Posts Tagged ‘Knock’

Fairweather bounces back from North of Ireland defeat to book place in NI Open

July 19, 2017

Paul Hughes, Captain Galgorm Castle Golf Club, Valerie Penney, Specsavers Ballymena, Colin Fairweather, NI Amateur Open champion 2017 and John Carruthers, Honorary Secretary Galgorm Castle Golf Club

Knock’s Colin Fairweather came out on top of a three-way playoff to win the 36-hole Northern Ireland Amateur Open sponsored by Specsavers Ballymena.
The 26-year-old birdied the first extra hole at Galgorm Castle to beat Thomas Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) and former winner, Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene GC).
In doing so, the 26-year-old, earned a place in the field alongside the professionals at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, Presented by Modest! Golf (Aug 10-13).
“I just wanted to win. I wasn’t really thinking about the chance of playing in the NI Open,” said Colin who lost out to Rowan Lester (Hermitage) in the final of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.
“I didn’t get it last week, but I got that winning feeling again today. It didn’t matter where it was or what tournament it was in. I just wanted to win something, especially after last week when I finished runner-up at Royal Portrush.

“It took me a wee while to get over that so it was great to bounce back so quickly. I’ve always wanted to play in the Challenge Tour event as well, so this win meant an awful lot to me.”

Thomas Mulligan

Colin was leading by one playing the final hole when he lost his ball off the tee. He eventually made a bogey six at the par-five to force his way into the playoff alongside McLarnon and Mulligan.
“It was really tough today, even though the weather was perfect. They have let the rough grow up with the Challenge Tour event in mind,” added Colin.
“I felt I had the advantage on the hole because I was the longest off the tee. I was determined to stay aggressive, you only have one shot at a playoff.”
The trio went back down the 18th and Colin didn’t make the same mistake in sudden death, hitting a long drive down the fairway before firing a seven-iron onto the green to set up a two-putt birdie from 20 feet.
McLarnon missed a five-footer for his birdie, while Mulligan lost a ball off the tee, and though he still managed a par, it was Fairweather who took the spoils.
While Mulligan lost out in the playoff, the 17-year-old had already secured the second NI Open place up for grabs courtesy of Modest! Golf’s invite for the leading under-18 player.
“It’s great, I came here to secure the under-18 invite and massive thanks to Modest! Golf for the opportunity,” said the Leinster player, who also represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in 2016.
“I had a poor second round but am delighted to have earned my place in the NI Open and I can’t wait to play here again in a few weeks.”
Entry to the NI Open is free, simply register online at
This year’s event introduces the exciting new Shootout Sunday knockout format, which is sure to provide plenty of drama for the players and spectators.


Rowan Lester finds key to success at North of Ireland Amateur Championship

July 15, 2017

Rowan Lester (Hermitage) winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic at Royal Portrush Golf Club with (l-r) David McMullan (Capt. Royal Portrush), Eamonn O’Connor (Chairman GUI Ulster Branch) and Andrew Spence (Cathedral Eye Clinic).
Picture: Golffile | Thos Caffrey

Rowan Lester (Hermitage) staged a back nine fightback to win the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush on Friday.
Three down after seven and struggling for consistency off the tee, the 21-year-old beat home favourite, Colin Fairweather (Knock) by two holes.
“I knew I was playing good. I knew that if I could keep it solid and not have any bogeys that I would get back,” said Rowan who fired a course record 64 (-7) on the Valley Links during qualifying.
“In match play, three is comfortable. Two or one up is never comfortable. I knew just to hang in there.
“I always like leading. When I go down I normally find it hard but today I knew I was going to come back.
“I didn’t necessarily think I would win but I knew I would get back and make it tight. I just had that feeling.”
A student at Texas Wesleyann University, Rowan found himself out of position off the tee on a number of occasions but superb up and downs on the ninth and 10th, kept him in touch with Fairweather as bad weather closed in around the final.
“Nine and 10 were key. If I had lost those holes it was game over basically,” he added.

“I kept laying up to a number that I like. I did the same on 12, hit a really good shot into seven feet. Winning that hole was big.”

Rowan Lester lines up a putt on the eighth green

Fairweather still led by one at that stage but the momentum was clearly with Lester and he pressed on.
He added; “I got a big half on 14. It’s always a tough shot into the green. I was completely out of position but from there I didn’t miss a shot.
“I said to myself standing on the 15th tee, ‘if I can play the last four in level par I will win’.”
He levelled matters at the 15th with a par to Fairweather’s dropped shot, halved the 16th, won the 17th to go ahead for the first time and wrapped up the match in style with a fine approach to the home green.
A beaten finalist in the 2015 South of Ireland Championship, Fairweather was left to rue a missed opportunity.
“I was playing well at the start and had it going straight off the tee then he got the momentum coming through on the 12th,” said Colin.
“When he won that hole and was able to get on the tee ahead of me he was then able to get into his rhythm which I found hard to cope with.

“I was never really on my A game all week. I battled around all week but I just fell short.”

Colin is waiting for surgery to treat varicose veins and was feeling the effects as the week wore on but refused to blame that for defeat.
“I noticed it at the start of the season and as the summer has worn on it has got more achy,” said the 26-year-old.
“It is such a weird thing to have but I got an injection and I got a stocking on it at the start of the week that took most of the pain away. It’s not an excuse.”

Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship match play results

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.

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

Ballyclare’s Lyttle goes large to win Alliance event at Donaghadee GC

November 10, 2016

Donaghadee GC

Five birdies and just one bogey took Colin Lyttle to the top of the professionals’ leaderboard at Wednesday’s Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance tournament.
The Ballyclare GC pro put together a fine round of four under 67 at Donaghadee to secure a two-shot victory over Simon Thornton.
Starting his round at the 10th, Colin reached the turn in three under par 32, courtesy of birdies at the 12th, 14th and 18th when he wedged his approach to just eight inches.
He parred the first, his 10th of the day, and then birdied the par five second to reach four under for his round.
His final birdie came at the sixth when he rolled in a birdie putt from 10 feet but he then three-putted the seventh for his only mistake of the day before closing out his round with a par at the ninth.
Clandeboye seven handicapper Chris Turney topped the amateurs’ nett leaderboard with 41 points while plus-one Mourne handicapper Stephen Barker won the gross prize on one-under-par 70.
Local pro Craig Lyall led home the winning team of Gareth Boyd (1), John Ross (5) and James Templeton (11), all Donaghadee members, on 89 points.
Next Monday, the action moves to Knock for another Ulster Golfers’ Alliance Ping-backed tournament.

Professional scoring from Donaghadee

Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at Donaghadee
Professionals: 67 (-4) – C Lyttle (Ballyclare).
69 – S Thornton (Unattached).
70 – C Lyall (Donaghadee).
71 – G Graham (Groomsport DR); D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast).
72 – G Wardlow (Spa), C Carvill (Belvoir Pk), S Hamill (Lisburn).
Amateurs: Nett, 41 pts – C Turney 7 (Clandeboye).
40 – C Tiffen 6 (Lambeg).
39 – S Boyd 10 (Roe Pk).
38 – B Rossi 7 (Belvoir Pk) … 4th.
38 – D Girven 17 (Aughnacloy).
Nett: 89 pts – Pro C Lyall with Amateurs G Boyd 1, J Ross 5 & J Templeton 11 (all Donaghadee).
With thanks to Tony McGee

Changing of the guard underway in Ulster

July 28, 2014
Munster celebrate interpro success - pic by Pat Cashman

Munster celebrate interpro success – pic by Pat Cashman

Ulster handed over the interprovincial crown to Munster last week at The Island but there was no sense of despondency on the part of team captain, Colm Murphy.
“To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for a few putts towards the end and a couple of things that swung their [Munster’s] way we could have done it, but it’s very fine margins at the elite level,” said Murphy.
With the likes of Reeve Whitson and Aaron Kearney unavailable having turned professional and Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) ruled out through injury, Ulster were much changed from the 2013 side heading into the event.
Stephen Coulter (Warrenpoint), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Matthew McClean (Balmoral) and John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) came in to join the experienced trio of Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) and Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass).
“We had a few new faces but they all performed exceptionally well and did not look out of their depth,” added Murphy.
“It certainly gave the likes of Colin Fairweather, Stephen Coulter and Matthew McClean an idea of what it is all about and there is no reason why they can’t push on now and perform at that level more regularly.”
There is something of a ‘changing of the guard’ taking place at senior level in Ulster but Murphy is a firm believer that competition for places will be a positive influence.
“The likes Dermot McElroy will not be around for ever. They have eyes on a biggest prize and many of them are turning professional like Reeve so we have to look to the future as well,” he said.
“From my perspective, I am hoping that lads will look at the team and think that there is an opportunity, and that the same old faces will not be involved every year.
“There should be guys out there now thinking to themselves, that if they give it a real good go they can force themselves into the reckoning.”
Munster beat Ulster 7-4 on the final day of competition to secure the Interprovincial title.

Two in a row for Wardlow at St Patrick’s GC

March 31, 2014
Gary Wardlow

Gary Wardlow

Gary Wardlow is easing himself into form for the long summer season ahead.
The recent winner of the Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy at Ballyliffin was too hot for the rest of the field at St Patrick’s Downpatrick
It was the last outing in the Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance season and the QUB attaché posted a three-under-par 66 to finish two shots ahead of his nearest competitor, Ricky Whitford (Knock).
In excellent conditions, Wardlow pencilled in eight pars and a birdie three at the second hole to turn in one-under-34. His birdie at the shortish second was achieved by driving the green and getting down in two putts from 20 feet.
However, he three-putted the par five 12th green for a bogey before covering the final five holes in three-under-par. At 14, he was on the green with a drive and a wedge and rolled in the putt from 10 feet for a birdie three and at the short 15th, he rifled an eight iron to two feet. Wardlow then finished with another birdie two, chipping in after missing the green on the left.
Proving that being elevated to Captain of the PGA Irish Region hasn’t stinted his game was Paul Stevenson as the Portadown head professional was well up the leaderboard in joint eighth position, after carding 71.

Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at St Patrick’s Downpatrick
Professionals: 66 (-3) – G Wardlow (QUB).
68 – R Whitford (Knock).
69 – P Vaughan (Ardglass), P Farrell (Laganview DR).
70 – N Murray (Massereene), D Mooney (Ballyliffin), P Hanna (Lurgan).
71 – P Stevenson (Portadown), W Ramsey (Knockbracken DR).
Amateurs: Nett 42 pts – Paul Holmes 10 (Knock).
41 – Rowan McGuigan 16 (Warrenpoint) … 22 back;
41 – Ian Smyth 4 (Clandeboye) … 21 back.
Gross 67 (-2) – Stuart Bleakley 1 (Shandon Pk).
Team: 94 pts – Pro Tony Murtagh (Co Armagh) with Rowan McGuigan 16, Robert Ferguson 26 (both Warrenpoint) & Damien Smyth 21 (Co Armagh).
Info provided by Tony McGee

Selfridge returns to defend East of Ireland crown

May 31, 2013
FLASHBACK: Chris Selfridge celebrates winning the East of Ireland Championship 2012 Picture: Pat Cashman

FLASHBACK: Chris Selfridge celebrates winning the East of Ireland Championship 2012
Picture: Pat Cashman

FOR a brief 10 day spell last year, Chris Selfridge knew exactly what it meant to be in ‘the zone’.
The Moyola Park golfer won the Irish Close Championship at Royal Portrush and the East of Ireland Championship at Baltray to complete a remarkable double inside a week.
The 21-year-old University of Toledo student has returned to defend his East title hoping that the positive memories will spark a new run of success.
“Last year was the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said the 21-year-old who has been a model of consistency in US college events this season.
“I had a practice round at Baltray on Thursday and it brought back a lot of good vibes although it’s a long time since I played in a wind that strong.

“I was able to recall some of the shots I hit in the play-off against Nicky Grant (Knock). Hopefully those positive memories will work in my favour again this week.”

A strong field has assembled at Baltray with a record qualifying handicap cut off limit of 0.2. 156 competitors will complete 36 holes Saturday and Sunday with the 51 competitors who return the lowest gross scores qualifying for the final 36 holes on Monday.
Chris’ consistent season earned him recognition in America where he was named on the PING All-Midwest Region team but he hasn’t managed to win since October [Georgetown Intercollegiate] and that has been frustrating.
“I’ve played well, I had eight top 10 finishes and I feel like I’m a better golfer than last year but I haven’t managed to get over the line,” he added.
“I putted great last year. If you’re playing average but putting well it can make a big difference.”
From Baltray, Chris will travel to the west of Ireland to defend his Irish Close title at Connemara Golf Club. The Irish Close has reverted to the match-play format this season, consisting of two rounds of strokeplay with the top-64 competitors then advancing to match play.

Ulster hopes high at Royal Dublin

May 9, 2013

2013 Irish Amateur Open Championship
The Ulster triumvirate of Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) and Reeve Whitson (Mourne) lead the way for the province at the Irish Amateur Open in Royal Dublin which gets underway Friday.
With a combined handicap of +10, they will be hoping to emulate the success of fellow Ulstermen Alan Dunbar (2010) and Michael Hoey (1998) in lifting the coveted trophy come Sunday evening.
But there is another Ulsterman who has a proven track record at the Dollymount links, and Nicky Grant (Knock) is no stranger to being in contention at the Irish Amateur Open.
Having missed last year’s championship due to a wrist injury, Grant finished fifth in 2011 when Welsh teenager Rhys Pugh lifted the trophy. Two years previous, Grant (pictured) was third behind the Scottish pair Gavin Dear and Wallace Booth.
It’s been a mixed season so far, with little to suggest that the Knock clubman has the form to win this week. At the South African Amateur he finished just outside the top 20, and followed this up with a missed cut at the Spanish Amateur in March. Beaten in the last 16 at Co Sligo in the West of Ireland, he then missed the cut at the Lytham Trophy.
But he is looking at the positives and feels he has a chance this week.
“I’ve been practicing quite hard at home but my game has been a bit hit or miss,” said Grant who has been working with a new coach in the form of Andy Ferguson at Royal Belfast since last October.

“I’ve been playing decent enough, but then have a bad hole here and there but my game has definitely coming on. I’m looking forward to this week. I’ve done well here the last couple of years I’ve played.

“I feel my game is a lot more consistent now, a lot more better shots than I was before. I’m hitting a lot more greens and my putting has got to come at some stage.

“I just feel comfortable, it’s not too tight, I feel quite free. I like the greens as well, they’re not difficult to read. I think they are pretty easy to read. Once you do well in a competition you get confidence and belief. I just feel it suits my game.”
The Irish Amateur Open gets underway at 7am on Friday morning and concludes on Sunday.
Visit – for more details/tee times and updates.
Copy courtesy of Alan Kelly/pic by Pat Cashman

Rory finishes with a flourish to win North title

July 13, 2012

Rory McNamara winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Championship 2012

RORY McNamara (Headfort) finished with a flourish to break Michael Sinclair’s (Knock) heart in the final of the North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush yesterday. The 23-year-old, trailing for most of the contest, birdied the 17th and 18th to record a one hole win over the Ulster stalwart.
It was a bitter blow for Sinclair, who won the title for the first time in 1997 when McNamara was just eight years old. The 40-year-old had looked nailed on for success after turning for home with a three-hole lead but McNamara, who is enjoying a hugely consistent season, stayed calm and made the most of his chances.
“I’m overwhelmed to be honest,” he said after receiving the trophy won last year by Patrick McCrudden.
“I came into this week feeling good and my game was in good shape. I just thought if everything came together it could be my week and here I am. Tee to green it was the best I have ever hit it and I got some crucial putts when I needed them.

“At 16 I holed out for a half and then those birdies at 17 and 18. I knew I had two for it at 18 but there is always a lot of pressure. I was taking a few breaths and just trying to get it as close as possible.”

Given his performances in 2012, it should come as no surprise that McNamara finally managed to get his hands on a major amateur title. He has lost only two match-play contests all season, at the semi-finals of the West of Ireland and then at the last 16 stage of the British Amateur. However, it was Sinclair who probably started the afternoon final as favourite following a 6/5 demolition of Eddie McCormack (Galway) in the morning semi-final.
McCormack’s opening tee shot sailed out of bounds at Royal Portrush’s par four first and Sinclair needed no second invitation, grabbing the initiative and powering into an unassailable lead.
“He gave me the impetus to move on,” said Sinclair who won the East of Ireland title in 2003.
“I wanted to come up and put in a good showing with the Ulster selection for the inter-provincials in mind.”
In contrast, McNamara was forced to scrap all the way in his semi-final match with the unheralded Geoff Lenehan (Portamarnock). In a fluctuating tie, Rory led early but Lenehan hung in and went ahead himself at the 16th. It was the first time that McNamara had trailed all week but he responded to level matters at 16 with a birdie and went in front at the 17th before closing out the tie at 18.
“I think the difference for me this year is that I am staying patient,” added Rory.
“I was down early today but I didn’t panic. I just keep going because I knew my game was in good shape and I knew I would have plenty of chances coming in.”