McCarroll and McGeady put faith in local knowledge at DDF Irish Open qualifier

June 30, 2018

Brendan McCarroll

Brendan McCarroll is hoping that local knowledge could prove decisive in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open qualifier at Rosapenna Golf Resort this weekend.
The 32-year-old has lived in Letterkenny for the last 18 years and has spent many hours battling the elements on the testing Sandy Hill Links course, venue for Saturday and Sunday’s 36-hole event.
“I grew up playing golf at Ballyliffin but with Rosapenna being 40 minutes down the road I’ve got a lot of time tucked away on these greens,” said Brendan (West Cliffs Golf Club).
“This is the type of course that you really don’t need to attack off the tee.
“You have to play it smart. A lot of people who haven’t played the course before tend to have a crack at it and then they find themselves in knee-high rough which is never good.”
The Derry-born golfer has been performing strongly on the EuroPro Tour in recent weeks. He lost out to Mark Young in a play-off at the Jessie May World Snooker Golf Championship at Clevedon Golf Club, Somerset but confidence is high heading into the weekend.
He continued; “Last year I switched coach mid-season and I’m now working with Barrie McGoldrick at Galgorm Castle.

“I have done some good work with him and maybe, my course management has improved.

“We worked it out the other day that over my last 13 rounds, I’m 47 under par.
“Knowing that, when I do go out on the course I feel that I can shoot under par all the time.”
Players coming off the course after Friday’s practice round were remarking about how hard and fast the links was playing as a result of the hot, dry spell.
“It is going to be a test of patience,” said in-form Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching).
McGeady, who is currently leading the PGA in Ireland Order of Merit, has also been a regular visitor to Rosapenna over the years but admitted that he had never played it under these conditions.
“I’ve never seen it so dry but hopefully local knowledge will be useful, especially around the greens using the slopes and undulations to get the ball close,” he said.
“I have a game plan but it is a bit of a lottery out there. You could play quite well and get a few bad bounces and shoot three or four over.
“You will see a lot of people hitting irons off tees and using the putter to keep it on the ground around the greens. It’s running so hard and fast that keeping it on the greens downwind is very tough.
“Before this dry spell I thought six or seven under could get you in the mix but, it will be much less than that now, maybe two under?”
The field of 122 players is competing for a first prize of €6000 and one of four spots in next week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin.



Record breaking Thornton grabs win at Grange Castle

June 25, 2018

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) carded a record-breaking seven under par 65 to win the Special Olympics Pro-Am at Grange Castle.
The tournament marked 20 years since the South Dublin venue opened it’s doors to the public.
It was a great party atmosphere all day with a tuition masterclass from Thornton and John Kelly earlier in the day for the Special Olympics athletes, followed by a seven hole competition.
Until this result, Simon’s season had been marked out by consistency without a victory.
This time around, the 41-year-old made no mistake, opening with a hat-trick of birdies as he reached the turn in three under 33. He was even better on the back nine, adding four further birdies and no dropped shots as he came home in four under 32.
Ciaran Molloy (Ardee) finished second on five under par with Stephen Barry (Navan) a shot further back on three under. Molloy did walk away with the team prize, guiding his amateur partners to victory with 94 points.
The Special Olympics Eastern Region Golf League is based at Grange Castle, with the seven hole course providing a perfect venue for monthly events.
Grange Castle GC is owned by South Dublin County Council and managed on their behalf by Synergy Golf. The company has a well-established partnership with the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics Ireland Games golf events were recently hosted by another Synergy Golf venue, St Margarets Golf & County Club.

Sharvin and McGee amongst hopefuls chasing four Irish Open spots at Rosapenna qualifier

June 19, 2018

Challenge Tour regulars, Cormac Sharvin and Ruaidhri McGee have signed up to play in the €40,000 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open qualifier at Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Donegal on June 30 and July 1.
The 36-hole tournament, administered by the PGA in Ireland, will be played on the demanding Sandy Hills Links.
Four starting places in the $7,000,000 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club (July 5-July 8) will be at stake.
The 130 strong field is made up primarily by PGA professionals who will compete alongside six amateurs selected by the GUI and 12 professionals nominated by the European Tour.
Leading lights on the PGA in Ireland circuit, including Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching), Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & Golf Club), Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort), David Higgins (Waterville Links) and Damian Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf) will be in action as will reigning Irish PGA champion, Tim Rice (Limerick).
The GUI have nominated Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick), Robert Brazill (Naas), Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), James Sugrue (Mallow) and Jake Whelan (Newlands) to play.
Sharvin and Ruaidhri McGee have accepted European Tour invites to play along with Colin Crowley, Brian Casey, Stuart Grehan, Conor O’Rourke, Jack Hume, J R Galbraith, David Carey, Rory McNamara, Kevin Phelan and Chris Selfridge.
The Sandy Hills Links at Rosapenna opened in June 2003 and has steadily risen up the various Top 100 listings across the UK & Ireland. It is currently ranked 10th in Ireland by Golf World. Originally laid out by Pat Ruddy and later modified by Beau Welling Design (2013), this modern links is a great test of golf in one of the world’s most beautiful settings.
Competitors will be able to make use of an official practice day on Friday June 29. In the case of a tie for the leading four players, a sudden death play-off will be used.

DDF Irish Open qualifier entries

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

Dunne looking forward to ‘fifth major’ at Ballyliffin

June 7, 2018

Paul Dunne is hoping to become the latest home winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation when he returns to the Rolex Series event, which he regards as important as any of the four Major Championships.
The Wicklow player burst onto the global golf scene in 2015 when he shared the lead heading into the final round of The Open Championship at St Andrews, and he has been living up to the billing as Ireland’s next golfing star having claimed his maiden victory in just his second season on the European Tour.
Now the 25 year old is hoping to add to his British Masters supported by Sky Sports title by claiming a glorious home triumph when the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open – the fourth Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai – is played at Ballyliffin Golf Club for the first time from July 5-8.
Should he win in County Donegal, Dunne would join an illustrious list of home winners. Rory McIlroy became the eighth Irishman to claim the title when he stormed to a spectacular victory in 2016, while Shane Lowry’s emotional triumph as a young amateur in 2009 will also live long in the memory.
Two years prior to that, Padraig Harrington had bridged a 25-year gap when he emerged victorious from a sudden-death playoff for a success which proved a precursor for a famous maiden Major win at The 2007 Open Championship in Carnoustie.
Dunne is now determined to get his hands on the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy and put his name alongside some of the greats of Irish golf.
“The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is the tournament we look forward to the most,” said Dunne.
“To win it would be right up there with the four Majors for me personally.

“I think Ballyliffin will be a great test of a venue this year. It’s always good to play in front of the home crowd and the support is always incredible. They always keep you in it and they provide a nice buzz.

“It’s going to be another great week and hopefully the weather holds up nicely. If I can give myself chances over the next few years to win it I would be delighted. Hopefully, this year gives me one of those chances, but we’ll see.”
If Dunne is to earn a second European Tour victory in just under a month’s time, he will have to overcome a star-studded field which includes the defending Champion Jon Rahm of Spain, the tournament host McIlroy and his fellow 2016 Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.

Sunday tickets for the 18th grandstand at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation have sold out completely, and fans hoping to get exclusive front-row seats for the prestigious Rolex Series event are now being urged to act quickly with limited tickets remaining.

Info courtesy of European Tour

It’s a brave new professional world for Leona and Lisa Maguire

June 7, 2018

The Maguire twins launched themselves into the pro ranks in some style yesterday ahead of Friday’s debut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve waited to turn pro since we were little kids. This first week at ShopRite, couldn’t really ask for a better start,” said Leona, the former leading amateur player in the world who was No.1 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record 131 consecutive weeks.
Lisa and Leona have agreed a management deal with Modest! Golf and will be sponsored by KPMG with other brand associations including Allianz, PUMA Golf clothing and PING golf equipment.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the 23-year-old sisters from Co Cavan who have only recently finished their four-year stint at Duke University.
“It’s been a quick transition. Went from Stillwater [venue for the NCAA finals] a few weeks ago, obviously wrapped up our careers with Duke there. We had an incredible four years. It’s been exciting trying to get all the pieces put together and ready to go this week,” added Leona.
The duo have grown up in the public eye, especially at home in Ireland, so it was no surprise to see them handling Wednesday’s press conference with relative ease.
The challenge ahead is to make the adjustment to playing for a living and that may not be plain sailing, particularly as the pair will be playing different schedules over the coming months.

“I have a full Symetra Tour card, so the next few months and weeks I will be predominately focused on that to try to get my LPGA card for next season. Probably a few LPGA invites along the way, but predominantly focusing on the Symetra Tour for the near future,” added Leona.
Lisa said; “Obviously this week is great to get the invite from ShopRite, the two of us here together. I know Modest! have been working really hard especially on my behalf especially to secure more invites. Obviously, I don’t have the same sort of status as Leona does right now.
“We’ve secured some Symetra Tour invites for the coming weeks, so I’m looking forward to playing in those, doing well in those, and securing more status kind of going forward.”
Lisa tees off on Friday from the 10th tee alongside Natalie Gulbis and Taylor Totland at 12.48pm (GMT).
Leona also tees off from the 10th at 5.48pm (GMT) paired with Maddie McCrary and Lauren Coughlin.

“I’m thrilled and very proud that Leona and Lisa have become the first Irish players to sign with the Modest! Golf management stable,” said singer/songwriter and Modest! Golf director Niall Horan.
“They’ve both represented Ireland at junior and senior amateur level with distinction and we’re confident that they’ll take the professional LPGA circuit in their stride and raise the profile of Irish golf even further.”

McGeady seals Heritage Challenge victory

June 5, 2018

Michael McGeady (Evolve Golf Coaching) eased to a three-shot victory at The Heritage Challenge Pro-Am sponsored by on Sunday.
Michael has an enviable record at the Seve designed course in Killenard, Co.Laois. He was second last year, sixth in 2015 and won the tournament for the first time in 2014.
This year’s victory was built on a brilliant eight-birdie, no bogey opening round of 64 during which the 40-year-old hit every green in regulation.
“The more impressive thing was that I had a family event on Friday evening so I drove down on Saturday morning to play,” said McGeady.
“So really my expectations were pretty low but I didn’t put any pressure on myself and started hitting the ball well. It was a really solid day’s golf.”
The Derry based golfer finished day one with a two-shot lead over the in-form Colm Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) with Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC) a further two shots back in third.
The players returned for the second and final 18 holes on Sunday but the magic that marked out Michael’s play on Saturday had disappeared overnight.
The Derry based professional battled his way around, posting a one-over-par 71 that included three birdies and two bogeys.
“That round could easily have been four or five over,” added McGeady.
“I scrambled and worked really hard for that 71. My putting kept me in it, I putted like a god.
“I thought maybe that Colm [Moriarty] might come past me. He’s posted a number of low rounds lately but it’s hard to keep producing those low scores.”
Moriarty (Glasson Hotel & GC) finished in second, three shots back (66/72) with Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) in third 71/69.
Reigning Irish PGA Champion, Tim Rice (Limerick GC), guided his amateur partners Daragh O’Sullivan, John Reilly and Dermot Doolan, to victory in the team event with a two-round total of 186 (95/91).

The Heritage Challenge Pro-Am Leaderboard

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.