Posts Tagged ‘Belvoir Park’

Thornton secures Belvoir Park Pro-Am success

June 8, 2017

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton coped admirably with blustery conditions to win the Belvoir Park Pro-Am on Tuesday.
The Newcastle-based professional fired a three under par 68 to edge out Headfort’s Joe Dillon at the Belfast course.
“It wasn’t easy. It was hard to pick the wind with it swirling through the trees,” said Thornton who is still easing himself back to full fitness following surgery on his feet.
“We’re on schedule, they are sore towards the end of the round but it’s not the same pain as before, it’s pain from the operation and that will ease in time.. hopefully.

“It’s a slow process, I’m not rushing it because there is a lot of golf to come with the Irish PGA Championship and then the Irish Open. I just have to manage it as well as I can.”

Starting at the first, Simon raced to three under after four holes courtesy of birdies at the first, third and fourth. A dropped shot at the seventh slowed his progress but he turned for home in two under 34 and an eagle at the par five 10th saw him reach four under for his round.
Simon added; “It was a nice start and then I pitched in for that eagle on 10 but after that, I was finding the middle of the greens with my approach shots and two-putting for pars.
“I bogeyed the 15th when I hit a three-wood into the trees but I think I could have been a few more under par if I had been a bit sharper.”
Kilkeel GC professional Jerry Scullion, guided his amateur partners of Neill Roulston, Ian Emerson and Sam Gillespie to success in the team event with 84 points.

Belvoir Park Pro-Am sponsored by DeepRiverRock results

Belvoir Park Pro-Am
sponsored by DeepRiverRock
at Belvoir Park (Par 71)
Leading scores
1 S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) 68
2 J Dillon (Headfort GC) 69
T3 D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), D McGrane 70
T5 C. Carvill (Belvoir Park GC), M McGeady (Seamus Duffy Golf Academy), K Shannon 72

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.

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

Magical McElhinney makes it two wins on the bounce at Royal Portrush

January 29, 2017

For the second time this month and the third time in four events, Brian McElhinney topped the leaderboard at an Ulster Golfers’ Alliance tournament.
The links specialist, a former British Amateur champion, claimed another UGA win at Royal Portrush in the PGA Grand Prix.
The North West pro posted a six-under-66 to finish one shot ahead of Belvoir Park assistant Chris Carvill. McElhinney carded three birdie fours and five birdie threes with two bogey fives stopping the rampage on the run in.
Putting was the secret of the winner’s spectacular round.
He rolled in a 20-footer on the fourth green for birdie three, chipped to eight feet at the next for another three, and pitched to four feet from 70 yards at eight for his third three.
He then brought his big hitting into play, being pin high left at the long ninth hole and getting down with a chip and putt for birdie four, and an outward tally of four-under-par 32.
A drive and three wood to 12 feet set up another birdie four at the 10th hole before he made his fourth and fifth birdie threes at 12 and 13. He holed a 10-footer at 12 and a 15-footer at the next hole.
The Donegal man then had his first lapse of the round when he missed the green at 16 which resulted in a dropped shot but he regained the lost ground when he pitched to three feet for a birdie four at 17, before he finished with his second bogey five on the 18th after he put his five iron approach into a bunker for a back nine of 32.
Local member Matt McAlpin, a plus-one handicapper, topped the amateurs’ gross board with 40 points. The Category One prize was won by Ardglass four-handicapper David Madine on 36 points, while Gary Smyth, who plays off nine at Kirkistown Castle, won the Category Two award with 39 points.
Best in the Butterball Team event were Castle Hume pro, Shaun Donnelly and amateur Michael Dallat, a Galgorm Castle scratch player. Their winning score was 44 points.

PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Grand Prix at Royal Portrush

Selected scores
Professionals: 66 (-6) – B McElhinney (North West).
67 – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
68 – D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast).
70 – A Cathers (Ardglass), G Wardlow (Spa), S Donnelly (Castle Hume).
Amateurs: Gross, 40 pts – M McAlpine +1 ( Royal Portrush).
37 – M Malone 2 (Belvoir Pk)
36 – M Dallat scr (Galgorm Castle),
Category One: 36 pts – D Madine 4 (Ardglass).
Category Two: 39 pts – G Smyth 9 (Kirkistown Castle).
Team Betterball: 44 pts – Pro S Donnelly (Castle Hume) & Amateur M Dallat scr (Galgorm Castle).
With thanks to Tony McGee

In a year of sporting shocks Team NI’s win in the Writer Cup tops the lot….

December 30, 2016

Team NI and Team ROI ready for the start of play at Belvoir Park. In front, Team ROI capt, Cathal Dervan (left) and Team NI capt, Jim Flanagan

Time for some end of 2016 honesty. I’d given up on Team NI ever winning the Writer Cup.
In fact, following the debacle that was my captaincy in 2015,  I’d actually ruled myself out of the team altogether.
I think I claimed I was too busy ‘working’ – the biggest of lies for anyone who actually knows me.
But, as we all now know, 2016 was the year of the unexpected. Leicester City, the Chicago Cubs and Connacht all upset the odds and to the list of events that surely signals the end of the world, Team NI won the Writer Cup in 2016.
The seventh edition of the Writer Cup – the Ryder Cup style event pitching Northern Ireland journalists against Republic of Ireland journalists – was played at Belvoir Park GC and Cairndhu GC.
I was drafted in late on, reluctantly I might add, to bolster Team NI’s chances of folding once again and making it six defeats on the bounce.
Tourism NI, who host the event, had clearly decided there was some marketing value in ritual humiliation for the ‘home’ side and had once again assembled a crack team of hackers.
writercup2016pkAs you might expect, Team NI’s expectations were suitably low as the players assembled at Belvoir Park but a 2-2 draw in the fourballs at least kept the match alive going into the final day singles.
After an overnight stay in the luxurious Ballygally Castle Hotel the teams moved on to Cairndhu Golf Club where a minor miracle gradually unfolded.
Instead of the traditional Northern Ireland collapse, the ‘home’ team hung tough emerging with 5.5 points from the eight on offer to secure an emphatic 7.5 – 4.5 overall victory.
The celebrations that followed were best described as ‘muted’.

Team NI: Jim Flanagan, Billy Foley, Gareth McCullough, Maurice Jay, Paul Kelly, Richard Sullivan, Richard Mulligan, Michael Rafferty
Team ROI: Cathal Dervan, Brian Flanagan, Eoin Murphy, Peter Finnan, Karl Doyle, Ed Leahy, Dermot Bolger, Greg Allen

A victorious Team NI

A victorious Team NI

Belvoir Park GC
Belvoir Park Golf Club was established in South Belfast during 1927 and is set in some 136 acres of delightful parkland and was designed by the famed course architect Harry S Colt.
It is regarded as one of the pre-eminent parkland courses in Ireland and hosted the Irish Open in 1949 and 1953.
The course also hosted the Irish PGA Championship in 1995 and most recently the Irish Amateur Close Championship in 2008. It was a privilege to have been invited to host the Senior Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship in 2011 and World Police and Fire Games in 2013.
Belfast can boast a number of top class courses –  the 
Belfast Parkland Challenge July 3  – 5  2017  will give amateur players the chance to compete at Malone Golf Club, Belvoir Park Golf Club and Shandon Park GC.
For information –

Cairndhu GC
Designed by J.F.S. Morrison, a partner in the firm of Colt, Allison and Morrison, the current Cairndhu GC site is situated in 200 acres of mature woodlands and rolling hills.
Cairndhu is a hilly seaside course, laid out on cliffs which offer absolutely sensational views of the Antrim coastline with unsurpassed views of the Scottish coast and islands, and headlands leading to the renowned Glens of Antrim.
The signature hole is the 160-yard par three second called “Head” which is the closest point on the course to the headland. The tee sits a hundred yards above the Antrim coast road which hugs the shoreline below. The tee shot – which can be a short iron or a three wood, depending on wind direction – is played to a long, narrow green that slopes to the left and is bunkered to the front right.

Ballygally Castle Hotel
Perched on the tip of the famous Causeway Coastal Route, sits Ballygally Castle Hotel Co. Antrim.
A stunning 17th-century castle which overlooks the golden sands of Ballygally Bay and has uninterrupted views towards Scotland.
A stay here is a journey in more ways than one. It’s the perfect base for exploring the stunning Antrim Coast, just a stone’s throw from the 9 Glens of Antrim and then on to the Giant’s Causeway.
Relax and explore your more creative side, read a novel, write a novel or paint in our beautiful gardens. Golf. Fish. Or join in the many activities provided by the hotel and places nearby.
The hotel is reputedly haunted by a friendly ghost and brave guests can visit the ‘ghost room’ in one of the towers to see for themselves.


Galgorm Castle’s Phil Collins hits all the right notes at Royal Belfast

December 8, 2016

Northern branch chairman, Phil Collins, clicked into top gear at Royal Belfast to win the Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Tournament.
The Galgorm Castle professional posted a four under par 66 to hold off Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park) by a shot.
Sand trouble at both the first and fourth holes cost Collins two early bogeys but he drove the green at the third for his opening birdie of the day and got down in two putts from 30 feet at the long fifth to wipe out those mistakes.
He collected further birdies at the seventh – where he fired an eight-iron approach into close range – and the eighth to reach the turn in two under par
He dropped another shot at the 11th but then finished strongly with birdies at the 14th, 16th and 18th.
Five-handicapper Declan Laverty (Castlerock) won the top nett prize from Michael Alexander 6 (Galgorm Castle) on countback after both carded 41 points, while JR Galbraith (Whitehead), the recent runner-up in the Argentinian Amateur Open, took the gross award with a 68.
Ballyclare pro Colin Lyttle led home the winning team of Ian Witherspoon 4 (Ballyclare), Henry Eagleson 7 and Jim Hanna 14 (both Ballymena) on 90 points.

Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at Royal Belfast

Selected scores
Professionals: 66 (-4) – P Collins (Galgorm Castle).
67 – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
69 – C Lyttle (Ballyclare).
69 – G Chambers (Killymoon), D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast), B McElhinney (North West).
71 – S Donnelly (Castle Hume), P Hanna (Lurgan).
Amateurs: Nett, 41 pts – D Laverty 5 (Castlerock) … 1st;
41 – M Alexander 6 (Galgorm Castle) … 2nd;
39 – D Winning 4 (Greenisland) … 3rd;
39 – L Kennedy 13 (Dunmurry) … 4th;
38 – G Veitch 11 (Castle Hume.
Team: 90 pts – Pro C Lyttle (Ballyclare) with amateurs I Witherspoon 4 (Ballyclare), H Eagleson 7 & J Hanna 14 (both Ballymena).
With thanks to Tony McGee

Damien Mooney and Chris Carvill shine at Knock in PING UGA Alliance event

November 16, 2016
Belfast's Knock GC

Belfast’s Knock GC

Chris Carvill and Damian Mooney produced a flurry of birdies at Knock GC in the Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance event with the pair finishing the day top of the leaderboard on five-under-par 65.
Belvoir Park’s Carvill spread six birdies over his card but also pencilled in an eagle while Nevada Bob’s Mooney made seven birdies. He had just two bogeys while Carvill had three.
Both players teed off at the par five 10th hole and Carvill opened with an eagle rolling in a 20-footer, after a drive and sand iron to the green.
He then holed out from a bunker for birdie two at 12 and wedged to three feet for another two at 16. A perfect pitch to two feet gave Chris another birdie at the par four 17 as he turned in five-under 30.
A pitching wedge to seven feet set up anther birdie three on the first green but he overshot the second green which resulted in a dropped shot.
He three-putted the fourth to drop another shot and his third dropped shot of the round came at the sixth, where his approach was short.
However, he steadied up to make birdie threes at seven and nine from seven and eight feet to post the early lead 65.
Mooney opened at the 10th with birdie four but gave back the advantage when he found sand at the 11th, resulting in a bogey five.
At 12, he narrowly missed an ace when his sand wedge tee-shot settled a mere six inches from the cup but, again, he stumbled when bunker trouble cost him another bogey at the par three 16th.
That was the end of Damian’s woes. His three wood approach to 17 landed eight feet from the flag and he holed the birdie putt. He then slotted in a 25-footer for birdie at 18 to turn in two-under-32.
There were no further blots on his card as he made birdie threes at the first, second and seventh holes, driving to the edge of the first green, rifling a sand wedge to one foot at the second and, again, driving to the edge of the seventh surface.
Ballyclare eight-handicapper Conor Moore won the amateur’s top nett prize on 44 points while Ben Graham (3, Shandon Pk) took the gross award with a 71.
Groomsport pro Gareth Graham led home the winning team on 91 points.

PING PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Tournament at Knock – full scoreboard

Selected scores
Professionals: 65 (-5) – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast).
68 – S Thornton (Unattached).
70 – P Farrell (Laganview).
71 – G Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre).
72 – C Loughrey (Castlerock), P Vaughan (Ardglass), M Alexander (Royal Portrush), C Lyttle (Ballyclare), V Teague (Loughgall).
Amateurs: Nett, 44 pts – C Moore 8 (Ballyclare).
41 – P McCluskey 16 (Spa) … 2nd;
41 – S Doldthorte 18 (Blackwood) … 3rd;
41 – S Cameron 16 (Royal Portrush) … 4th;
39 – R Wallace 12 (Edenmore).
Team: 91 pts – Pro G Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre) with G Smyth 9 (Kirkistown Castle), S Doldthorte 18 (Blackwood) & C Conlon 18 (Kirkistown Castle).

With thanks to Tony McGee

Simon Thornton three ahead of the field after day one of Irish PGA Championship

September 23, 2016
Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton is three shots clear of the field after round one of the Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.
The 39-year-old from Newcastle, struggling with a foot injury, limped around the Twin Oaks Championship Course on Thursday but still managed to produce the best score of the day – a seven under par 65.
“In some ways it makes things easier. I can only swing the club one way at the moment so it takes away a lot of options,” said Thornton who collected seven birdies and an eagle in Thursday’s round with two bogeys coming at the fourth and 11th.
“That was a good score today. I probably only hit two shots where I didn’t want them go.
“It suited me today. There was a bit of a breeze which I enjoy.”
The reigning Order of Merit champion, Eamonn Brady (Clontarf Golf Club), is in second place on four under par alongside Keith Shannon who was left to rue a double-bogey at the 18th.
“I found the water twice. Even a bogey wouldn’t have been so bad,” said the 28-year-old from Forkhill in Co Armagh who started his round with a bogey but then added five birdies and an eagle.

“I’ve only played a handful of times this season because I’ve been working to finish my PGA qualifications so I wasn’t too sure how I was going to get on. After that bogey at the first I actually stayed pretty patient. I’m happy, it’s a good start.”

Andy Hogan (Edmondstown GC), Chris Carvill (Belvoir Park GC) and Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC) are tied for fourth after opening with rounds of three under 69.
“A very steady round of golf, 15 pars and three birdies,” said McNamara.
“Nothing was great and nothing was bad. I’m pretty happy with it – it was solid.”
Defending champion Niall Kearney is in a group of five players who ended the day on two under par.
“I think I hit 17 greens in regulation. I could have holed a few more putts but it was a steady start and gives me a decent platform for the rest of the week,” said Kearney

* The 106th Irish PGA Championship is being staged – In Association with Title Sponsors Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort, Official Media Partners Golf Digest Ireland and Classic Hits 4FM and with support from House of Waterford Crystal and Skycaddie.

Irish PGA Championship scoreboard

Volunteer ethos alive and well as Belvoir Park launches Club Marshal programme

September 18, 2016
Belvoir Park captain, Paul Maconaghie and General Manager, Jim Cullen, with the new Club Marshals

Belvoir Park captain, Paul Maconaghie and General Manager, Jim Cullen, with the new Club Marshals

In what is believed to be something of a ‘first of it’s kind’ in Ireland, Belvoir Park Golf Club has unveiled their first group of specially trained and uniformed volunteer ‘Club Marshals’.
With sports clubs at all levels regularly bemoaning the problem of recruiting and training volunteers, it’s an interesting development from Belvoir to formalise this particular role.
Launched in August, the Marshals provide a unique support service for all corporate, charity and major golf events held at the Belfast club.
Each of Belvoir’s 24 club Marshals are kitted out in distinctive golfing “uniforms” – their outfits include wet suits, chiller sweaters, shirts and caps.
The Marshals liaise with the corporate representatives to see that all golfing aspects of their event run smoothly. They provide starter support and directions at the first tee, and act as rangers on the course, monitoring any course issues, pace of play and assistance when needed. They then return an event form highlighting any key issues.
Belvoir Park’s GM, Jim Cullen said; “Our Marshals help ensure that, from the clubhouse to the first tee-box to the 18th green, our corporate outings are more efficiently managed.

“These are very competitive times for all golf clubs. At Belvoir we aim to ensure that our corporate clients and their guests enjoy a great time at our club.

“In fact, we aim to exceed their expectations both on and off the course. They really welcome the extra support which our Marshals offer, and the feedback has been extremely positive.
“Hopefully too, both clients and guests will then tell others about the ‘Belvoir Experience’ and return for more.”
Club Captain Paul Maconaghie commented: “We are proud and very pleased to learn that we’re the first club in Ireland to introduce, and in such depth, this special initiative.
“It has received enthusiastic support not only from our council and management team, but from our wider membership…who recognise the many benefits it offers.”


Belvoir Park captain, Paul Maconaghie with Volunteer Now’s Denise Hayward and the Club Marshals

The Marshals have precise job descriptions, and all have completed training on a specially-tailored “Ambassadors Programme” delivered by Denise Hayward of “Volunteer Now”.
This was facilitated by Simon Wallace, Tourism NI’s golf sales & marketing manager, who remarked: “Tourism NI congratulates Belvoir, and we strongly endorse this ground-breaking initiative, because it means that visitors and guests to the club receive a warm and very professional welcome.
“It’s also an excellent strategy to utilise a willing resource of mature volunteers, with the required skills to best represent the Club to clients and their guests. We believe the ‘Club Marshals’ concept offers unique added-value for visitors and we would encourage all the other clubs to follow Belvoir’s example.”

Cairndhu’s Neil McKinstry claims Irish Youths Championship title

August 27, 2016
Neil McKinstry (Cairndhu) with the 2016 Irish Youths Amateur Open trophy after his victory at Galway Golf Club Picture by Pat Cashman

Neil McKinstry (Cairndhu) with the 2016 Irish Youths Amateur Open trophy after his victory at Galway Golf Club
Picture by Pat Cashman

Cairndhu’s Neil McKinstry (20) made a miraculous par at the penultimate hole and then birdied the last to clinch a three-shot victory in the Irish Youths Championship at Galway Golf Club.
Home favourite Ronan Mullarney was second ahead of Maynooth University teammate Jordan Hood while Maynooth’s A team of Mullarney, Robin Dawson and Sean Flanagan won the Irish Colleges Invitational by three shots from McKinstry’s Ulster side.
McKinstry won the Ulster Youths at Belvoir Park in 2015 but the 20-year-old has struggled this season and was low on confidence after a series of missed cuts.
“I had absolutely zero expectations coming into the week,” said McKinstry.

“Golf is a strange, strange game.”

An opening round 66 on Wednesday suggested all was not lost. Leading by two on four under, he added a 72 to maintain his advantage going into the final round but the title was slipping from his grasp as he dropped four shots in three holes.
Bogeys at nine and 11 came either side of a costly double at the 10th. McKinstry rallied with birdies at 12 and 13 but he was far from comfortable.
“I hit it really poorly the last five or six holes but I just managed to get it around,” he said.
“It wasn’t pretty.”
After a pulled tee shot on 17, he found himself in an ugly situation.
“I’ll never know how I made four to be honest,” he admitted.

“I hit it left into the munchies. I was going to take a drop out but at best I was going to struggle to make five so I just thought I’d whack it out as best I could.”

Hunched over, he managed to escape the trees and leave himself a clear shot to the green. From 131 yards, he left a putt of 15 feet and promptly rolled it in for par to give himself a two-shot cushion playing the last.
After the drama of 17 came a moment of pure bliss as he birdied from six feet to seal victory in style.
“It means a lot to win. I struggled most of the year. It’s good to get rewarded for sticking at it,” he reflected.
“I won the Ulster Youths last year, I think that helped me big time playing today.”
In three weeks he begins a physiotherapy course at the University of Ulster and having got a taste for success, he is hungry for more.
“I’d love to try and push on and win at a higher level but that’ll be next year,” he said.

Irish Youths Championship scores

Irish Colleges Invitational scores

Copy courtesy of GUI