Posts Tagged ‘David Higgins’

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


PGA in Ireland team cruise to 16-shot International Team Championship success

November 26, 2017

2017 PGAs of Europe International Team Championship Winners, the PGA in Ireland – [L to R] Simon Thornton, David Higgins & Mark Staunton
Pic by Johan Hampf’

Ireland cruised to an emphatic 16-shot victory in the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino, Greece on Saturday.
Mark Staunton’s (Delgany GC) stunning bogey-free final round 64 (-7) set the seal on a superb team effort by the PGA in Ireland representatives.
“It was an excellent few days. The resort was first class and the event was well run by the PGA’s of Europe,” said Galway born Staunton.
“It is great to have the honour of representing your country and even better to be able to win. The two lads (Simon Thornton and David Higgins) played great all week and on a personal note, it was nice to finish the week off strongly.”
The International Team Championship saw 21 teams from the PGAs of Europe’s member countries battling it out over 72 holes on the Bernhard Langer designed The Dunes Course. The best two individual scores each day from the team of three counted towards the overall team score.
Ireland trailed Scotland by five shots at the close of play on day one but a second round five-under-par 66 from Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) helped to turn that deficit into a two-shot lead.
“We had a great week. Everyone in the team contributed and winning by such a wide margin made it even more special,” said Simon.
“It feels great to beat the other European countries and I think it highlights the strength and depth of player we have in Ireland.”
Once ahead, Ireland put the foot down finishing day three with a six-shot advantage which they extended to a remarkable 16 shots by the end of play on day four.
“It was a great way to finish the season,” said Higgins (Waterville Links) who got Ireland off to a solid start on day one with an opening round 68 (-3).
“It is a great honour to be selected to represent your country and to win while doing it is extra special.”
This is the third time Ireland has won the ITC. The last Irish team to win the title in 2008 featured John Kelly (St Margaret’s Golf &CC), Robert Giles (Greenore) and Eamonn Brady (Clontarf).

2017 International Team Championship leaderboard

Irish trio chase International Team Championship crown in Greece

November 21, 2017

Mark Staunton

David Higgins (Waterville) Mark Staunton (Delgany) and Simon Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) are representing the PGA in Ireland at the International Team Championship in Greece this week (Nov 22-25).
“I’m looking forward to it. The last time I played team golf was, I suppose, when I was 21 and I got one of my final international caps for Ireland playing on a two-man team in Belgium,” said Staunton who will be making his debut in the event.
“I have played in a few Alliance outings around Dublin recently and have been playing quite nicely,” added Galway born Mark who won the Irish Order of Merit in 2007.
“I went for a lesson a while ago and my scoring has picked up a bit over the last few rounds so hopefully I can take some of that form with me to Costa Navarino.

“I’ve no expectations but I do know I will be playing alongside a couple of very good players in David and Simon.”

Simon Thornton

Thornton has recently been appointed tournament professional for Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, near Blessington Lakes, Co Wicklow.  The resort’s championship golf course has also been revealed as one of the venues for the PGA EuroPro Tour in 2018.
Simon added: “I am delighted to be starting my new role at Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort. The first thing I noted was the quality and layout of the course, which is really impressive. Tulfarris really has all the ingredients to become one of the premier golfing destinations in Ireland. It’s an exciting time for the Resort and I am looking forward to being part of its success.”
Ireland have contended regularly at the ITC in recent years but no team has managed to match the exploits of John Kelly, Robert Giles and Eamonn Brady who collected the title in 2008 in Spain. Last year, the team of Damien Mooney, Eamonn Brady and Michael McDermott led the way after round one but eventually finished the tournament in fourth, behind winners the PGA of Germany.
This year 21 teams will compete over 72 holes on The Dunes Course, designed by Bernhard Langer. The best two individual scores each day from the team of three will count towards the overall team score. A secondary event sees small and emerging Member PGAs compete for the ITC Shield.

International Team Championship Leaderboard

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 ( 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

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

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.

Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am goes back to the future to celebrate 25th Anniversary

April 4, 2017

The Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am, always one of the highlights of the PGA in Ireland schedule, celebrates its silver anniversary in 2017.
Organisers of the two-day event at the famed Co Cavan venue will mark the occasion by inviting all the previous winners back to compete in this year’s tournament which will be staged on June 26th and 27th.
“Hosting the annual Pro-Am is the most significant date in our annual golfing calendar,” said Tony Walker, General Manager, Slieve Russell.

“This year we are particularly delighted to be celebrating our 25th anniversary, making us one of the longest-running Pro-Ams on the Irish PGA schedule. We all look forward to welcoming back the golfers who have made this event so popular over the years.”

Graeme Dunlea (l) with Tony Walker and John Dwyer (r) shared the title in 2014

The tournament has been well supported by PGA professionals and has always attracted some of Ireland’s leading lights.
Ryder Cup hero, Eamonn Darcy has a hat trick of wins to his name, claiming first prize in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Christy O’Connor Jnr shared first place in 1998 while another of Ireland’s Ryder Cup heroes, Philip Walton, has won it twice in 2002 and 2004.
Waterville’s David Higgins, another three-time winner, holds the record for the lowest winning score, 12 under par, set in 2010.
It is a mark that has remained firmly out of reach in recent years. Neil O’Briain made it back-to-back successes in 2016 by firing rounds of 72/68 to finish on four under par.
PGA in Ireland secretary, Michael McCumiskey said; “The Slieve Russell Masters has been one of the best supported events on the PGA calendar ever since it was first played in October 1993.
“Some people have made a habit of making an annual trip to the event. The attraction is not only the golf course but all of the facilities located there.
“A decision was taken in the mid-1990s to attract European Tour players and the prize-fund was dramatically increased, along with support for local and national charities. Now in it’s 25 year, we look forward with great enthusiasm to June, and visiting the Slieve Russell once again.”
Entry for the 2017 Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am costs €750 which includes a practice round on the Sunday followed by the par-3 tournament, barbecue and access to a very special golfing entertainment package.
A special B&B rate is available for competing PGA professionals.
To enter a team for this event please contact: Gordon Smyth or Aine McCluskey at 00353 49 9526444 or email: or

Roll of Honour
2016 – Neil O’Briain (Old Conna) -4 (140)
2015 – Neil O’Briain (Old Conna) -2 (142)
2014 – John Dwyer & Graeme Dunlea -5 (139)
2013 – John Kelly (St. Margarets) -3 (141)
2012 – David Higgins (Waterville) -5 (139)
2011 – Peter Lawrie -4 (140)
2010 – David Higgins (Waterville) -12 (132)
2009 – Michael McGeady (North West) -7 (137)
2008 – Robert Giles (Greenore) -6 (138)
2007 – David Higgins (Waterville) -3 (141)
2006 – Damien McGrane -6 (138)
2005 – Stephen Browne -7 (137)
2004 – Philip Walton -11 (133)
2003 – John Dwyer -1 (71)
2002 – Philip Walton Par (144)
2001 – Francis Howley -7 (137)
2000 – John Dignam -5 (139)
1999 – Eamonn Darcy -2 (142)
1998 – Eamonn Darcy, Raymond Burns, Robert Giles, Christy O’Connor Jnr & Leslie Walker -1 (143)
1997 – Eamonn Darcy
1996 – Damien McGrane -3 (141)
1995 – Brendan McGovern -2 (142)
1994 – Geoff Loughrey -2 (142)
1993 – Martin Sludds -2 (142)

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.”