplied the kids with some amazing gifts at each event.”

Irish Kids Tour aims to grow the game of golf in Ireland among the 6-13 year-old girls and boys age group. The tour comprises of four provincial events and an All-Ireland event, running in July and August with participants taking part in their respective age category with each event also a stand-alone single day event.
Each competition will have live scoring and caddy bibs for the competitor’s caddies to provide an event experience from start to finish.

2018 venues
Ulster: Slieve Russell Resort – June 17th
Leinster: Mount Juliet Resort – July 2nd
Connaught: Co Sligo GC – July 19th
Munster: Fota Island Resort – August 13th
All Ireland: K Club – August 22nd

For further information visit the website on www.irishkidsgolftour.com

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Olivia Mehaffey handed late invite into US Women’s Open at Shoal Creek

May 29, 2018

 

Olivia Mehaffey in action with ASU

 

Olivia Mehaffey will get her first taste of life inside the ropes at a US Women’s Open after receiving a late call-up to play in this week’s event at Shoal Creek, Alabama (May 31-June 3).
“It is a great learning opportunity to get to do this as an amateur,” said the 20-year-old, who is currently ranked 20th in the world.
“I’m excited to get out there and be in that environment.”
The Banbridge born golfer, who has just completed the second year of her college career at Arizona State, tried to play her way into the tournament via qualifying on May 14th but agonisingly came up one shot short.
However, she gratefully accepted the invite she received on Sunday evening and hopped on an early flight Monday morning to Alabama.
The last Irish golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open was Jordanstown born Stephanie Meadow who remarkably finished in third place, three shots behind the winner Michelle Wie, on her professional debut in 2014.
This will not be Olivia’s first experience of major golf, she competed in last year’s Ricoh British Open at Kingsbarns carding rounds of 72/75 to miss the cut.
“I’m excited, anytime you get the opportunity to tee it up with the professionals and play majors is amazing,” she added.

“I love the big events, the crowds and being surrounded by great players.”

It’s the start of a very busy summer of golf for Olivia who will go from the US Open to the Curtis Cup in New York (8-11 June) followed by the Palmer Cup at Evian Resort GC (July 6-8).
Olivia will be joined in the Curtis Cup team by Lisburn’s Paula Grant as GB&I attempt to retain the title they won at Dun Laoghaire GC two years ago.

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.

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 galgormcastle.com 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 niopen.golf).

 

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 (www.cashmanphotography.ie)

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.

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)

Ireland finalise International King’s Cup team to face USA at Lough Erne Resort

April 18, 2018

Team Ireland ready to face the USA in the International King’s Cup 2018 at Lough Erne Resort

Ireland’s team to face the USA in The International King’s Cup has been confirmed at the conclusion of a final qualifying event at Lough Erne Resort.
Following four regional qualifiers at Ennis Golf Club (Munster), Westport Golf Club (Connacht), Dunmurry Springs Golf Club (Leinster) and Lough Erne Resort (Ulster), 46 players arrived at the Co Fermanagh venue, focused on securing a place on Ireland’s 12 man (6 pairs) team to face the USA in May.
The competitors battled testing crosswinds on the Faldo Championship course with the Warrenpoint duo of Ryan Gribben and David Barron carding the lowest round of the day, a superb three under par 69.
“First and foremost we are absolutely delighted to be back at Lough Erne Resort for the King’s Cup,” said Ryan, a Barton Shield winner with the Co. Down club.
“It’s a top-class tournament and Lough Erne Resort make us feel very welcome. David and I played in the first King’s Cup, and we just missed qualifying last year by a shot.”
The Warrenpoint boys have a great history in the event. In the inaugural King’s Cup, they prevailed in a sudden death play-off to win the title for Ireland. They will be hoping to feature strongly again this year (May 14-18) with the home side chasing a hat-trick of victories.

Warrenpoint’s Ryan Gribben (left) rolls in a long eagle putt at Lough Erne

“In the regional qualifier we enjoyed flat calm conditions, playing some steady golf to get through,” added Ryan.
“The course played very differently for the final qualifier, with gusts of 20mph at times. We played some good golf on the front nine without holing any putts.
“We found ourselves one over par playing the par five 14th, which I managed to eagle. David birdied 15, and I squeezed another birdie on 17 to shoot three under in testing conditions. We’d have taken that score before we started.

“We both aren’t playing as much as we’d like with work commitments, so a week off in May, playing a top course against tough competition is a great way to kick off the golf season.”

Also returning for the 2018 tournament are the McKeever brothers from Kesh, Co. Fermanagh, both members of Donegal GC. The rest of the Ireland team is comprised of competitors from Tipperary, Clare, Wicklow, Dublin and Kildare.
The Ryder Cup-style tournament, supported by Tourism NI, honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer.
Both teams will stay on-site at Lough Erne Resort, with full access to The Golf Academy. The Irish team will receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and both teams will attend a Gala dinner as part of the event.

Gross scores are noted below:
Open Championship Flight (4.9 or less)
Ryan Gribben and David Barron (Warrenpoint GC) 69
Senior (50 +) Championship Flight
Martin Smyth and Liam Byrne (Druids Heath GC/Hermitage GC) 75
Open Flight A (5-9.9)
Declan McKeever and Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) 75
Senior (50+) Flight A
Michael Ryan and Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC) 74
Open Flight B (10-14.9)
Sean O’Gallachoir and Colin O’Leary (Cloughaneely GC/Cill Dara GC) 73
Senior (50+) Flight B
Oliver McNamara and Martin White (Ennis GC/Woodstock GC) 79.

Amateur news – Ulster stars lead Boys Order of Merit and ILGU Scratch Cup standings

April 17, 2018

Aaron Marshall (Lisburn GC) (© Golffile | Phil Inglis)

Lisburn’s Aaron Marshall is the new leader of the Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit following a superb display at the Peter McEvoy Trophy.
While Aaron narrowly missed out on the title, finishing one shot behind the winner at Copt Heath, he scooped 70 order of merit points for his performance.
An opening round 67 gave Marshall the lead at the halfway stage. His title challenge only came unstuck during the closing stages of the final round. Bogeys at two of the last three holes put paid to his chances.
Athenry’s Allan Hill was next best of the Irish at the McEvoy Trophy, taking seventh place. Hill is now second in Bridgestone Boys International Order of Merit, 22 points behind the leader.
Odhran Maguire from Slieve Russell slips to third having previously been tied at the top with Edward Walsh (Mallow) and Luke O’Neill (Connemara).
In ladies golf, a pair of Ulster golfers are leading the way at the top of the ILGU Scratch Cup rankings following the most recent event at Cork GC.
Malone’s Louise Coffey claimed the Ford Cork Scratch Cup on a countback from Lauren Murray (Delgany) at the weekend.
Victory moved Louise up to second place in the overall rankings on 48pts, 10 points behind Paula Grant (Lisburn) who skipped the Cork event.

Graham survives late mistake to win Donaghadee UGA event

March 1, 2018


A late stumble almost proved very costly for Gareth Graham in the latest round of the PING PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance series at Donaghadee GC.
The Groomsport Golf Centre professional was one under par playing the last but penciled in a double-bogey six after hitting his second shot out of bounds and off the clubhouse.
Fortunately, no damage was done to the building or his chances of winning the tournament. His one-over-par 72 earned him a narrow one-shot victory over Brian McElhinney (North West), Gary Wardlow (Spa) and Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park).

Gareth Graham

It was the second six on the winner’s card as he also made bogey at the par five second where he three-putted. He made eight pars on the rest of his run to the turn for an outwards trip of 37.
A drive and seven iron on to the 12th green set up the opening birdie of his round and he reached one-under-par with a drive and nine iron to a foot at the 15th. Regulation pars at the 16th and 17th holes left him still in the red but that unusual six left him signing for a 72.
Spa 13-handicapper Philip Burrows won the amateur’s overall nett prize on 41 points while Jessica Ross, who plays off three at Clandeboye, showed her male rivals how it should be done by winning the gross award on 32 points.

Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Tournament at Donaghadee
Professionals: 72 (+1) – G Graham (Portstewart)
73 – B McElhinney (North West), G Wardlow (Spa), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
75 – C Molloy (Mayobridge), B Wilson (Shandon Pk).
Amateurs: Overall Nett, 41 pts – P Burrows 13 (Spa).
Category One (8&Under): 40 pts – A Adair 4 (Clandeboye).
37 – A Thompson 8 (Belvoir Pk).
Category Two (9-13): 36 pts – G Hamill 13 (Shandon Pk).
34 – J Connolly 10 (Blackwood).
Category Three (14&Over): 34 pts – J Wilson 15 (Shandon Pk).
23 – S Gurr 23 (Spa).
Gross: 32 pts – Jessica Ross +3 (Clandeboye).
Team: 80 pts – Pro C Molloy (Mayobridge) with J Connolly 10, A Connolly 6 & I Moore 5 (all Blackwood).

Info provided by Tony McGee