Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

Rookie pro Grant bags PGA in North of Ireland Championship at Spa GC

October 15, 2017

Heather Edgar (Lady Captain Spa GC), Nicky Grant (Blackwood GC) Winner, Phil Posnett (PGA) and Gary Wardlow (Spa GC)

Former Irish amateur international, Nicky Grant, made a winning start to his professional career at the PGA North of Ireland Championship, supported by Golf Now.
Grant, now a PGA trainee at Blackwood Golf Centre, carded rounds of 36 and 38 points at Spa Golf Club to edge out Belvoir Park’s Chris Carvill by a point.
The tournament adopted a mixed format this year. The opening round was held as a team pro-am with the professionals carrying their individual scores forward into the pro-only second round.
Chris opened the event with a fine 38pts (-2) in difficult conditions. Heavy overnight rain had left the Ballynahinch venue very soggy underfoot and it took some sterling work from the greens staff and volunteers to keep play moving.

It didn’t seem to hamper Chris who was the only player in the field to break par. A drive and four iron onto the edge of the first green set up an opening birdie four but he three-putted the par three second to drop a shot.
After a five wood off the tee, a chip and putt gave Carvill a birdie three at the fourth hole and he added another birdie at the seventh when he holed from seven feet. Out in two-under-34 he increased his advantage with birdies at 11 and 13 courtesy of two excellent wedge shots.
However, he finished badly, dropping a shot at the 17th when he flew the green and, after driving into trees, he closed with a bogey five at the last for a back nine of regulation 36 and a round of 70 (38 pts)
Grant ended day one in second place following a level par 36 points with Nathan Kernaghan (Massereene GC) and Ciaran Molloy (Mayobridge GC) tied for third on 35 points (73).
Clandeboye’s Mark McCrory took the men’s top award in the pro-am on 39 pts, two ahead of former Ulster rugby player Andy Ward and David McCullough, both local members.
The gross prize was won by Scottish visitor Frazer Carr (Crail Golf Society), who plays off a plus-three handicap and returned 37 points.
Spa member Attracta Byrne was best in the women’s nett section with 33 points while Massereene assistant pro, Nathan Kernaghan, and Spa members Stephen Loftus, Philip Canaghan and David McCardle won the team event with an impressive 90 points.

PGA professionals Michael Bannon and Peter Hanna hosted a clinic ahead of the action at Spa GC

Overhead conditions improved overnight and Grant was quickly out of the blocks in round two, drawing level with Carvill at the turn. He wedged to 15 feet for birdie three at the fourth hole and on the next green rolled home a tramline 50-footer for another birdie three. He followed that with a two-putt birdie four from eight feet on the seventh to be out in three-under-33 to Carvill’s one under 35.
Chris dropped shot at 10 to put Grant ahead for the first time but the Belvoir man then birdied 12 and matched Nicky’s birdie at 13 to get back on level terms. With five holes remaining it was Grant who took charge, rattling off solid pars at 14, 15, 16 and 17 while Chris dropped a shot 14 and then double-bogeyed the par three 17th to fall three points behind his rival.
It gave Grant the luxury of knowing that a bogey would be good enough for victory but he wobbled down the last carding a double bogey six, after firing a three iron approach into trees. It gave Chris the chance to force a play-off with a birdie but his putt from 20 feet stayed above ground much to the relief of the new champion.
Brian McElhinney (North West GC) finished in third with a combined total of 69 points with Ciaran Molloy (Mayobridge GC) fourth with 68 points.

PGA in the North of Ireland Championship Leaderboard

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Chambers secures PGA Tankard victory at Castlerock

October 5, 2017

Gary Chambers (Centre) with his Killymoon team members Catherine Irwin and Patrick Brown

Killymoon professional Gary Chambers climbed the winner’s rostrum for the first time this season when he won the pro’s section of the PGA Tankard Ulster finals at Castlerock.
Chambers posted a one-under-par 72 to be one shot clear of joint second placed Neil Graham (Portstewart) and Ricky Whitford (Knock).
Gary started his round at the 10th with an opening birdie following a wedge to 15 feet and then birdied the par five 11th. He gave a shot back at the short 14, where he found a greenside bunker off the tee, and at the long 17th where he drove right into trouble, hacked out into a bunker and finally three-putted for six.
That gave Chambers an opening nine of regulation 37 before he covered the first nine holes is one-under 35.
Eight pars and a birdie four at the third hole, where he got down in two from 35 feet after a drive and eight iron to the green, was his steady run home.
The men’s amateur nett award went to Ivan Kerr (Dungannon) who carded 38 points off a 13 handicap, while the gross award was collected by Co. Armagh’s Shea Smyth.
Gwyneth Cordner, a Spa 20 handicapper, won the women’s nett prize on 36 points while Violet McBride (Belvoir Park) posted 27 points to win the gross section.
The team prize was taken by Royal Portrush players, assistant professional Thomas Minshall along with amateurs Patrick McCann (8) and female Terry Leitch (19). One score at each hole counts and the winners carded 45 points.

The PGA Tankard in the North of Ireland Leaderboard

With thanks to Tony McGee

McGeady finishes PGA season on a high with victory in Connemara

September 29, 2017


Michael McGeady closed out the PGA in Ireland competition season in style with victory in the Connemara Pro-Am.
The 39-year-old fired a six under par 66 at Connemara GC to win by two shots at the event which was cut from 36-18 holes because of bad weather.
Strong winds on day one forced PGA officials to abandon play midway through the afternoon, scrapping any scores already returned.
That was particularly harsh on Damien McGrane who had signed for a superb level par 72 in the morning wave to grab the early lead.
“I really struggled in the conditions on day one, it was some of the worst weather I have ever tried to play in,” said Michael.
“It was very unfortunate for Damien [McGrane]. His level par round was an incredible effort, he must have played some golf.
“That’s the luck of the draw. Conditions were perfect on day two. We had a wee bit of wind at the start of the round but it dropped away as we turned to come home.”
Starting his round at the 10th, Michael played his opening nine holes in three under par 34 with a bogey at the 11th cancelled out by birdies at the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th.
Turning for home he added three further birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh to top the leaderboard on six under.
“It was a solid round of golf and while it could have been a few better, I also had to hole a few par putts to keep things going,” he added.

“I think the key was that I drove the ball very well and I played a lot from the fairway.”

Victory in Connemara was Michael’s seventh win of the season and fourth since August.
“I had PGA exams to deal with earlier in the season and I think I was probably concentrating more on those than my golf. I wasn’t focused on golf, I wasn’t hitting balls and I was trying to do a bit of coaching as well,” he said.
“For the last three months, with my exams out of the way, I was able to focus on my schedule, maybe play a practice round if I could fit it in and it freed things up. I was able to enjoy it and I felt really good about things over the last couple of months.”
Damien McGrane, Mark O’Mahony (Titleist Fitting Centre) and Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC) finished tied for second on four under par. Cian and amateur partners Martin Walsh, Jamie O’Mahony and Eddie O’Sullivan won the team prize.

Connemara GC Pro-Am leaderboard

Richard Kilpatrick back in winning form at Luttrellstown Pro-Am

September 17, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick (right) with Peter Lawrie, Director of Golf, Luttrellstown Castle

Richard Kilpatrick fired a five under par 67 to win the Luttrellstown Pro-Am.
The Banbridge professional finished two shots ahead of the in-form Simon Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) and Michael McDermott (Grange GC).
This was a welcome return to the summit for Richard who last tasted victory back in July.
With a shot-gun start in operation he began his round at the par five 17th in ideal fashion, rolling in an eagle putt of just four feet. Richard added further birdies at the first and third, completing his opening 11 holes in four under par.
The 35-year-old stepped up the pace after the turn with a hat-trick of birdies at the 10th, 11th and 12th.
He then dropped a couple of shots at the 14th and 15th before finishing off his round with a closing par on the 16th.
Daniel Beattie (Deer Park) and amateur partners Michael Baumgart, Joe Clinton and Peter Behan collected the team prize on countback ahead of Robert Giles’ (Greenore GC) team.

Luttrellstown Pro-Am Leaderboard

Simon Thornton and Chris Carvill share first place at Clandeboye

September 12, 2017

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton shared first place with Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park) at the final Summer Masters event of the season. Battling wet and windy weather at Clandeboye GC, the pair carded rounds of level par 72 with Adam Kerr (Co. Armagh GC) back in third place following a 76.
It didn’t appear to be Simon’s day when he lost a ball at Clandeboye’s opening hole to pencil in a double-bogey six and he then three-putted the short second but he holed an eight-foot birdie putt at the third to stop the rot.
Simon then missed the green at the fifth resulting in a bogey four but got the shot back with a chip and putt at the long sixth to turn in two-over-par 37.
A birdie two at the 14th, from six feet, and an eagle three at 15, from three feet, saw him reach one under for his round, but another dropped shot at the 17th left him on level par.
Chris had just nine pars on his card. A birdie three from seven feet at the third hole was sandwiched between bogey fives at the first and eighth. A three-stab cost him a stroke at the 10th but back-to-back birdies two and four at the 11th and 12th brought him back to level.
A lost ball at 13 cost him a double-bogey six, before another pair of birdies at the long 15 and par four 16 gave him a relegation 71 round.
Thornton and his amateur partners carded 84 points to win the team title.

Summer Masters at Clandeboye Leaderboard

PGA Summer Masters at Clandeboye
Professionals: 71 (Lvl) – S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
76 – A Kerr (Co Armagh).
78 – P Farrell (Laganview Golf Centre), A Peoples (Darren Clarke School).
Amateurs: Nett, 34 pts – A Verner 5 (Portstewart).
32 – J Templeton 11 (Donaghadee).
31 – V McCaffrey 11 (Massereene).
Gross: 27 pts – P Kelly +1 (Co Armagh).
Team: 84 pts – Pro S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) with amateurs A Connolly 6 (Blackwood), J Connolly 12 (Blackwood) & A Hope 9 (Clandeboye).

with thanks to T McGee

 

McGeady goes back-to-back with victory at Cairndhu Pro-Am

September 5, 2017

Michael McGeady, winner at Cairndhu

Michael McGeady made it back-to-back successes on the PGA in Ireland circuit with victory in the 36-hole Cairndhu Pro-Am.
Trailing by two shots as the final round got underway, Michael fired a three under par 67 to top the leaderboard on five under par at the Co. Antrim venue.
Overnight leader Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) and David Higgins (Waterville Links) finished in a tie for second on four under.
Michael opened his campaign with a ‘disappointing’ two under par 68. The 39-year-old had streaked out to six under par after 10 holes (he started his round at the 10th) but slipped up on the way home.
“To be honest I actually played better on the first day,” said Michael who won the recent Walled City of Derry/Foyle Pro-Am.
“After getting to six under I made two silly bogeys. I got one back with a birdie on the seventh (my 16th) but I made a seven at the par four eighth and wasted three shots there. You are sort of hitting it over the corner of out of bounds. I didn’t quite hit it that great.

“It’s disappointing to do that on the 17th hole of the day because you don’t have time to make it back up again. I played much better than the two under score I finished with.”

Moriarty led the way at the close of play on day one with a 66 (-4). Ted Higgins (www.tedhiggins.com) and Simon Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) shared second on three under par with Michael back in a share of fourth, two shots off the pace.
“It sounds a bit like a repeat of the win up in Derry but on the second day I holed out really well,” continued Michael.
“I holed from five and six feet consistently to save par and make a few birdies. They are so important to keep a round going.”
Out in two under 32, Michael came home in one under 35 with birdies at 17 and 18 proving decisive in getting him over the line.
He continued: “I went for a lesson with Donal Scott in the middle of May and I noticed an improvement in my putting straight away.
“It left me for a while, but I just kept working on it and kept practicing. Hopefully, I am not jinxing myself now but I feel like I have discovered something in my putting which has helped me, especially to keep the scores going.”
The team event was won by Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) and his amateur partners, Paul Steinson, Stephen Watts and Hugh Logue with 175pts.

Cairndhu GC Pro-Am leaderboard

Dominant McGeady claims Walled City of Derry/Foyle Pro-Am title

August 29, 2017


Michael McGeady cruised to a five shot victory in the two-day Walled City of Derry/Foyle Pro-Am.
The 39-year-old dominated from the start and dropped just one shot over 36 holes of competition at City of Derry GC and Foyle Golf Centre.
David Higgins (Waterville Links) and Damien McGrane finished in second place on seven under par, with Steven Quinlan (Halpenny Golf) and Irish PGA Champ, Tim Rice (Limerick GC), a shot further back on six under.
McGeady laid the groundwork for this latest win with a stunning eight under par (62) opening round at City of Derry GC. A former junior member of the club, Michael put his local knowledge to good use, producing an eight birdie barrage in a round that included seven threes!
“That was my lowest round at City of Derry since they changed it to a par 70. I played very well. My iron play was exceptional,” said Michael.
“I holed out well but I didn’t hole anything of ridiculous length. Around 15 feet was the longest putt I holed and I also putted well from that five, six foot range.”
He finished day one with a three shot advantage over Rice and Ciaran Molloy (Ardee), both of whom had played their opening rounds at Foyle.
“My attitude going out on Sunday [for round two at Foyle] was to shoot as low a round as I could. I tried not to think about my score,” he added.

“A number of the players are capable of going low; shooting nine or 10 under. You just don’t know. I focused on hitting every shot as well as I could and tried to hole every putt and it seemed to work out quite well.”

He made an early mistake at Foyle, dropping a shot at the par three fifth, but righted the ship immediately with a bounce back birdie at the sixth. From there, he played some controlled golf, adding four more birdies to ease to success.
“I live a couple of 100 yards from Foyle Golf Centre so this is my home event and it is a nice one to win,” he said.
“There was a bit of added pressure because all the locals wanted you to do well and I was playing with a team of friends who were also hoping that I played well but thankfully, I just seemed to get on with it and played some good golf.”
Philip Farrell (Laganview Golf Centre) guided his amateur partners, Jason Donnell, Robert Mitchell and Ryan Rutherford to victory in the team event with 181 points over the two days.
The Ladies team prize was won by Ciaran Molloy (Ardee) and amateur partners, Rachel Chambers, Cheryl Chambers and Deborah Doherty with 172 points.

The Walled City of Derry/Foyle Pro-Am leaderboard

Higgins drives to victory at Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am

August 26, 2017

David Higgins

David Higgins carded a two under par round of 70 to win the Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am.
The Waterville Links man plotted his way around the tight, tree-lined lay-out in Co. Down to finish one shot ahead of Damien McGrane and Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & CC).
“It’s a great driving course. If you are slightly off on the right or the left you can’t get to the green. That suits me, that’s my style of golf. I love that and the result showed it. I played some good golf and won,” said David.
“The form of late has been a bit up and down. I felt that I was playing well but not holing enough putts. I’ll kick on from here and I’m determined to finish the season strongly.”

Damien McGrane, Kilkeel GC capt Declan Fitzpatrick and Mark Whelan

The 44-year-old played the opening nine holes at Kilkeel in two under 35 with birdies coming at the fourth and fifth. His only dropped shot of the round came at the 16th when he found the greenside bunker and failed to get up and down. However, he bounced back with a birdie at the last to come home in level par 35 and set the clubhouse target.
He continued; “I felt that if I did get that birdie I might have enough to win. It was one of those days when you felt that two under was going to be a good score. You had to stay patient.”
Damien McGrane and his amateur partners of Kevin Cummins, Tom Muldoon and Catherine Cummins won the team event with 95 points.

Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am scoreboard

Spa Golf Club to host PGA in the North of Ireland Championship presented by GolfNow

August 23, 2017

(Lt- Right) John Brannigan (Captain Spa GC), Phil Posnett (PGA in the North of Ireland), Gary Wardlow (Professional Spa GC) and Andrew Holywood (Marketing Director, GolfNow)


The PGA in the North of Ireland Championship has found a new home for 2017 – Spa Golf Club – and a new sponsor in the shape of GolfNow.
The tournament is scheduled for October 11th and 12th with Damian Mooney (D Mooney Golf) set to defend the title he won last year at Downpatrick.
Damian will be closely challenged by top professionals such as Simon Thornton (S Thornton Golf), Phil Collins and host club professional Gary Wardlow.
Some of the up and coming professionals, the likes of Chris Carvill (Belvoir) and David Leathem (American Golf) will, of course, be looking to make their mark in the Northern Branch’s flagship event.
The format will be a team four-man pro-am on day one with the professionals carrying their scores forward to the final round on day two, making a 36 hole tournament.
PGA in the North of Ireland Chairman, Ricky Whitford (Knock) said: “We in the PGA in the North of Ireland are delighted to welcome GolfNow to our tournament, we are always grateful for the support of companies who work in golf and it is great to see them putting something back into the game. Good luck to all who play and it will be our pleasure to entertain some of GolfNow’s guests on the pro-am day.

“Many thanks must go to host Professional Gary Wardlow and the Captain, Council and Members of Spa Golf Club for their support. We are looking forward to playing this top class venue.”

Andrew Hollywood, Marketing Director GolfNow noted: “We are delighted to be working with the PGA in the North of Ireland to deliver our first GolfNow sponsored Pro-Am tournament. At GolfNow our main objective is to grow the game of golf and working with the PGA to set up a fun, and challenging, tournament helps us achieve this.
“It’s fantastic to be able to invest in the local game and we hope the tournament will inspire golfers to get out and get active. Spa Golf Club is a great venue and to see some of the best professionals in the country compete will be an inspiration to many a golfer.”
Spa Captain John Brannigan added; “I am delighted to welcome the Professional Golfers Association to Spa Golf Club and wish to thank them for selecting our course for this important and prestigious tournament.
“Spa will provide a great challenge to players who are the cream of our game in this country and I know they in turn will provide a wonderful spectacle over the two days.
“At Spa we believe we have a challenging course and amenities that are second to none. This is a wonderful opportunity for Spa to showcase what we have on offer here in the heart of Co Down.”

NI Open – Robin flourishes in Sunday Shootout at Galgorm Castle

August 14, 2017

Robin Sciot-Siegrist winner of the 2017 NI Open

The fans were promised thrills and spills and the final day of the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf delivered in style.
Shoot-out Sunday at Galgorm Castle produced tension and excitement with a flurry of eagles, birdies, and a remarkable albatross from Portugal’s Ricardo Santos.
In the end, Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist survived five rounds of six-hole stroke play matches to lift the NI Open trophy.
The 23-year-old, in his first full season on the Challenge Tour, beat Italian Alessandro Tadini by two shots to collect the 28,888 euro first prize.
It’s great. It’s my first full year as a pro so I am so happy because I’ve been working really hard this winter and holding this trophy, I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just pure joy,” he said.
It’s unbelievable how many people are here this week – everything is full, the grandstands, it’s incredible how these crowds come out in Northern Ireland.”
Organisers and sponsors of this year’s event took something of a gamble by opting to ditch the traditional 72-hole stroke play format but it made for a highly entertaining final day, one that was embraced by the vast majority of the players.
Home hope, Cormac Sharvin, bowed out in the opening round, beaten by Santos but not surprisingly, Sciot-Siegrist was something of a convert.
The format is great. Six holes, you have to be really in it from the very beginning, you don’t have a chance to make any mistakes, and it’s great to change the format from what we usually play and I really enjoyed it,” he said.

I played something similar in La Cala in Spain and would like to see more of this type of format. I really like the match play style. I’ve played a lot of this type of golf and enjoy one on one, playing another guy instead of the course. I hope it will happen again in the future.”

Robin with Modest!Golf directors Mark McDonnell and Niall Horan.
Photos by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

After three rounds of strokeplay, the top 24 made it through to the matchplay stages on Sunday. Having qualified in mid-table, Robin made hard work of coming through yesterday’s early rounds and looked certain to lose out in the final against German Christian Braeunig.
He led by one playing the last hole before his German opponent chipped in for eagle, leaving the eventual winner with a nerve-jangling birdie putt to force an extra hole.
He duly holed it and, on the short play-off hole, put his tee shot to six foot for a birdie putt he would make; Braeunig’s tee shot was even closer but his putt lipped out and Sciot-Siegrist advanced.
He played some of his best golf in the final against Tadini who had beaten Daan Huizing, Matthias Schwab and Bradley Neil to reach the final two.
Sciot-Siegrist had makeable birdie putts on five of the six holes, converting three of them, including on the final hole, for a deserved victory.
I played seven tournaments on the Challenge Tour last year and this is my first full season, so I knew what the level was,” added Robin, whose mother hails from Dublin.
My goal has always been to win and I’m very happy I achieved that. It was obviously a very difficult win but enjoyable.”
Braeunig beat Neil for a career-best finish of third with Nemecz fifth, Ross Kellett sixth, Schwab seventh and Ricardo Santos – who came from behind in his second round match to win courtesy of an outrageous albatross on the final hole – completing the top eight.