Archive for the ‘amateur golf’ Category

Wilma Erskine collects Outstanding Contribution to Golf gong at IGTOA awards

October 28, 2018

Pictured l-r : Denis Kane, Chairman IGTOA, Arlene Foster, Leader of DUP, Wilma Erskine, Secretary Manager at Royal Portrush Golf Club, David Hudson, Vice Chairman IGTOA and Shane O’Donoghue, Golf Presenter

Wilma Erskine collected the Jerry Donworth Outstanding Contribution to golf award at the Irish Golf Tour Operator Association (IGTOA) awards event.
The long-serving Royal Portrush GM collected her gong at the annual Gala event which was held at Galgorm Castle Resort & Spa.
Erskine, who was hails from Ballymoney, has been one of the driving forces behind Royal Portrush’s successful bid to bring the Open Championship back to Northern Ireland. In winning this award, she follows in the footsteps of famous Irish golfing figures such as Mary McKenna, Padraig Harrington and Christy O’Connor Senior.
Royal Portrush broke with convention when they appointed a woman to the role of secretary/manager over 30 years ago. And now, with three decades behind her, Wilma has revealed that she will look to step aside once The Open concludes next year.
Wilma received the award from Kyra Donworth of JD Golf Tours and John McGrillen, CEO Tourism Northern Ireland. Video tributes were paid to Wilma from the former first minister, Arlene Forster, major winners Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy and actor James Nesbitt.
The IGTOA National Golf Tourism Conference and Gala Irish Golf Awards is the largest annual gathering of Irish Golf Tourism Industry professionals. This was the 21st staging of the event which included a Business Tourism Networking Event, The IGTOA Golf Classic which took place at Royal Portrush and the Gala Irish Golf Awards Ceremony.

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Award winners

2018 Jerry Donworth Outstanding Contribution to Golf
Wilma Erskine, at Royal Portrush Golf Club

2018 Golf Manager of the Year
Brian Hurley (Portmarnock Golf Club)

2018 Golf Resort of the Year
Adare Manor

2018 Links Golf Course of the Year
Ballyliffin (Glashedy Course)

2018 Parkland Golf Course of the Year
Dromoland Golf Club

2018 Large Golf Hotel of the Year
Great Southern Hotel (County Kerry)

2018 Boutique Golf Hotel of the Year
Craignamara B&B (Portrush)

2018 Best Customer Experience – Golf Course
Carne Golf Links

2018 Best Customer Experience – Property
Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links

2018 Best Customer Experience – Service Provider
Executive Helicopters

 

 

 

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Lough Erne Resort launches inaugural Winter Series

October 25, 2018

The 8th at Lough Erne

Keep your game sharp over the winter by competing in the inaugural 5-Star Lough Erne Resort Winter Series which will be played on the award-winning Faldo Championship Course.
On the first Thursday of each month from November 2018 to March 2019 competitors can battle it out for some fantastic daily prizes and a place in the Grand Final on March 28, 2019.
This six-event Stableford Winter Series is open to both male and female golfers with the leading four male and female players from each event qualifying for the Grand Final.
Competitors in the five qualifying events can win a range of great prizes sponsored by Titleist and Footjoy with the Grand Final featuring fantastic prizes sponsored by Lough Erne Resort. Men will play off White Tees, with ladies using the Red Tees.
The Faldo Course at the luxury Lough Erne Resort (a fixture in the UK & Ireland Top 100 rankings) was constructed to the highest possible standards. The sand-based fairways and USGA spec greens ensure that the course is playable all year round.
Tournament dates are as follows – Nov 1, 2018, Dec 6, 2018, Jan 3, 2019, Feb 7, 2019, and March 7, 2019 with the Grand Final hosted on March 28, 2019.
The entry fee for all five tournament days including the Grand Final is £175 (£35 per event) which includes refreshments at The Halfway House.
Faldo Championship Golf Professional, David Allen says: “We have decided to run the six-event Winter Series at Lough Erne to showcase the Faldo Championship Course and its exceptional playability 12 months of the year. This is the first time an event of this style has been on our calendar and we are very pleased to have secured sponsorship from Titleist and FootJoy to go alongside our own range of fantastic prizes.”
For booking and enquiries please phone +44 (0) 28 6634 5766 or email golfshop@lougherneresort.com.

 

Dundalk’s Lawlor relishing Sydney All-Abilities Championship opportunity

September 20, 2018

Brendan Lawlor

Dundalk’s Brendan Lawlor will take his place in the 12-person field to compete in the very first Australian All Abilities Championship at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney during the Emirates Australian Open (Nov 15-18).
In a world first, golfers with a disability will compete on the same course, under the same tournament playing conditions, alongside many of the world’s best touring professionals competing for the Open’s time-honoured Stonehaven Cup
The 21-year-old Lawlor has earned himself a place in the field via the Rankings for Golfers with a Disability and comes on the back of a superb summer competing at European Disabled Golf events.
Speaking on the NI Golf Podcast Lawlor stated; “It’s going to be a fantastic trip. It’s a three-day event and we will be playing on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Playing against this quality of field and in front of all the spectators will be something else. To be part of it will be phenomenal.”
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers was thrilled with the Golf Australia initiative.
“We’re delighted (the tournament can) showcase the leading golfers with disability and use the Rankings For Golfers with a Disability (R4GD) in the qualification process,” Slumbers said.
“The Australian All Abilities Championship will do much to promote the inclusive nature of golf to a global audience and to demonstrate that golf is a game for all, for life.”

The AAAC field will feature seven Europeans and one golfer from the Dominican Republic as part of the collaboration between Golf Australia and the European Disabled Golf Association that also aims to increase the profile of inclusive golf on the global stage.
The players taking part in the AAAC during the Australian Open are world No.1 Charles-Henri Quelin, of France, Spain’s Juan Postigo (ranked second), Australia’s Shane Luke (fourth), Sweden’s Johan Kammerstad (fifth), England’s Ashley Harris (seventh), Germany’s Timo Klischan (eighth), Belgium’s Adem Wahbi (ninth), Manuel De Los Santos, of the Dominican Republic (10th), and Australians Stephen Prior (11th), Mike Rolls (14th) and Geoff Nicholas (16th).
Golf Australia national inclusion manager Christian Hamilton was excited that players with a disability would have the opportunity to share the global spotlight.
“This is far from an exhibition event. These are some of the world’s best players, as determined by the R4GD, and they’ll face the same test as all the champions who’ll be battling for the Aussie Open,” he said.
“One of the sport’s great advantages is its capacity to include; these tournaments combined will not only inspire the public to see that, but also encourage other golfing federations to follow Australia’s lead in making the game accessible to all.”

To hear all of Brendan’s interview click on the link above.

USA cruise to Espirito Santo Trophy success; Ireland finish in 11th

September 2, 2018

The United States of America produced a final day flourish to win the World Amateur Championship and take home the Espirito Santo Trophy for the first time since 1998.
Ireland entered the closing round at Carton House with an outside chance of taking a medal but they failed to gain ground and an even par return for the day left them finishing in a tie for 11th place.
Japan finished second on 19 under with the Republic of Korea one shot further back in third.
Winning bronze two years ago set a new bar for Irish ladies golf, which makes it easy to forget that this week’s display matched Ireland’s previous best of tied 11th in 2010.
“We were up there close but just the second day we didn’t get things going and that kind of put us behind for the whole week,” said Annabel Wilson, whose final round 72 (-1) was Ireland’s best score on the less demanding O’Meara Course.
Olivia Mehaffey was Ireland’s highest placed individual, tied 12th on three under. Wilson tied 23rd on minus one and Lisburn’s Paula Grant birdied the last for 75 to share 63rd on plus seven.
“To go four under on the Monty was pretty good,” said Mehaffey.
“Disappointing on the O’Meara. It was out there. I really, really struggled with the flat stick. I lost my feel and that’s the way it goes sometimes when you chase it.”
Five shots clear going into the last round, the US coasted home by 10. Kristen Gillman carded 67 and world number one Jennifer Kupcho shot 69 as Korea dropped from second to third with Japan taking silver.
There was some consolation for Korea’s Ayean Cho, who finished as the leading individual on 17 under.
The World Amateur Team Championships are being hosted by the ILGU and GUI with support from Sport Ireland.

Copy via ILGU/GUI

Lurgan’s Wilson relishing ‘home’ Espirito Santo Trophy opportunity at Carton House

August 28, 2018

The Irish Ladies Team of Paula Grant, Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson in high spirits after their final practice round at the 2018 World Amateur Team Championship at Carton House Golf Resort,
Picture by Pat Cashman

Ireland will be hoping to make the most of home advantage this week when the World Amateur Team Championship gets underway at Carton House on Wednesday (August 29th).
Two years ago in Mexico, Ireland collected bronze with a team featuring Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson.
Maguire has since moved on to the professional ranks but Wilson (Lurgan) and Mehaffey (RCDL) are back in the Irish team and have been joined this time by GB&I Curtis Cup player Paula Grant (Lisburn).
“It was so nice playing two years ago. At that stage of my career, it was the highest level I had played at,” said Annabel.
“So it was a big goal for me to make the team here at Carton House. It’s very special to be playing at home. The Home Internationals were down at Ballybunion and it really does add something special.
“We also played the British Amateur up at Ardglass and it was lovely to see family out there watching because you want to hit good shots for them.”
Still not 18, Annabel has already racked up an impressive list of results including a win at the French U18 Championship in 2017. This season she has enjoyed top-15s at the Portuguese Amateur and the Faldo Series International Finals as well as progressing to the last 32 at the Ladies British Amateur Championship.
In the process, Wilson broke into the world’s top 100 [currently ranked 85th] and she managed all this whilst studying and completing exams.
She added; “I finished my AS exams in May and will start my A-Levels in September. I feel like I didn’t manage my time well and I was playing catch up throughout the whole year. It was tough on me.

“Next year I won’t be playing as many tournaments. I need to try and get my exam results so I can take up a place at UCLA in September 2019. It’s a huge opportunity and I really want to get there.”

This year there are a record number of entries (58) attempting to snatch the Espirito Santo Trophy away from South Korea who won by a record-equalling margin of 21 strokes two-years ago.
Each team is made up of two or three players, who each play 18 holes of stroke play over four days (Wed-Sat). In each round, the total of the two lowest scores from each team constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day (72-hole) total is the team’s score for the championship.
“We play with South Korea the first two rounds so they are obviously the best in the world so it’s incredible that we peg ourselves with them but again we’re very much focusing on our game,” said team captain Danielle McVeigh.
“It’s good to see where we’re at but they might win or they might not play well. If we just test ourselves against who we’re playing with, it might be no use either. It’s cool to see but let’s get on with it and hit our own shots.”
And Ireland’s leading player, Olivia Mehaffey, is refusing to put too much pressure on her team to succeed at home.
“I personally don’t have any expectations for this week. I just want to have a really good time, enjoy it,” said the 20-year-old from Banbridge who is ranked 23rd in the world.
“I think I tend to play better when I’m having a good time. I think it’s exciting that it’s in Ireland. I love playing in front of people and hopefully we get some good crowds in.
“In Mexico, we had no expectations. It was a big surprise to us to get a bronze medal. It would be lovely to do the same thing again but you know, hole by hole and day by day.”

Ireland select Mehaffey, Wilson and Grant for Espirito Santo Trophy bid at Carton House

August 1, 2018

Olivia Mehaffey in action with ASU

Olivia Mehaffey will lead Ireland’s bid for World Championship success at Carton House (Aug 29-Sept 1).
The Banbridge golfer, ranked 21 in the world, has been named in Ireland’s three-person team alongside Paula Grant (Lisburn) and Annabel Wilson (Lurgan).
Republic of Korea are defending champions following their victory in Mexico two years ago but Ireland will present a strong home challenge having finished third in 2016 to take the bronze medal for the first time.
“I think in the past this small team format has suited Ireland so there’s no reason why we can’t do well this time,” said Olivia who is readying to fly out to Tennessee to compete in the US Women’s Amateur Championship starting on August 6.
“We all know Carton House (Co Kildare) pretty well from playing and practicing down there but to be honest a lot of the other teams have already made trips over to see the venue and the facilities.

“From a personal point of view, it’s nearly more important to have fans out there encouraging and supporting you so I hope we get some good crowds at the event.”

It will be the first time Ireland has played host to the Championships, with the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union combining to host the event, welcoming competitors from 72 participating nations.
Annabel and Olivia played in the last staging in 2016 alongside Leona Maguire but this will be a debut appearance in the event for Paula Grant.
The golf gets underway on 29 August with the Women’s World Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy. The men’s championship for the Eisenhower Trophy begins a week later on 5 September.
It’s been another hectic summer of golf for Olivia who will return to college in America following the US Amateur. The 20-year-old has competed in the Curtis Cup, Palmer Cup, Euro Team Championships and the most recently the Euro Amateur Championships.
“The final result in the Curtis Cup was disappointing (GB&I lost 17-3 against the USA) but I was involved in some really good matches and I took some confidence from that,” added Olivia.
“We performed well at the Team Championship in Austria and then I played pretty well last week at the Euro Amateur. It was probably one of my best ball-striking tournaments of the year but I just didn’t putt great. Overall, I feel like I am moving in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Irish Women’s Close Champion Sara Byrne and Lauren Walsh, who made her senior international debut this year will travel alongside Wilson to the World Junior Golf Championships in Ottawa.
The event, which is by invite only, will pit 20 International Teams against one another at Camleot Golf & Country Club from September 9th to 14th.
Tickets for the World Amateur Team Championships are free of charge but those wishing to attend are asked to register for them in advance at http://www.watc2018.ie.

Ronan Mullarney secures place in NI Open field

July 17, 2018

Galway’s Ronan Mullarney receiving the Northern Ireland Amateur Open trophy from Peter Daly, Captain Galgorm Castle, and Valerie Penney from Specsavers Ballymena

On a day of low scoring, Ronan Mullarney came out on top to win the 2018 Modest! Golf Northern Ireland Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena and Cleveland Srixon, at Galgorm Castle and with it booked his place in next month’s NI Open.
The Galway international was in sensational form, carding rounds of 67, 66 for a nine-under-par total 133 to win by three from Forrest Little’s Jack McDonnell (68, 68) in second. Local favourite and Galgorm Castle member Michael Reid took third with rounds of 70, 67.
Reid’s better afternoon card edged out Ardglass’ Adam Mulhall (68,69), who also finished on four-under 137. Mulhall continued his great form of late just days after reaching the semi-final of the North of Ireland at Royal Portrush.
Mullarney hit the front after his opening 67 and went on to shoot the best score of the afternoon too by going one better for his 66 to win comfortably.
The winning strategy was simple. “Keep it out of the water, the rough, the trees and hole a few putts,” said the plus four handicapper afterwards.
Having started on the 10th, Mullarney covered the back nine in four-under 31 in the final round before picking up a sixth birdie of the afternoon at the par five ninth, his final hole.
Mullarney was part of the International Palmer Cup side that lost to the United States at Evian Resort, France two weeks ago and is now looking forward to teeing it up with the professionals at Galgorm Castle when the NI Open takes place from August 16-19.

“The invite to the NI Open was the main reason for playing here today. I really wanted to play in a professional event this year and I’m delighted to secure my place in the NI Open.”

The Paddy Harrington scholar at Maynooth University will now seek out Jordan Hood, fellow Maynooth scholar and Galgorm Castle member, for some extra practice at the Ballymena venue in the coming weeks.
“I might have to get a few more games here with Jordan. The course really suited my eye and I knew yesterday that I liked the place. It’s not a million miles from my home course,” added the winner, who is busy combining golf with his studies.
“I’ll play the South (of Ireland) and the (Irish) Close and some club golf, Senior Cup and Barton Shield between now and the NI Open. I actually have a college assignment to do to as well. I’m doing a Masters in Strategy and Innovation. It’s going ok, the golf is going better than the studies.”
Entry to the NI Open is free, simply register online at http://www.niopen.golf.

Leading scores from the 2018 Northern Ireland Amateur Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Ballymena
Full results
133 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 67, 66)
136 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) 68, 68)
137 Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle) 70, 67, Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) 68, 69
141 Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) 72, 69
142 Jonathan Gourley (Shandon Park) 71, 71
143 Adam Barr (Ballymena) 71, 72, Max Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 71, 72, Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu) 69, 74
144 Marc Norton (Belvoir Park) 70, 74

Outsider Lynch grabs his moment in the sun at Royal Portrush

July 14, 2018

Ian Lynch (Rosslare)
Tos Caffrey / Golffile

Unheralded Ian Lynch (Rosslare GC) won the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at a sun-baked Royal Portrush GC. The 29-year-old software engineer beat Englishman, Kieran Babbage (The Players Club) 2&1 in Friday’s final.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I came up here for a bit of a family holiday and some golf and now I’m North of Ireland champion. It’s surreal to even say it, it’s unbelievable,” said Lynch moments after clinching victory on the 17th.
“I was playing ok before the tournament started. I won a scratch cup a month or so ago but still, this is a big step up. I played alright on the first day of qualifying on The Valley, shooting three under.
“I thought, ‘fair enough, you have a chance of making the matchplay stages now’.
“From then on I was just taking it one round at a time. Anything can happen in match play. In the first round I won on the 20th and then in the quarter-finals, I went to the 19th.
“If any of those tight matches go the wrong way I’m home early but thankfully, they went my way.”
There was nothing to separate the finalists in the early exchanges and the match was level as they turned for home. Lynch then made his move, winning the 10th and 11th in par to go two clear.
Babbage conceded the 14th when he came to grief in a greenside bunker to fall three behind. Although Lynch bogeyed 15, Babbage could not capitalise and that left him needing to win 16 to keep the match alive.
Lynch failed to find the green with his tee shot at Calamity and Babbage this time took advantage and made par to take the final down the penultimate hole.
That was as far as they went. Lynch found the fairway with his drive down the hill on 17 and pocketed a regulation par from 30 feet to take the title.
“I didn’t play great in the semi-final, kind of scraped it around and holed a few putts but in the final I played a lot better,” added Ian.

“Kieran threw a few birdies at me and I was playing par golf. If he birdied a hole to beat me I didn’t feel too bad about that but if he bogeyed my solid par stuff was winning me the hole.

“I made a mental error on 16, I should never have been anywhere near that flag. I should have been up the left all day but I almost had an unbelievable up and down from the valley in front of the green. That would have been a nice way to win but I’ll take doing it with a par on 17 any day.”
In the morning semi-finals Lynch saw off leading qualifier, Matthew McClean (Malone) 2&1 while Babbage finally beat Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) on the 19th hole.
Next year’s North of Ireland Championship will retain the same date but will move to Castlerock and Portstewart to accommodate final preparations for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Matt McClean and Adam Mulhall carry Ulster hopes at North of Ireland Championship

July 13, 2018

Matthew McClean (Malone)
Tos Caffrey / Golffile

The ‘home’ challenge ran into trouble on day four of the North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush.
Four players from the host club were in action on Thursday raising hopes of a first win for the club since Patrick McCrudden in 2011 but, one by one, they all bowed out.
At the end of the day, Ulster hopes were left in the hands of leading qualifier Matthew McClean (Malone) and Adam Mulhall (Ardglass).
This is uncharted territory for McClean who reached the last 16 in 2014 before losing to eventual winner, Chris Selfridge.
“I felt happy enough today, surprisingly, I had minimal nerves,” said the 25-year-old optometrist who beat Barry Cashman (Belvoir Park) in the quarter-finals yesterday afternoon.
“Overall today I made a lot of good pars but missed some birdie chances.
“I didn’t miss a huge amount of greens and that will be hard to beat if you can do that for hopefully two rounds tomorrow.”
With seven visits to the ‘North’ under his belt, McClean is by far the most experienced of the four semi-finalists. In contrast to today’s opponent, Ian Lynch (Rosslare), conceded that two rounds in a day was ‘the most golf I have played in a long time’.
The 29-year-old software engineer is enjoying his best championship run and managed to beat Eanna Griffin (Waterford) on the 19th to reach the last four.
“Everything now is a bonus, I love it here,” said Lynch who has never qualified for the match-play stages in four visits to the North.

“I like to be attacking and hit driver everywhere. If it comes off, it comes off. I don’t do laying up.”

In the other semi-final Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) will play English visitor Kieran Babbage (The Players Club). Mulhall will become a trainee professional at Ardglass GC in October and would love to bow out of amateur golf with a win.
“It’s a bit of a surprise to get this far,” said the 22-year-old who recently graduated from Stirling University with a degree in Sports Science.
“I knew I was capable but it was a just a matter of putting it all together.”
Mulhall knocked out Tyrone Clarke, son of Open Champion, Darren, in the last eight yesterday while today’s opponent, Babbage, knocked out another home favourite Matt McAlpin.
“This is my first visit to play in the North of Ireland. I have never played in any events here,” said the 21-year-old.
“It’s pot luck that I am here at all. I was with my mate Dan Sheehan and he encouraged me to enter.
“I didn’t even know the tournament existed but when he said it was at Portrush, I was like definitely, I will come and play!”

Quarter-final results
Ian Lynch (Rosslare) bt Eanna Griffin (Waterford) 19th
Matthew McClean (Malone) bt Barry Cashman (Belvoir Park) 4&3
Kieran Babbage (The Players Club) bt Matthew McAlpin (Royal Portrush) 1hle
Adam Mulhall (Ardglass) bt Tyrone Clarke (Royal Portrush) 3&1
Today
8.15am – Lynch v McClean
8.30am – Babbage v Mulhall

Final
1.30pm

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