Archive for the ‘amateur golf’ Category

Magical Maguire claims Ladies British Amateur Championship title

June 18, 2017

Leona Maguire with the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship trophy and the Pam Barton Memorial Salver

Leona Maguire cemented her place at the top of the amateur world rankings with victory in the 114th Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig.
The 22-year-old beat Spain’s Ainhoa Olarra 3&2 in the 18-hole final on the South Wales coast to seal the biggest amateur win of her career.
The Duke University student will now take her place in US Women’s Open next month and the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, near St Andrews, in August.
The Irish international follows in the footsteps of Stephanie Meadow, who defeated Spain’s Rocio Sanchez Lobato 4&3 at Carnoustie in 2012. Both Leona and Stephanie represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“It’s been a fantastic week and I’ve played some really great golf. It’s a real highlight of my career to have won the championship,” said Leona.
“It’s one of the biggest amateur events and one that I felt I hadn’t given as good a go as I could have done in the past few years. It’s great to get my name on the trophy alongside some of the biggest names.

“Ainhoa played really great golf and she pushed me all the way to the end. I knew I was going to have to play well. She threw all the birdies she could at me and I was glad I was able to rise to it.”

Leona made a flying start after dispatching a birdie opportunity on the first but the match returned to all-square on the following hole, Olarra saving par while Maguire struggled with a bogey.
Maguire found herself behind, remarkably for the first time in the championship’s entire match play stage, after Olarra, who won the Spanish Amateur Championship in 2013, picked up a birdie on the third to move 1 up.The South Carolina University scholar saw her lead pulled back immediately when Maguire fought back with a birdie to win the fourth and was powerless to stop the Curtis Cup representative regaining control of the contest on the fifth after she rolled in a birdie on the par-five to take a one hole advantage.

Maguire, who recently won the Annika Award for the second time in her career, strengthened her position even further after winning the seventh and ninth to go three up but Olarra reduced the deficit at the 10th.
Nevertheless, the three-hole gap was restored on the 11th when the two-time McCormack Medal winner notched up her fifth birdie of the round and the Duke University student remained steady with a par on the 12th to go four up after her Spanish opponent could only manage a bogey.
Olarra refused to throw in the towel and the youngster from San Sabastian halted Maguire’s momentum by winning two of the next three holes, producing a vital birdie on the 15th.
The match was decided on the following hole, however. Olarra had struggled with her putting throughout the match and a bogey on the 16th left Maguire with a par putt to win the championship which she duly rolled in for a 3&2 victory.
In the morning’s semi-finals, Maguire defeated Finland’s Anna Backman 3&2 to secure her passage to the final. Olarra closed out her match with Norway’s Stina Resen on the par-three 15th, rolling in a birdie putt to seal a 4&3 win.
Maguire’s win capped an excellent Championship for Ireland which saw Paula Grant (Lisburn) to lead qualifying. Five Irish players made it through to the match-play stages.

Castle Hume’s Donnelly wins at Mahee Island

June 7, 2017


It was bright and windy at well-manicured Mahee Island for the staging of another round in the PGA Summer Masters tournament, with Shaun Donnelly making the best of the conditions.
The cross-country trip for the Castle Hume club professional paid dividends as he posted a one-over-par 69 to stay clear of the chasing pack, three shots ahead of Ciarán Molloy (Ardee), Chris Carvill (Belvoir Pk) and Gary Chambers (Killymoon).
Four birdies and five bogeys decorated the winner’s card with, ironically, bogey fives at the sixth, seventh and 13th holes being caused by tree trouble. His other bogey was when he was short at the 16th and failed to get up and down in regulation.
Over the first nine holes, Donnelly’s birdies were pencilled in at the third, where he pitched to four feet, and the ninth, where he rolled in a 25-footer for another birdie three.
Second time around, he chipped to three feet at his 10th hole for another birdie and his fourth birdie three landed at his finishing hole as he sank a 15-footer.
Blackwood six-handicapper Paul Holmes won the amateur’s nett prize with 37 points while Andrew Clegg, who plays off one at Donaghadee, took the gross award, matching Donnelly’s 69.
Pro Ciarán Molloy and Blackwood amateurs Paul Holmes, Jim Connolly and Colin Treston (8) were the team winners, carding 95 points.

Summer Masters Mahee Island scoreboard

Leading scores
PGA Summer Masters at Mahee Island
Professionals: 69 (+1) – S Donnelly (Castle Hume).
72 – C Molloy (Ardee), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), G Chambers (Killymoon).
73 – C Gallaher (Greenacres), G Graham (Groomsport GR).

Amateurs: Nett, 37 pts – P Holmes 6 (Blackwood).
38 – S Wiles 8 (Belvoir Pk).
37 – J Connolly 12 (Blackwood).
Gross, 69 (+1) – A Clegg 1 (Donaghadee).
Team: 95 pts – Pro C Molloy (Ardee) with P Holmes 6, C Treston 8 & J Connolly 12 (all Blackwood).

With thanks to Tony McGee

North of Ireland competitors to test Open lay-out at Royal Portrush

June 1, 2017

Stephen Ferris, Brand Ambassador Cathedral Eye with Andrew Spence Cathedral Eye, Eamon O’Connor Chair GUI Ulster Branch and  John Bamber, Chair of the Open Championship Committee launching the Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 
Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

Fancy a taste of the Open Championship?
The revamped Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush will host this year’s Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship (July 10-14) and the GUI is still accepting entries.
The famous North Coast links has been upgraded ahead of the Open Championship in 2019 and club officials are keen to see how the new lay-out performs in Championship conditions.
The new seventh named Curran Point and eighth hole named Dunluce will be put into play and competitors will finish their rounds at the current 16th hole
“We have no evidence how the new seventh and eighth holes will play other than what professional architects have told us will happen,” said John Bamber, Chairman of the Open Championship Committee.

“The North of Ireland gives us the opportunity to get 300 top class golfers out there giving us data which will allow us to decide how we play those holes in the coming months.

“It is the perfect opportunity, a field of category one golfers, championship golfers, playing the course. What better way to assess the two new holes. I just hope we get relatively fair links conditions during the tournament.”
The new holes, designed by MacKenzie & Ebert, will actually open for play on June 24th to host Mr David McMullan’s Captain’s Day competition. For the members, it will be the first time they get to sample the course as it will be configured for the Open Championship.
“In many ways it is an historic occasion,” added Bamber.
“The last time two new holes were added to the Dunluce, people like Harry Colt were involved.
“I know that in previous years we have revamped a number of tee boxes but this is completely new. It really is something very special.”
The current 17th and 18th holes will be removed from play towards the end of the summer as work continues to create the infrastructure to host the Open Championship.
The closing date for entries into the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship is June 12. For more details visit http://www.golfnet.ie.

Ciara Casey claims Ulster Women’s Championship

May 31, 2017

(l-r) Ray Gregg, Hon Sect, Ulster District ILGU; Ciara Casey (The Hermitage) and Dr Joan Millar, Chair, Ulster District ILGU

Ciara Casey (The Hermitage) was crowned Ulster Women’s Champion at Moyola Park on Tuesday beating Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 2&1 in the final.
Casey, a member of the ILGU’s High Performance panel, who won the Leinster Girls’ Championship in 2015 was made to battle hard by Forbes.
The pair were locked together after nine holes and Casey found herself one down after 12 but she finished strongly, winning the 15th, 16th and 17th to grab her first senior title.
“I’m absolutely delighted, it was a great week at Moyola Park,” said the 19-year-old who will take up a golf scholarship at Maynooth University in September.

“There was some really good golf played in the final. I was approximately one under through those opening nine holes. Emma played well but I just sort of hung in there towards the end and kept making important pars.”

The Junior Championship was won by Temple’s Dawn Scarborough who beat home favourite, Mary O’Kane 4&3 in the final.
“I was slightly surprised to be honest, especially after watching Mary hole a putt of around 40 feet on the first,” said Dawn, a 12 handicapper.
“I have played in the Ulster Championship for a number of years and it does prove that once you make it through the stroke play qualifying anything can happen in the match-play stages.”
Massereene’s Lucy Simpson, who topped the stroke play qualifying rounds with a total of 152, one shot ahead of Casey, was forced to withdraw from the match-play rounds following a family illness.

Ulster Women’s Championship results

GolfNow introduces new Junior NI Open

May 29, 2017

Faith, Theo and Noah gearing up for the GolfNow Junior NI Open 2017 at Galgorm Castle Golf Club


GolfNow, the leader in online tee time technology, has renewed their sponsorship of the NI Open for the third year in a row and this year will launch a brand new interactive family event at the tournament.
In conjunction with the NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf, GolfNow will host the Junior NI Open to run alongside the main tournament at the Interactive Zone, where children aged 6–9 and 10–13 can take part in the boys and girls competition.
Families stand to win a brand new set of junior TaylorMade clubs for their children. Alongside this great prize, NI Open hosts Galgorm Castle will provide a junior membership to each lucky winner, while the NI Open’s presenting sponsor, Modest! Golf Management, will also be supporting the Junior NI Open with Modest! Golf prizes.
Andrew Hollywood, Marketing Director at GolfNow, said: “We are committed to growing the game of golf and have developed a fantastic junior tournament in line with the main event. The NI Open has a fun interactive zone at the tournament every year and this time around we have a fun competition that is open to junior golfers and is free to enter.

It was important to create something that the whole family can take part in and make starting out on a golf course a less intimidating place.”

Ross Oliver, NI Open Event Manger, commented: “We are delighted to have GolfNow’s continued support for the NI Open. The introduction of the Junior NI Open by GolfNow is a fantastic addition to the event and augments the message that the NI Open is truly a golf tournament for all the family.”
To take part in the Junior NI Open, simply pop along to the Interactive Zone, enjoy a free lesson from PGA Professionals, pick up your competition card from the GolfNow team and hit the pitch and putt course. The competition will run on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of tournament week (August 10-13) with the winners announced at 2pm on the final day.
Entry to the NI Open is FREE, simply register for your free tickets online at http://www.niopen.golf or download the NI Open app.

With thanks to Paul Gallagher

Ireland hold off USA singles fightback to retain International King’s Trophy

May 25, 2017

Ireland’s Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC) with Team USA’s Jacob PSavlk (Bay Pointe GC)
Picture by John McVitty

Ireland retained the International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort on Thursday but the eventual margin of victory proved to be much closer than expected.
Leading by 30 points going into today’s (Thursday’s) 16 singles matches Ireland squeezed over the finish line by a mere eight points.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, features 16-man teams of club golfers from both Ireland and the USA going head-to-head over the Sir Nick Faldo designed course in Co. Fermanagh.
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 had the better of things on the opening day, finishing a series of fourball and greensomes matches with 303 points to the USA’s 273 points.
With the singles left to play, Ireland needed to break the 576 point marker to retain the title but found the USA side in no mood to roll over.

The USA went on to win nine of the 16 singles ties but Ireland’s overnight buffer and a superb individual effort from Irvinestown’s Martin Peters (Donegal GC), who beat Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek) 27-9, saw Ireland home.
“Even though it’s friendly competition, there is still a lot of pride involved as you are representing your country and playing for your team mates so I was focused on doing well today,” said the 37-year-old Irvinestown based Peters.

“I got ahead around the sixth and from there on I stayed in control. In match play you have to try and keep the pressure on. Keep getting up on the tee first and finding the fairway.”

Team Ireland – winners of the 2017 International King’s Cup

Ireland’s other singles winners were Declan McKeever (Donegal GC), Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill), Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC), John Collins (Westport GC) and Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) with Niall Clince (Craddockstown) claiming a half.
International King’s Cup founder, Larry Lunsford was disappointed to lose for the second time but buoyed by a strong fightback today (Thursday).
“All I can say is that I am proud of the team for making such a huge comeback on the last day.
It was remarkable, better than anything I have ever seen,” said Larry.
“You know, when we made the turn the teams were level on the day so to make up 22 points over the closing nine holes was a great effort.”

Thursday May 25
The International King’s Cup
At Lough Erne Resort
Singles results
Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC) 12 Jacob Pavlk (Bay Pointe GCC) 24
Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) 20 David Adams (Castlewoods GC) 15
Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) 21 Dennis Bassham (Auburn GC) 15
Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) 16 Patrick Olsen (Auburn GC) 20
Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill) 22 Mike Farber (Golf Club of Georgia) 14
Kevin Commins (Ardee) 17 Marvin Warner (Atlanta CC) 19
Martin Peters (Donegal GC) 27 Joseph Costello (Tijares Creek CC) 9
Vincent Owens (Omagh GC) 12 Matt McDevitt (Tijares Creek CC) 24
Alan Moran (Tuam GC) 14 Carl Ellis (Pinery CC) 22
Colm Feeney (Galway Bay GC) 20 Andy Titterton (Pinery CC) 16
Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) 18 Bill Orne (The Legends GC) 18
Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC) 16 Michael White (New Berlin Hills) 20
John Collins (Westport GC) 19 Michael DiFrancesco (Sandridge GC) 17
Liam Friel (Westport GC) 12 Gary Morris (Sandridge GC) 24
James McAllister (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 15 Andy Kieffer (Hawthorne Woods) 21
Patsy O’Donnell (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 16 Phil Smith (Schaumburg GC) 20
Overall results
Fourballs: Ireland 148 USA 140
Greensomes: Ireland 155 USA 133
Singles: Ireland 277 USA 299
Total: Ireland 580 USA 572

O’Keeffe produces professional display to win Irish Amateur Championship at RCD

May 15, 2017

Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas) winner of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club. Picture by Pat Cashman

Cork’s Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas GC) showed the value of experience as he eased to a three-shot victory at the Flogas Irish Amateur Championship on Sunday.
A patient approach around Royal County Down paid off for the former professional as he closed with a two over par 73 to finish three shots ahead of Scotland’s Christopher MacLean and England’s Tom Sloman.
“I am absolutely delighted. I had a feeling I was going to win something big this season,” said the 35-year-old.
“It feels fantastic. It was tough to keep my emotions in check there going up the last and it was nice to have a few shots to lean on. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

O’Keeffe made six visits to the European Tour Q-school before reapplying for his amateur status at the end of 2013. He was then forced to sit out a two-year eligibility period and returned to the amateur game in 2016.
“It was tough. I always knew that I was going to be competitive at some level again. It wasn’t a case of retiring,” he added.
“My problem was that I never had the financial structure to plan a professional career. I still believe that I have a good game to bring me to a certain level. It’s nice to get a title like this to reaffirm that.”
And while his professional career may not have gone as planned, the experience gained was put to good use as he plotted his way around the Championship course.
“I don’t get flustered on a golf course anymore. When I was on tour, I had a buddy in Dave Connolly caddying for me, and he will tell you that was our big thing,” he said.

“There were times when I’d be ripping gloves off my hand on the golf course. Crazy stuff. I have done a complete full circle on that. But that took a lot of work. It took a long time and a lot of bad experiences to realise that was the way forward.

Marc Norton (Belvoir Park)

“I remember playing with Simon Thornton in my very first tour school, and we were playing in horrendous conditions. I got through but he cruised through, and that was the unflappable attitude that I wanted to get.”
Peter began Sunday’s final 18 holes one shot ahead of MacLean and two shots ahead of Belvoir Park’s Marc Norton and England’s Matthew Jordan. He played the front nine in level par 35 and turning for home, had extended his advantage to four shots.
A birdie at the 11th extended his lead to five before his only wobble of the day at 15th when he managed to four-putt.
“Yes I felt pressure, I lost concentration on the 15th green but I ground out a par on the next hole and then I just cruised in really,” he added.
Norton’s challenge was effectively ended on the ninth when he walked off with a quadruple bogey eight. The 19-year-old eventually signed for a 12 over 72 that saw him finish in a share of 39th.
Defending champion, Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), who opened with a disastrous eight over par 79, battled back to end the tournament tied for 30th alongside Colin Fairweather (Knock) on 12 over par.

PGA Pro-Am at Kilkeel GC to raise funds for Down’s Syndrome Association

May 15, 2017

(l-r) Declan Fitzpatrick Kilkeel Golf Club Captain, Liam McCarten Kilkeel Golf Club President, Caiomhe McPolin, Seamus McKibben PGA & Pro Am Organiser, Sophie Allister, Yvonne Cassidy PGA.

Kilkeel Golf Club will host a PGA in Ireland Pro-Am on June 8th to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association NI.
The team event will feature 50 of Ireland’s leading PGA professionals competing alongside amateur players at the Co Down venue.
Kilkeel was designed by the great golf course architect Eddie Hackett and is situated within the walls of the Kilmorey Estate at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. The par 72 course measures 6,615 yards from the medal tees.
There is a limited number of tee times available at a cost of £350. This will entitle three amateur players to compete in the Pro-Am alongside one of the professionals. A morning and afternoon shot-gun start will be in operation with food served to all the competitors on the completion of their rounds.
Alternatively, for those who cannot attend but still want to support the event there are still some tee sponsorship opportunities available.
The Down’s Syndrome Association aims to create the conditions that all people with Down’s syndrome need to live full and rewarding lives. The NI operation, based in Belfast, consists of five full-time staff members who rely solely on fundraising efforts to fund their support groups.
If you are interested in entering a team for the Pro-Am, sponsoring a tournament tee or would like to make a donation please contact, Seamus McKibbin, Pro-Am coordinator at seamusmckibbin19@gmail.com 07793811015 or Jerry Scullion PGA Professional at Kilkeel GC at jerryscullionpga@gmail.com 07766818466

Belvoir Park’s Chris Carvill masters Summer series event at Castlerock

May 10, 2017

The ninth green at Castlerock GC

Belvoir Park’s Chris Carvill won the opening event of the Ping Summer Masters Series at a sun-drenched Castlerock GC.
Carvill’s level par 73 earned him a one shot win over Knock’s Ricky Whitford and Castle Hume’s Sean Donnelly.
It was a mixed bag of four birdies and four bogeys for the Belvoir Park man who handled the long holes well but had trouble with the short ones.
He began with birdie three at the first hole being just four feet from the pin after a rescue and eight iron approach. At the next, he handed back his advantage when short of the green and failed to get up-and-down for par four.

Chris Carvill

However, he turned in one-under-par 35 after holing from 15 feet on the eighth green for birdie three.
Off the 14th tee Carvill buried his four iron into a greenside bunker and pencilled in bogey four but immediately regained the lost ground when he chipped and putted for a four at the long 15th hole to be one under again.
That situation didn’t last long as he double-bogeyed the par three 16th when, after being short right and chipping on, he three stabbed the green.
He got back to level par when trimming the long 17th hole to four blows when, after a three wood and nine iron approach, he chipped and putted for birdie.
The amateur’s best nett prize was won by Castle Hume 17-handicapper Michael Kearney who carded 40 points with Belvoir Park’s Marc Norton taking the gross award on 37 points.
It was double success for pro Donnelly and amateur Kearney as they dovetailed perfectly with their Castle Hume colleagues Raymond Gallagher and Graham Veitch to win the team event on 102 points. Two scores count at all holes except the ninth and 18th where all four scores count.

Full scores – Summer Masters Series at Castlerock

Ping PGA Summer Masters Tournament at Castlerock
Professionals: 73 (Level) – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
74 – R Whitford (Knock), S Donnelly (Castle Hume).
75 – D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf).
76 – G Graham (Groomsport DR).
77 – V Teague (Loughgall).
Amateurs: Nett, 40 pts – M Kearney 17 (Castle Hume) … 1st;
40 – A Verner 5 (Portstewart) … 2nd;
39 – D Barber 3 (Portstewart).
Gross, 37 pts – M Norton +1 (Belvoir Pk).
Team: 102 pts – Pro S Donnelly with amateurs R Gallagher 5, M Kearney 17 & G Veitch 12 (all Castle Hume).

With thanks to Tony McGee

Modest! Golf invite secures spot in NI Open for leading U18 player at NI Amateur Open

May 7, 2017

Cormac Sharvin

Two places in the NI Open are up for grabs at this year’s Northern Ireland Amateur Open at Galgorm Castle.
The winner plus the leading under-18 player will qualify for the NI Open, presented by Modest! Golf, as the golf management company extend their support of the NI Open.
The Northern Ireland Amateur Open, sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena, has become one of the province’s standout amateur championships since its inception in 2009 and this year promises to attract another quality field, especially with the added incentive of competing against Europe’s leading professionals from August 10-13.
“Last year we enjoyed a dramatic sudden death playoff before Warrenpoint’s Jamie Fletcher overcame local favourite Michael Reid from Galgorm Castle to add his name to the illustrious list of champions,” explained Galgorm Castle’s Ross Oliver.
“Walker Cup player Cormac Sharvin won in 2012, Ireland internationals Reeve Whitson (2010) and Tiarnon McLarnon (2015) also feature on the roll of honour, while Ballymena’s current shining light, Dermot McElroy, won in 2013 and went on to finish tied ninth at the NI Open and finish as leading amateur.”
Former winners such as Sharvin and McElroy will return to Galgorm to compete as touring professionals, illustrating the role tournament golf at Galgorm plays in the development of Ireland’s young amateurs and professionals.
This year’s Northern Ireland Amateur Open will also guarantee a place in the NI Open for the leading under-18 player, courtesy of an invite from Modest! Golf, as they continue to provide playing opportunities for young amateurs just like they did by inviting Tom McKibbin to play in the 2016 NI Open.

Niall Horan, Director of Modest! Golf, said: “We are excited to be involved in the Northern Ireland Amateur Open and are delighted to extend an invitation to the leading under-18 competitor. These guys are the future stars of the game and we want to support this next generation of talent.”

Tom McKibbin

Fellow Modest! Golf Director Mark McDonnell commented: “We hope this invitation to the leading under-18 player will encourage more applicants from this age group than ever before.
It’s a great platform to test and improve their game and we must thank Galgorm Castle and the European Challenge Tour as always for supporting our values and vision.”
The prestigious 36-hole strokeplay event holds a key date in a busy summer schedule for the game’s elite amateurs.
The Northern Ireland Amateur Open doesn’t clash with other championships and is expected to attract a strong field, not only for the chance to win but for the opportunity to compete in one of the best professional events on the European schedule.
Amateurs competing in the NI Open will also have the opportunity to earn ranking points in the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman, but before that, all focus will be on becoming the 2017 Northern Ireland Amateur Open champion.
Entry forms can be downloaded at niopen.golf or galgormcastle.com.
The closing date for entries is Monday July 3rd, 2017, entry is £35/€45 and includes lunch. For further information contact the Galgorm Castle Professional Shop on +44 (0) 28 2564 6161.

Info courtesy of Paul Gallagher