Posts Tagged ‘Lynn McCool’

Ireland finalise team to face USA in the International King’s Cup at Lough Erne Resort

May 3, 2017

Ireland’s team to face the USA in the International King’s Cup has been confirmed after a final qualifying event at Lough Erne Resort.
Following four regional qualifiers at Ardglass GC, Ennis GC, Westport GC and Dunmurry Springs GC, 60 players arrived at the Co Fermanagh venue, focused on securing a place on Ireland’s 16-man (8 pairs) team to face the USA in May.
Blustery conditions made life tricky for many of the competitors but it didn’t seem to bother two Kesh brothers Declan McKeever and Darren McKeever. The duo earned their spots on the Ireland team with a solid two-over par round of 74. They were later joined by another Co Fermanagh based pair of Vincent Owens and Martin Peters.
The best score of the day came from a pair of three-handicappers from Munster – Alan Moran (Tuam) and Colm Feeney (Galway GC) – who finished with a fine better-ball score of two under par 70.
Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort said: “Many thanks to the clubs that hosted regional qualifiers and all the players who competed to try and earn a place on the Ireland team.

“I’m convinced that we have put a very strong team together capable of defending the trophy we won last year. We are looking forward to the main event now and can’t wait for the Americans to arrive in Northern Ireland so they can get a taste of golf, N.I style.”

The International King’s Cup was first played last year and finished in dramatic style with Ireland winning after a thrilling play-off. The Ryder Cup style tournament, which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, will take place this year from May 23-25.
Both teams will stay on-site at the Lough Erne resort, with full access to the golf academy, receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and attend two Gala dinners as part of the event.

International King’s Cup Qualifiers
Senior Championship – Alan Moran (Tuam GC) & Colm Feeney (Galway GC)
Senior Category A – Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) & Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC)
Senior Category B – Liam Friel (Westport GC) & John Collins (Westport GC)
Senior Category C – James McAllister (Ballybofey & S GC) & Patsy O’Donnell (Ballybofey & S GC)
Open Age Championship – Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs) & Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC)
Category A Open Age – Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) & Darren McKeever (Donegal GC)
Category B Open Age – Kevin Commins (Ardee GC) & Tom Muldoon (Cloverhill GC)
Category C Open Age – Vincent Owens (Donegal GC) & Martin Peters (Omagh GC)

International King’s Cup hopefuls prepare for Lough Erne showdown

April 15, 2017

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The stage is set for an enthralling King’s Cup qualifying shoot-out at Lough Erne Resort on Sunday April 23.
Following four regional qualifiers, the contenders have been whittled down to just 60 players who will descend on the Co Fermanagh venue determined to book their place on Ireland’s 16 man (8 pairs) team to face the USA in May.
“I want to thank everyone who competed in the regional qualifiers at Ardglass GC, Ennis GC, Westport GC and Dunmurry Springs GC,” said Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort.
“We were encouraged by participants and fans of the tournament to take qualifying around the country so that’s exactly what we did. The competitors love the format [four different handicap categories and two age brackets] which means that everyone, regardless of age or handicap has a chance to represent Ireland.

“We are looking forward to welcoming all the qualifiers to Lough Erne, many of whom will be visiting for the first time, so they can savour the Northern Ireland golfing experience.”

The International King’s Cup was first played in 2016 and finished in dramatic style with Ireland eventually winning after a final hole play-off.
The Ryder Cup style tournament which honours golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer, features 16-man teams from Ireland and the USA going head to head over three days.
The leading eight teams from the final qualifying event on April 23 will go on represent Ireland in the three-day competition from May 23-25.
They will stay on-site at the Lough Erne resort, with access to the golf academy and facilities, receive specially commissioned outerwear courtesy of Glenmuir and attend two Gala dinners.

Ardglass GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Jonathan Feenan (Ardglass GC) (5) & Gerard Copeland (Ardglass) (1) 62
Category A Open Age – Declan McKeever (Donegal GC) (13) & Darren McKeever (Donegal GC) (6) 65
Category B Open Age – John Mullan (Ardglass GC) (14) & Conor McConvey (Ardglass GC) (6) 68
Category C Open Age – Martin Peters (Donegal GC) (16) & Vincent Owens (Omagh GC) (15) 67
Senior Category A – Colin Crozier (Carnalea GC) (6) & Alan Stewart (Kirkistown GC) (11) 71 (bb9)
Senior Category B – Mark Bohill (Downpatrick GC) (15) & Philip Connor (Ardglass GC) (12) 71
Senior Category C – James McAllister (Ballybofey & S GC) (16) & Patsy O’Donnell )Ballybofey & S GC) (16) 71

Dunmurry Springs GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Darren Carey (Dunmurry Springs GC) (3) & Paul Sweeney (Dunmurry Springs GC)(6) 69
Category A Open Age – Sean O’Gallchair (Cloughaneely GC) (9) & Barry McCormack (Dumurry Springs GC) (2) 71
Category B Open Age – Flann Hayes (Dunmurry Springs GC) (6) & Rob Caschera (Dunmurry Springs GC) (14) 71
Category C Open Age – John Lennon (Moate GC) (13) & Charlie McGrath (Moate GC) (21) 81
Senior Championship – John Hughes (Woodbrook GC) (0) & Paddy Lewis (Woodbrook GC) (4) 72
Senior Category A – Niall Clince (Craddockstown GC) (4) & Kieran O’Brien (Craddockstown GC) (6) 72
Senior Category B – John Nealon (Athy GC) (14) & Joe Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny GC) (11) 79
Senior Category C – Christy McNally (Dunmurry Springs GC) (13) & Tony Donnelly (Dunmurry Springs GC) (17) 78

Ennis GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Alan Purcell (Adare Manor GC) ( (2) & Liam Lenihan (Shannon GC) (5) 75
Category A Open Age – Sean Myatt (Ennis GC) (6) & Ian Myatt (Ennis GC) (8) 67
Category B Open Age – Frank Gormley (Ennis GC) (14) & Colin Ryan (Ennis GC) (7) 73
Category C Open Age – Alan White (Limerick GC) (14) & Gary Power (Limerick GC) (17) 81
Senior Category A – ML Ryan (Tipperary GC) (5) & Pat Creamer (Tipperary GC) (9) 73
Senior Category B – Martin White (Ennis GC) (12) & Paddy Meehan (Woodbrook GC) (10) 77
Senior Category C – Steve Burns (Ennis GC) (13) & John Finn (Ennis GC) (17) 78

Westport GC qualifiers
Open Age Championship – Tony Bree (Westport GC) (2) & Michael Kearns (Westport GC) (1) 72
Category A Open Age – Waylon McEniff (Clones GC) (8) & Gareth Beattie (Clones GC) (11) 77 (bb3)Category B Open Age – Kevin Commins (Ardee GC) (6) & Thomas O’Madden (Ardee GC) (14) 70
Category C Open Age – Paul Doherty (Ballybofey & S GC) (15) & Mark Ponsonby (Letterkenny GC) (16) 86
Senior Championship – Alan Moran (Tuam GC) (3) & Colm Feeney (Galway GC) (3) 70
Senior Category A – Joe Mullally (Tuam GC) (6) & Danny McGrath (Tuam GC) (6) 76
Senior Category B – Liam Friel (Westport GC) (12) & John Collins (Westport GC) (16) 74
Senior Category C – Richie Lee (Oughterard GC) (15) & Seamus McHugh (Ballinrobe GC) (16) 80

The Kings Cup returns for 2017 with more places up for grabs on Team Ireland

January 25, 2017

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Club golfers from the USA and Ireland will meet at Lough Erne Resort in May this year for the second staging of a unique transatlantic competition.
The International Kings Cup Match Play event is a leading amateur event played in honour of golf’s greatest ambassador, Mr Arnold Palmer.
Four provincial qualifiers will be staged across Ireland in a bid to find the best Irish team to take on the USA in a three day 54 hole match-play tournament from May 22-25.
The event is structured like the Ryder Cup and was created in 2016 when the United States Golf Challenge, the largest pairs better ball tournament in the US, brought their leading eight pairs 16-man amateur team across to Northern Ireland to compete against Ireland in the first ever International Kings Cup.
The format of the event offers anyone who holds an official GUI handicap the chance to qualify and book their place on the Team Ireland panel. There are four handicap sections and there is also two age brackets from which the two man teams can qualify (age 18+ and Senior 50+).
There are two stages of qualification with the first being held at a venue in each province. Eight two-man teams from each qualifier will go forward to compete in a final qualifying stage to be played on the Faldo Course on April 23 at the five-star Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh.
Speaking as the event was announced, Lynn McCool, Director of Golf and Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort said it was a fantastic tribute to the legendary Arnold Palmer and an event which would attract golfers from all across Ireland.
“Following the success of the 2016 staging of the International Kings Cup this is one of the most eagerly anticipated amateur tournaments in 2017. We at Lough Erne Resort are thrilled to be hosting this event for the second consecutive year which will see 32 golfers from across the United States and Ireland play on the magnificent Faldo Course,” said Lynn.

“I’m delighted to take the event this year to four courses in Ireland. Each of the qualifying clubs have really got behind the event including Ardglass Golf Club in Ulster, Dunmurry Springs in Leinster, Westport Golf Club in Connacht, and Ennis Golf Club in Munster.

 “We look forward to welcoming players from both sides of the Atlantic to the event, which looks set to stir up Ryder Cup-style rivalry amongst the teams. Competitors will be able to experience first-hand Lough Erne Resort and why Northern Ireland is truly a land made for golf.”

For full details visit:

Ulster Qualifier – Ardglass Golf Club – Friday 24th March
Leinster Qualifier – Dunmurry Springs Golf Club – Sunday 26th March
Munster Qualifier – Ennis Golf Club – Friday 31st March
Connacht Qualifier – Westport Golf Club – Sunday 1st April
Final Qualifier  –  Lough Erne Resort – Sunday 23rd April

Sean Doyle returns to defend Faldo Series title at Lough Erne

April 10, 2016
Under 18  and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne's Lynn McCool

Under 18 and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne’s Lynn McCool

Defending champion Sean Doyle of Athlone will be among the top young Irish golfers competing in the ninth Faldo Series Ireland Championship on the world renowned Faldo Course at Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on April 12-13.
A field of more than 100 golfers aged 12 to 21 will compete in the Faldo Series Ireland Championship over two rounds on the Faldo Course. Other notable competitors include 19-year-old Ireland squad member Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) and Paddy Culhane (Galway GC), both have previously appeared at Grand Finals.
“The Ireland Championship at Lough Erne provides a thorough test on a great course against very good young players.” commented Sir Nick Faldo.
“We thank Lough Erne for their continued support for the Faldo Series and we’re pleased the event gets stronger each year even after nine editions.”
“The Ireland Championship at Lough Erne is an incredibly attractive event for talented young golfers from all across the island.” commented Lynn McCool, Director of Golf at Lough Erne.
“To be hosting our ninth edition in the Faldo Series 20th year is a great way for us to support the on-going efforts of Sir Nick’s vision. We have another great field next week and we hope that the players will enjoy the test that Lough Erne will provide them.”
Competitors will be divided into five age categories, three for boys and two for girls, with the winner of each category qualifying for the 20th European Grand Final, a World Amateur Golf Ranking event
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
You can follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at and on Twitter at


In Northern Ireland only the journalists aren’t Made for Golf

March 13, 2016
Team NI - 3-1 and full of hope before the collapse at Lough Erne

Team NI – 3-1 up and full of hope before the collapse at Lough Erne

We’re rightly proud of our golfing success stories in Northern Ireland – our major winners, amateur stars and Championship venues.
The exploits of Rory, Graeme, Darren, Cormac, Stephanie and Olivia are headline news in this wee corner of Europe.
We have the players and we also have the golfing product, a course to match every price range and ability. Everything from glorious Championship links like Royal County Down and Royal Portrush to hidden gems like Kilkeel and Ardglass.
So we can be forgiven for getting ever so slightly carried away – maybe even a little bit smug on occasion.
Northern Ireland is #MadeforGolf* – although, based on recent performances, the golfing media should possibly be excluded from that particular description.
The stats don’t lie. In six editions of the annual ‘Writer Cup’ – the Ryder Cup style event pitching Northern Ireland journalists against Republic of Ireland journalists – the North has won just once, the first one – I played in it and it seems a lifetime ago.
Since then, it’s been something of a tale of woe for Northern Ireland.
We’ve played some wonderful courses over the years; Castlerock, Galgorm Castle, Kirkistown and Malone have all rolled out the red carpet for our Southern visitors but the welcome has not been matched by the golfing performance of the ‘home’ team.

The 2015 staging of the event hosted annually by Tourism NI was supposed to be different. Some young blood had been drafted in to add a bit of energy to the Northern Ireland side and the venues seemed tailor-made to finally end the pain.
Day one would be spent at Dungannon GC. Darren Clarke, the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain, spent his formative years at the Co Tyrone venue and if it was good enough for him….
Day two would find the eight man teams at Lough Erne Resort. The named venue for the 2017 Irish Open and coincidentally the site of the North’s only victory in the Writer Cup – surely it was a lucky omen.
Dungannon GC was founded in 1890 and is one of the original founder clubs of the Golfing Union of Ireland. The parkland course has been extended in recent years with some input from Darren Clarke.

The 9th at Dungannon GC

The 9th at Dungannon GC

Water hazards feature on three of the extended holes. The signature hole, the par three ninth is now called “Darren Clarke” which features a fairly narrow, ribbon-like crescent-shaped green which is completely protected from the tee by a pond. In 2009 six new greens, designed by international course architect Patrick Merrigan, opened on the back nine.
It’s no frills, honest golf and it clearly suited team Northern Ireland as did the fourball format. So much so that by the end of day one, Northern Ireland had grabbed a significant 3-1 lead.
As you might well guess, spirits were high amongst the leaders as the teams left Dungannon to travel to Enniskillen for an overnight stay at the luxurious Lough Erne Resort.

The 8th at Lough Erne

The 8th at Lough Erne

Designed by six-time major champion, Nick Faldo, the championship course at Lough Erne opened for play in 2009. Measuring 7,167 yards and playing to a par 72, the Faldo Course is an exciting challenge for golfers of all abilities
Situated between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, 14 of the holes have water in play, highlighted by the iconic 10th Hole, ‘Emerald Isle’ where the green is surrounded on three sides by water.
The luxury five-star resort also boasts a second 18-hole course – Castle Hume – and a state of the art practice range and academy. Guests can stay in one of the 120 luxury rooms and suites, make use of the Thai Spa and enjoy some innovative dining experiences.
With the fine dining, excellent hospitality and the superb facilities on site it seemed that everything was pointing towards a breakthrough win for Northern Ireland on day two but somehow the tables were turned in the Fermanagh sun.

It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong. Maybe it was nerves, or more likely the after effects of the late-night sing-song. Either way, the visitors produced a stunning singles fight back, bagging five and a half points from the eight on offer to retain the trophy for a fifth successive year.
As 2015 NI captain I shouldered much of the responsibility for defeat. On reflection, my pre-round pep-talk when I urged the squad to put ‘the water hazard down the right of the first fairway’ out of their minds probably wasn’t ideal. In the circumstances, I could hardly complain when my heartfelt resignation was met with a round of applause.

Lynn McCool working with team NI's Phil Finnegan

Lynn McCool trying to give team NI’s Phil Finnegan some tips

Personally, I blame Lough Erne’s Head professional Lynn McCool, who hosted a coaching clinic prior to tee off which clearly made all the difference to our ‘guests’ – they paid more attention than the home side who were too busy slashing away at the range balls to take in Lynn’s tips for success.
In the wake of this latest defeat, there has been calls for a task force to be set up and talk of a root and branch review of the selection policy.
One thing is certain, with so many things going right for golf in Northern Ireland, the journalists are letting the side down.
Something must be done to stop the rot in 2016.

*Tourism NI

For details on playing Lough Erne Resort or Dungannon GC follow the links

For more info on golf in Northern Ireland visit

The victorious 2015 ROI Team

The victorious 2015 ROI Team

Grab your chance to face off against the US at Lough Erne Resort

February 19, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

Ever dreamed of playing your part in a famous Ryder Cup victory over the United States?
Well now you can win a place on a 16-man Irish team to tackle the US this April at Lough Erne Resort.
The inaugural King’s Cup will take place at the spectacular Co Fermanagh venue from April 27th to 29th. Hosted by sports broadcaster Jim Kelly and captured by producer Jim Lepera, the event is set to be a brilliant showcase of golf in Fermanagh and Northern Ireland.
The three-day, 54-hole match play tournament structured similar to the Ryder Cup has been created by the United States Golf Challenge, the largest and best two man best-ball competition in the US.
The United States Team at the inaugural King’s Cup will be made up of the top team in each flight at the 2015 US Golf Challenge National Championships.
For your opportunity to be part of this exciting inaugural competition, there are two Irish qualifiers – the first at Lough Erne Resort on Saturday 5th March, and the second at Hilton Templepatrick on Saturday 12th March, entrants must be 18 years and over.
Lynn McCool, Director of Golf & Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort will captain the 2016 Irish team and has opened up eight spots to qualifiers.
With an entry fee of £40pp, the qualifiers will be determined using the single Stableford system, and there are qualifying spots at each of the two venues for the following handicaps categories : 2 spots x handicap 0 to 4.9, 1 spot x handicap 5 to 11.9, 1 x handicap 12 to 18,
To qualify for the Irish team all competitors must hold an official handicap and be available to play the matchplay event at Lough Erne Resort on April 27th to April 29th as well as being available to attend the Welcome Party on Tuesday 26th April and Prize Presentation Dinner on Friday 29th April.
With a practice round taking place on April 26th, team members will be dressed in Glenmuir clothing all the days, the first annual King’s Cup between the US and Ireland is an opportunity to represent Ireland while playing on one of the finest golf resorts in the country.

To book your spot contact:
Saturday March 5
Lough Erne Resort 
Tel: 028 66 345766 or ROI 048 66 345766

Saturday March 12
Hilton Templepatrick
Tel: 02894 435542


Doyle passes Faldo Series test at Lough Erne

April 30, 2015
Under 18  and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne's Lynn McCool

Under 18 and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne’s Lynn McCool

Sean Doyle of Athlone Golf Club exhibited a polished all-round game to win the Faldo Series Ireland Championship at Lough Erne by two shots. The 16-year-old shot two rounds of level par in testing conditions to claim the overall victory and a place at the nineteenth Faldo Series Grand Final.
Doyle showed maturity and composure beyond his years to close out victory on the renowned Faldo Course. His overall win was complemented with a comfortable victory of the Boys’ U18 category where he won by six shots over the two rounds. The manner of the win will have filled Doyle with confidence he can take into his first Grand Final appearance.
The Boys’ U21 category was a tighter affair; with Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) winning a playoff after Marc Nolan (Delgany) matched him across the two rounds with a 75 and a 71. Fletcher’s playoff win also takes him to his maiden Grand Final appearance.

Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) won the U21 section at Lough Erne

Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) won the U21 section at Lough Erne

There was a similar tale of fine margins in the Boy’s U16 category with Paddy Culhane (Galway) winning a playoff over A.J. McCabe (Malahide). McCabe shot an excellent 70 on the last day but couldn’t quite deny Culhane, whose round of 77 forced the playoff.
In the Girls’ section Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) was peerless as she claimed her spot in the season ending finale by winning the U21 category. Her advantage over her closest rival was a mighty seven shots. She will be joined at the Grand Final by Girls’ U16 winner Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo) who claimed her division by two shots.

Presentation - Maeve Rooney Under 16 Winner County Sligo Golf Club

Maeve Rooney (Co Sligo) winner of U16 category at Lough Erne

Leading final scores:
Boys’ Under-21: 146 – Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 75-71, Marc Nolan (Delgany) 75-71, 147 – Jonny Hewitt (Loughgall) 75-72.
Boys’ Under 18: 144 – Sean Doyle (Athlone) 72-72, 150 – Ben Graham (Scrabo) 76-74, Paul Murphy (Rosslare) 80-70, Jack Brophy (Clontarf) 75-75.
Boys’ Under 16: 152 – Paddy Culhane (Galway) 75-77, A.J. Mccabe (Malahide) 82-70, 153 – Patrick Somers (Grange) 74-79.
Girls’ Under 21: 156 – Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) 77-79, 163 – Florentina Hager (C&C GC Am Wienerberg) 83-80, 180 – Deborah Mccooke (Galgorm Castle) 95-85.
Girls’ Under 16: 169 – Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo) 90-79, 171 – Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 82-89, 172 – Valerie Hager (C&c GC Am Wienerberg) 83-89.

St Patrick’s Day Golf Challenge at Lough Erne to raise funds for cancer charity

March 3, 2015

Charity Fund Raiser at Lough Erne Resort - St Patricks Day
The Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh is launching a fundraising campaign to support Cancer Connect on St Patrick’s Day.
The main hotel building will be flooded with green light as the resort embraces Tourism Ireland’s #GoGreen4PatricksDay campaign and the 18th green will be the venue for a charity ‘night golf’ challenge.
“The 18th hole Challenge will kick start a series of fund-raising events called the 100k PROJECT,” said Lynn McCool, Lough Erne’s Director of Golf.
“The final goal for Cancer Connect NI is to raise 100k to purchase a house in Belfast whereby patients travelling for treatment will have access to a ‘home away from home’.”
The Night Golf Challenge – Nearest the Pin and Beat the Pro – will take place on the 18th hole using fluorescent golf balls. It costs £5 pounds per person to enter with all proceeds donated to the Fermanagh based charity Cancer Connect.
There are categories for Junior U10, U16, ladies, gents and even ‘non-golfers’ giving everyone an opportunity to win one of the fantastic prizes up for grabs. All proceeds raised from entry fees on the night will be donated to Cancer Connect. If you can’t attend in person, you can still donate and the resort will nominate someone – hopefully talented – to hit your shot!
“I’m very excited about the event and couldn’t believe how good the Night Golf equipment performed when we trialled it at the Resort. It will be a sea of green – green golf balls and the fairways, bunkers and tees will all be lit green for St Patricks Day,” added Lynn.
To enter the Night Golf Challenge call 02866 345 766 / ROI 048 66 345 766 or simply turn up on the day.
Alternatively make a donation by texting CCNI11 plus the amount you wish to donate to 70070 (UK Numbers) or visit
Come along for an evening that promises to be a fun filled event for all the family including traditional music in the clubhouse and a special St. Patrick’s Menu on offer in the Loughside Bar & Grill from 6-9pm. The golf challenge will get underway at approximately 7pm. For Loughside Bar & Grill or Catalina Restaurant bookings contact 028 6632 3230 as prior booking is advised.

Collins wins Faldo Series Ireland title at Lough Erne Resort

April 3, 2014
Ted Collins (left) with Lynn McCool, Director of Golf, Lough Erne Resort

Ted Collins (left) with Lynn McCool, Director of Golf, Lough Erne Resort

Ted Collins won the seventh Faldo Series Ireland Championship by four shots after rounds of 70 and 71 at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland.
Collins from Dun Laoghaire beat 154 competitors to the title, the largest ever field for the event at a venue named on Thursday as the venue for the 2017 Irish Open.
“This is my fifth Faldo Series and I have been so close a couple times before so it feels great to finally win,” said a delighted Collins.

“This was the perfect way to start my season and going to The Greenbrier in October and meeting Sir Nick will be a great way to end it.”

Collins will be joined at The 18th Faldo Series Grand Final by the Overall Girls’ winner Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down). Mehaffey, who finished runner-up in the Girls’ Division at last October’s Grand Final recently benefitted from playing in her first Ladies European Tour event, an invitation that was arranged by Faldo as a reward for her success.
Overnight leader John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) won the Boys’ Under-21 category after following his superb opening round of 68 on the Faldo Course with a 78. Peter Cummins (Lurgan) is also heading to The Greenbrier in October thanks to his victory in the Boys- Under-16 Division.
The final invitation to the World Amateur Golf Ranking event in West Virginia, USA went to Austria’s Isabella Holpfer. The 13-year-old finished runner-up to Mehaffey in the Girls’ Division, having led at the half way stage by two after a tremendous opening round of 70.
Supported by The R&A, ISPS Handa, The European Tour and The Greenbrier the 2014 Faldo Series Europe schedule features 17 tournaments in 15 countries including three in England plus others in Abu Dhabi, Ireland, Chile, Wales, Brazil, Scotland, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the USA.
Established in 1996, 40 Faldo Series tournaments now take place in 30 countries worldwide with more than 7,000 golfers participating each year. Past winners include Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.
In September 2014, Faldo will begin taking students at a full-time residential academy for education and golf development in America. The first ever Faldo Series Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona marks another significant step in the programme’s history.

Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 146 – John-Ross Galbraith (NIR) 68-78; 148 – Marc Nolan (IRL) 73-75, Jordan Hood (NIR). Boys’ Under-18: 141 – Ted Collins (IRL) 70-71; 145 – Ryan Long (NIR) 70-75; 147 – Shane McDermott (IRL) 70-77. Boys’ Under-16: 149 – Peter Cummins (NIR) 76-73, Owen Crooks (NIR) 75-74; 152 – Alan Fahy (IRL) 78-74. Girls’ Under-21: 146 – Olivia Mehaffey (NIR) 72-74; 149 – Isabella Holpfer (AUT) 70-79; 157 – Ciara Casey (IRL) 76-81.

All I want for Christmas is a hole-in-one in 2014

December 23, 2013
Australian Andrew scored a hole in one on the 7th and 11th holes during the second round of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm

Australian Andrew scored a hole in one on the 7th and 11th holes during the second round of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions but, in a break with tradition, I’ve declared 2014 the year that I finally record a long overdue hole-in-one.
And just to set the record straight, this hasn’t in any way been prompted by the news that Castledawson golfer, Hugh Glackin, 61 got a lovely Boss watch following his ace at the 128-yard, par-three 17th at Moyola Park. The 11-handicapper was rewarded with membership of the exclusive BOSS Watches H1 Club and a specially-commissioned, commemorative timepiece.
I could have gone for one of those standard boring resolutions like getting fit, eating better or being nicer to my colleagues but I know there is no chance of me even getting beyond the end of January with those pipe dreams so instead, I’ve gone for something that I might actually care about.
You see I’ve never even been close to a hole-in-one which, given that I have been playing golf regularly for over 15 years seems more than a bit unfair.
I have witnessed three aces, the most memorable of which occurred during an Ulster Fourball match at my home course of Co Armagh but unfortunately, it didn’t involve either myself or my playing partner. 
Believe me, it’s very hard to say ‘great shot’ and really mean it as you walk to the 12th tee one down.

I haven’t just randomly picked 2014 out of the air. I’m clinging to some flimsy statistical evidence that I will finally break my duck next year. According to figures published by American golf bible, Golf Digest, the chances of a professional golfer holing out is 1-2500, for a low handicap player it’s 1-5000 and for the average amateur [in my case very average] the chances of getting a hole-in-one is 1-12,500.
Given the number of rounds of golf I play in a year, multiplied by the average number of par threes on a course – four – I estimate that over a year I will play around 5200 par threes.
Looking at it negatively, that means I have already passed up an awful lot of chances but, on the plus side, it also means that over the last 10 years I have played upwards of 52,000 par threes and therefore, the odds – statistically speaking – must now be moving in my favour.
Armed with this new information I have sought some ‘expert’ opinion on how I can further improve my chances of making the breakthrough in 2014.

Johnny Foster (Coach)
“I have only had one hole in one. It was at Rathsallagh GC on the 13th during the Irish Club Professionals Championship back in 2008. I hit an eight iron, it pitched above the hole and rolled in from about four feet.
“I’d probably been playing golf for 21 years at that stage and had never really been close while my dad had something like five or six!
“There are a number of things that can help influence the chances of getting a hole-in-one. Firstly, playing a course that you are familiar with should improve your chances. You will know how the greens slope and what clubs you normally hit.
“You also need to know how to judge the effects of any wind and how far you hit each club.
“The other thing that can’t be ruled out is the importance of good clean living because fortune definitely plays a huge part in it.”

Gareth Shaw (Challenge Tour player)
“I’ve had five hole in ones, but only one in competition. It was at the Eisenhower Trophy when I was still an amateur back in 2008 and there’s a clip of if on YouTube. I think I hit a six iron but I can’t really be certain.
“I don’t always go straight at the pin when playing a par three. A lot will depend on the circumstances. Is it very windy? Where is the pin? How I’m feeling? Am I feeling confident?”

Reeve Whitson (Irish amateur international)
“I have only had one and that was at the seventh at Royal County Down in early December last year.
“I hit a nine iron, the pin was back right and I didn’t even see it go in. There was a green keeper on top of the hill and he put his hands in the air.
“I tend to go right at the flag regardless of the par three and the flag position. The key is distance control, getting the right club in your hand before you hit the shot. And there is an awful lot of luck involved. I have done everything but hole out. I have hit the flag and lipped out. I’ve even bounced in the hole and come out again.”

Lynn McCool (Head Professional, Lough Erne Resort)
“I have had three aces but none in competition. They all came at corporate events were amateurs line up at a short hole to ‘beat the pro’ by getting closer to the pin.
“One sticks in my mind. I was working at the Hilton Templepatrick with Eamonn Logue. It was the CostCutter Golf outing back in around 2002 and the UK head of Redbull was playing.
“He arrived at reception and wanted to see the hole sponsored by Redbull. As I was heading out to relieve Eamonn at the ‘beat the pro’ hole I took him out to the par three 11th.
“We got out there and the RedBull girls were there with the plenty of the product. I hopped out of the buggy, grabbed a can of RedBull – took a big swig and and said, ‘Lord give me wings, give me a hole in one’. I then stood up and holed out with a four iron!
“I have had two aces at the 11th at the Hilton. Its not an easy hole but we used to do the ‘beat the pro’ at that hole all the time. It’s pure luck, I have seen some of the ugliest shots bounce off trees or rakes and finish very close to the hole.”