Posts Tagged ‘Damien McGrane’

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


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

Kilpatrick to realise Irish Open ambition at Portstewart

June 28, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick

Banbridge professional, Richard Kilpatrick, will realise a long-held ambition when he plays in next week’s DDF Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Richard earned his place in the Irish Open field by finishing sixth in the PGA in Ireland 2016 Order of Merit.
He will be joined at Portstewart by Damien McGrane, David Higgins, Colm Moriarty, Neil O’Briain and Simon Thornton
“I can’t wait. The crowds, the buzz, the field that is being assembled. I can’t wait to tee it up, let it go and see what happens. It will be some test,” said the Banbridge GC assistant.
“I had the chance to play in the Irish Open as an amateur but it often clashed with the Brabazon Trophy and the GUI would send us over to England to compete in that instead.
“It means a lot to get to play in my first Irish Open up here (Northern Ireland) and at Portstewart as well. My aunt has a place in the town and I played the course a lot as an amateur.
“Even now, during the winter and when I can in the summer months I try to get up and play. The club professional, Neil Graham, has been very good in accommodating me.”
Richard turned professional in 2007 after winning the East of Ireland Championship and helping Ireland collect the European Team Championship title.
He spent the best part of eight years playing on the Challenge Tour, Alps Tour and EuroPro Tour before opting to follow the PGA route.
He has performed impressively on the PGA in Ireland circuit in recent seasons and has two wins to his name in 2017 at the PGA Irish Club Pro-Am and the Ruddy Cup for Young Professionals.
And whilst he may be inexperienced in terms of playing at the highest level, he may have pulled off a masterstroke when is comes to hiring a caddy for the week.
Former college team mate and major winning LPGA caddy, David Jones, will lug Richard’s bag around Portstewart during tournament week.
Jones, who was formerly the PGA professional at Bushfoot GC, also happens to be a member at Portstewart GC and has cleared his schedule to caddy for Richard in the Irish Open.
“I’ve known Davy for years. I was starting my first year of college in America at the University of Toledo just as he was finishing his studies there. He was the groomsman at my wedding last December ” added Richard.

“The thing for me will be getting used to the atmosphere, to the grandstands and the corporate boxes. I’ve played a few rounds up there recently trying to familiarise myself with the place and how it will look during tournament week.”

That’s not something Damien McGrane will have to worry about. The Kells man has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt. McGrane topped the Order of Merit last year and also won the Irish PGA Championship. He is leading the way again in 2017 and if his competitive instincts take over he is capable of making an impact at Portstewart.
You can put Simon Thornton into the same bracket. A winner on the European Tour in 2013 (Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open), Simon is still returning to full fitness following surgery to his feet at the start of the year.
“I think I’ve only missed one [Irish Open] in recent years. It is a great event and you get used to playing in them but this will be a bit different now that’s it’s part of the Rolex Series,” said the 40-year-old.
“For us, as PGA guys, you have to try and blank all that out. You can’t really start thinking about the money that is on offer. You have to focus on those first two rounds and if you can make the cut great, then try and do as well as you can.”

A longer version of this article appeared in the July edition of Irish Golfer Magazine

Tim Rice holds off Colm Moriarty to claim Irish PGA Championship title

June 26, 2017

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Tim Rice fired a closing two under par 70 to complete a wire-to-wire Irish PGA Championship victory at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort on Sunday.
The Limerick GC man, who opened with a bogey free round of 66, finished three shots ahead of Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance), with 2016 champion, Damien McGrane, finishing in third on six under par.
“I haven’t won anything in ages. The first three days here were as well as I have played for many years although I didn’t putt very well,” said the 39-year-old.
“There was a lot of wind this week, particularly cross winds and I love that, because I can make use of the wind, hold it up and use it to my advantage.”
Rice began the day three shots ahead of nearest rival Moriarty and got off to a flying start with birdies at the first, second, third and fourth. He stretched his lead to six but couldn’t maintain his momentum and Moriarty gradually started to claw back the deficit.
Colm produced a stunning eagle at the par five 13th to reduce the gap to just two shots but he never managed to draw level and a bogey at the par three 17th, after he found a bunker off the tee, effectively ended his challenge.
“I kind of felt that after three or four holes ‘right, that makes things less difficult’ but I stopped, I eased up a bit and that was a bad mistake,” added Tim who had never won a PGA in Ireland event until today.

“Colm is too good a golfer to do that. He hit some great shots coming in. He got that eagle and had a couple of other chances.

“At 16 he hit another super shot and if he had holed that I would have had to hole mine just to stay one ahead. If he had holed that putt I think it would have been very difficult.”
This year’s event was sponsored by Moyvalley Hotel & Twin Oaks Golf Resort with affiliated sponsors Thai Airways, Phoenix Gold Golf & Country Club, Pattaya Thailand, Pico Environment Technology Ireland and Bank of Bangkok.

107th Irish PGA Championship sponsored by Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort leaderboard

Limerick’s Tim Rice grabs Irish PGA Championship lead

June 24, 2017

Tim Rice

Limerick’s Tim Rice edged ahead of the field with a superb five under par 67 on the second day of the 107th Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.
With blustery conditions whipping showers across the Twin Oaks course the 40-year-old produced a composed display which, given the conditions, was every bit as good as his opening 66.
Starting at the 10th, the Limerick GC man went to the turn in one under par 35, with birdies at the 10th, 13th and 14th undone by dropped shots at the 16th and 17th.
He made no mistakes on his back nine, coming back in four under 36 with birdies at the second, fourth, sixth and eighth.
“In many ways, it was very similar to the opening round. There are plenty of chances out there,” said Tim.

“I have been hitting it quite close; I’m not missing many greens and I’m making the most of the par fives.”

Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) finds himself in familiar territory at an Irish PGA Championship, three shots back with two rounds remaining. The 38-year-old, joint leader after round one, followed up with a second round 70.
Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC), who also opened with a bogey-free round of 66 slipped five shots behind Rice following a second round 72.
“I didn’t play great today to be honest. Plus I got a few horrible lies,” said Richard.

“Yesterday I got a few breaks but today I didn’t get them – that was the difference.

“Still I’m in touch I will go away and do a bit of work tonight on the long game because I’m just not finding enough fairways.”
Defending champion Damien McGrane is six shots back after a second round 69, a figure matched by David Higgins (Waterville Links).
“Three under keeps me in with a chance; keeps me in touch, I’m happy enough with that,” said Damien.
The cut fell at +7 with 53 players making it through to the final two days of competition on Saturday and Sunday. The opening two-ball will begin from the first tee on Saturday at 8am.
The leading trio of Kilpatrick, Moriarty and Rice kick off their third round at 10.50am.

107th Irish PGA Championship scoring 


Three-way tie at the top after round one of the Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley

June 23, 2017

Richard Kilpatrick

Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC), Tim Rice (Limerick GC) and Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) lead the way on six under par after the opening round of the 107th Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.
The trio have a one-shot lead over Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & CC), with Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel GC) back in fourth on four under par.
“I have been playing well recently and I knew something was going to happen,” said Kilpatrick who went bogey-free in his six-birdie round.
“I finished the recent Pro-Am at Carne with a 66 and that gave me some added confidence coming down here. I just continued doing the same things.

“I really felt that today was a good day to make a score. The course is playing firm, it wasn’t very windy and it was generous.”

Moriarty and Rice also signed for bogey-free rounds on a day when 26 players matched or bettered par around the Twin Oaks course.
Colm has made a quiet start to the season but he has played his way into contention at the previous two Irish PGA Championships without managing to get his hands on the trophy.
“I haven’t played an awful lot this season and I feel like I am only coming into some sharpness now. I played nicely and gave myself a lot of chances today,” said the 38-year-old.

Tim Rice

Rice, who missed last year’s championship, is still getting to grips with the lay-out after carding a two-over par 74 in Wednesday’s pre-tournament pro-am.
He said, “I’m happy enough with that. It was tricky at times because of the cross wind but it was pleasing to start with that score today.”
Defending champion, Damien McGrane, opened his campaign with a two under par round of 70 and was joined on that mark by David Higgins (Waterville GC), Simon Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf), Shane Jenkinson (St Margaret’s Golf & Country C), Adam Dunmore (Bundoran GC) and Michael McGeady (Seamus Duffy Golf Academy).
“It’s a steady start and I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Damien.
“I played steadily from start to finish, holed a few putts and missed a few but I played the par threes poorly today.”
The second round of the 107th Irish PGA Championship sponsored by Moyvalley Hotel & Twin Oaks Golf Resort will get underway at 8am today (Friday) with the final four-ball starting at 2.30pm.
At the end of play, a cut will be made with the top 50 and ties progressing to the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday. Spectators are welcome and entry is free.

Determined McGrane sets sights on multiple Irish PGA Championship wins

April 12, 2017

Damien McGrane isn’t ready to hand over his Irish PGA Championship crown just yet.
The Kells golfer, a winner of the Volvo China Open in 2008, is determined to defend his title when the Championship returns to Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort (June 22-25).
“The hardest thing by far for me was just getting that first one,” said the 45-year-old.
“Now that I have won it, hopefully that’s opened the floodgates for me. I would love to press on and become a multiple winner of the Irish Championship. I am looking forward to returning to Moyvalley and with a bit of good form, I believe I can run it close again.”
Niall Kearney was the last back-to-back winner of the Irish Championship in 2014 and 2015. He followed in the footsteps of some Irish golfing giants including Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley, Christy O’Connor and Harry Bradshaw.
McGrane holed a number of crucial putts over the closing holes to edge out Simon Thornton last year and he believes that having a razor-sharp short game will be the key to success over the Twin Oaks Championship course in 2017.
“Last year the weather was poor. The course was in good condition but the weather didn’t lead to low scoring,” he said.

“Moyvalley is not overly difficult off the tee so ultimately it will boil down to something of a short game contest. Anyone looking to do well will have to perform around the greens.

“Moving the tournament to a better date will hopefully help with the weather but a lot of the players probably won’t just be as match fit because it is a bit earlier in the season.
“Mind you, the Irish Championship remains the highlight of the season and I can see most of the guys going out of their way to get some golf and get some practice under their belts before they arrive at Moyvalley.”
The Irish Championship forms the centre piece of a competition schedule that will see Damien play events on the Irish region alongside the BMW PGA Championship, the Irish Open and the Challenge Tour.
“I have been away so much over the course of my career that I have very little interest in travelling,” he added.
“I am at a different stage in my career now and I enjoy playing the Irish Region but I am still very competitive as a person so I want to play well when I go out to play and I expect to do well.
“I finished in the top 10 top at the Challenge Tour event at Galgorm Castle last year. Whenever I get a chance to demonstrate that competitive edge I will load up the car and go down the road.”

* The Irish PGA Championship returns to the Twin Oaks Championship Course at Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort in Co Kildare from Thursday 22 June – Sunday 25 June.
The tournament features a prize fund of €30,000 and will be preceded on Wednesday June 21 by a Pro-Am which is a key fundraising event for the Shabra Charity Foundation.
For further information on booking a team at the “107th PGA Championship Pro Am Tournament” please contact The PGA in Ireland on (0)42 932 1193.

No PGA Play Off victory but McGrane and O’Briain secure 2017 BMW PGA Championship places

October 30, 2016
Damien McGrane (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Damien McGrane (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

A sensational final round charge from Damien McGrane ultimately ended in double disappointment at the PGA Play-Offs.
The Kells golfer began the day seven shots behind the eventual champion, Matthew Cort (Beedles Lakes GC), but forced himself into the reckoning with a blistering run of six birdies over the opening 10 holes at Saunton GC.
“At that stage, I could have been looking at a nine under par round,” said Damien.
The 45-year-old briefly led midway through the final round but his putter suddenly went cold on the back nine and a bogey at the par four 16th effectively ended his chances. He signed for a best of the day five under par 66 but knew it could have been so much more.
He continued; “I gave myself chances on every hole on the first nine and slowly I picked off some of the birdies.
“Then it was back to my usual itchy, scratchy self on the back nine and I stopped holing the putts.

“To come here for four days and only have one decent score is very disappointing. The other three days I was not at the races at all.”

Damien finished the tournament in a share of third place but then lost out on a place on the PGA Cup team to Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) who birdied the first play-off hole.
His consolation is that he has earned a trip to play in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next year alongside Neil O’Briain who closed out his tournament with a three under par 68 to finish in fifth.

Neil O' Briain (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Neil O’ Briain (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

The Old Conna pro was pleased with his performance, saving his best round until last, which was bolstered by a chip in birdie at the 17th.
“I am very, very satisfied with the way that I played. I didn’t score as well as I should have but I’m very happy with the way that I hit the ball and controlled it in the wind,” said Neil.
“I have been working a lot on my swing and spending plenty of time practising my putting too.
“It will be nice to go home and tell my dad that I will be playing at Wentworth.”
Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) fired a final round one over par 72 to slip down to 11th place overall and outside the top 10 places guaranteed a start at the BMW.
David Higgins signed for a final round 71 that saw him end the tournament on four over par, tied for 16th.
Cort, who had twice finished a runner-up in the event, was delighted to finally get over the line.
“This caps off a great season. It is great to finish it number one,” he said.
As well as the £2,000 winner’s cheque, Cort has secured automatic places in next season’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the British Masters. He will also play in the PGA Cup side along with second place Robert Coles and Hutcheon.
He added; “Scoring and ball striking-wise – this has been one of the most consistent years of my career. That gives me confidence to go on for next year.”

O’Briain and McGrane three off the pace after two rounds of the PGA Play-Offs

October 26, 2016
Neil O'Briain

Neil O’Briain

Damien McGrane and Neil O’Briain (Old Conna GC) are three shots off the lead after the second round of the PGA Play-Offs at Saunton Golf Club.
With two rounds remaining, the duo – who both carded rounds of one under 70 – are in four-way tie for third place on two under par at the £15,000 event.
Former champion Paul Streeter hit a purple patch on the greens to surge into the lead at the halfway stage. The Lincoln Golf Centre pro, who won this title in 2007, reeled off five birdies on the front nine to set the pace.
While closing bogeys took the shine off the round, his three-under-par 68 was still enough to give him a one stroke advantage over Beedles Lakes’ Matt Cort who added a second 69.
Robert Coles from Maylands in Essex is also in the mix having carded a best of the day 65 which included eight birdies and leaves him one under par for the 72-hole tournament alongside Graham Fox and Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) who carded a one over 72.
David Higgins (Waterville) struggled to a four over par 75 and is now tied for 17th, 10 shots behind leader Streeter.
The top ten finishers are guaranteed a place in next year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth while there are two places up for grabs at the British Masters as well three spots in the Great Britain & Ireland PGA Cup team.

PGA Play-Offs scoring

PGA Play-Offs
At Saunton GC (Par 71)
Leading scores
1 P Streeter (Lincoln Golf Centre) 69/68                                      137
2 M Cort (Beedles Lake GC) 69/69                                                   138
T3 D McGrane 70 70                                                                                  140
T3 N O’Briain (Old Conna GC) 70 70                                               140
T3 G Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre Inchma) 71 69   140
T3 A Willey (Bulwell Forest Golf Club) 71 69                            140
T7 G Fox (Clydeway Golf) 73 68                                                          141
T7 C Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Ltd) 69 72                141
T7 R Coles (Maylands Golf & CC) 76 65                                          141