Posts Tagged ‘Moyola Park’

Ciara Casey claims Ulster Women’s Championship

May 31, 2017

(l-r) Ray Gregg, Hon Sect, Ulster District ILGU; Ciara Casey (The Hermitage) and Dr Joan Millar, Chair, Ulster District ILGU

Ciara Casey (The Hermitage) was crowned Ulster Women’s Champion at Moyola Park on Tuesday beating Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 2&1 in the final.
Casey, a member of the ILGU’s High Performance panel, who won the Leinster Girls’ Championship in 2015 was made to battle hard by Forbes.
The pair were locked together after nine holes and Casey found herself one down after 12 but she finished strongly, winning the 15th, 16th and 17th to grab her first senior title.
“I’m absolutely delighted, it was a great week at Moyola Park,” said the 19-year-old who will take up a golf scholarship at Maynooth University in September.

“There was some really good golf played in the final. I was approximately one under through those opening nine holes. Emma played well but I just sort of hung in there towards the end and kept making important pars.”

The Junior Championship was won by Temple’s Dawn Scarborough who beat home favourite, Mary O’Kane 4&3 in the final.
“I was slightly surprised to be honest, especially after watching Mary hole a putt of around 40 feet on the first,” said Dawn, a 12 handicapper.
“I have played in the Ulster Championship for a number of years and it does prove that once you make it through the stroke play qualifying anything can happen in the match-play stages.”
Massereene’s Lucy Simpson, who topped the stroke play qualifying rounds with a total of 152, one shot ahead of Casey, was forced to withdraw from the match-play rounds following a family illness.

Ulster Women’s Championship results


Unbeaten interprovincial series lifts Galbraith confidence ahead of North of Ireland bid

July 12, 2015
John Ross Galbraith pictured during the recent Interprovincial Championship at Rosapenna  Pic Pat Cashman

John Ross Galbraith pictured during the recent Interprovincial Championship at Rosapenna
Pic Pat Cashman

An unbeaten run in the Interprovincial Championship has given John Ross Galbraith a huge shot in the arm ahead of this week’s North of Ireland Amateur Championship sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic.
While Ulster struggled as team, eventually finishing third behind winners Leinster, the reigning Irish Close champion ended the tournament with 5½ points out of six.
“It certainly helps with the confidence,” said the 21-year-old Whitehead golfer.
“I felt that I was playing well going into the week. Hopefully if I make it through qualifying I will be hard to beat in the matchplay.”
Galbraith is still a relative novice in terms of North of Ireland appearances – this will only be his fourth championship – but he is a regular at the north coast venue playing social golf.
“I love the place and I get up to play there quite a bit, just for a day out,” he said.
“It’s one of my favourite courses but it’s even better when you are playing it in a Championship.

“I usually play decently enough but I’ve only played three times and made it through qualifying twice. Even then, the furthest I got in the match-play was the second round.”

Galbraith’s win in the Close last year lifted his profile and also raised the expectation levels. As part of the Irish panel he spent a good part of the early season playing around the world in the likes of Spain and Argentina but he was struggling with his game.
“I was trying different things with my swing but couldn’t get it to click,” added John-Ross.
“I had a bad Lytham Trophy, but after that I found a wee thing and I have been playing really solidly since then.
“I’m still looking for that first win of the season but I still have a few events left and the Irish Close Championship title to defend later in the year.”
The 300 strong North of Ireland field will play two rounds of qualifying today and tomorrow over the Dunluce and Valley courses. The leading 62 players will progress to the match-play rounds where they will be joined by Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) and Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) who have received a bye into that stage of the event.
Last year’s champion, Chris Selfridge will not be back to defend his title, having turned professional but the 2014 beaten finalist Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) is back hoping to go one step further this time around.

North of Ireland Championship draw –

Selfridge settling in to life on tour

July 7, 2015
Mr Tayto and European Challenge Tour player Chris Selfridge at the recent NI Open Sponsors’ Day at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena

Mr Tayto and European Challenge Tour player Chris Selfridge at the recent NI Open Sponsors’ Day at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena

The Northern Ireland Open, in association with SPHERE Global and Ulster Bank, got a whole lot tastier after the province’s iconic brand Tayto signed up once more as a Main Sponsor to next month’s European Challenge Tour event at Galgorm Castle from August 6-9.
Tayto has a longstanding relationship with Galgorm Castle and the many standout professional events staged at the championship Ballymena venue over the years.
We are delighted to be supporting the Northern Ireland Open again in 2015,” said Robert Brown, Tayto Group PR Manager.
“We know the event will be even bigger and better this year and look forward to being part of it.
With so much to see and do, not only on the golf course but away from the fairways, the Northern Ireland Open promises to be another celebration of Irish golf and fun for all the family.
Be sure to come and visit Mr Tayto during the event!”
Another local favourite is Chris Selfridge, who is also enjoying the taste of success in the early stages of his fledgling professional career. The Castledawson golfer joined the paid ranks in May and has already notched up three top-20 finishes in four starts on the Challenge Tour, including tied-10th in Scotland last week.
The 23-year-old, who graduated from the University of Toledo in the United States earlier in the year, has shot out of the blocks and is currently taking life on tour in his stride.
I feel very comfortable out here (on tour) and obviously things have started very well for me,” said a relaxed Selfridge on the eve of last week’s event in Germany.

“There are worse things I could be doing. I’m lucky to be playing golf for a living and so far things are going well.”

Selfridge is under no illusions the challenges that lie ahead and the importance of the NI Open in helping to launch his playing career.
Without the Northern Ireland Open I wouldn’t have invites and without invites I wouldn’t have turned pro, not right now at least. This tournament on home soil gave me opportunities to put a schedule together,” said the former two-time North of Ireland champion, who received eight starts this season and picked up another following his recent top-10 at the Scottish Hydro Challenge.
If it wasn’t for the NI Open and Blackstar, my new management company, I would still be amateur right now. This tournament also gives other aspiring young local players the chance to compete and test themselves against some of the best players in Europe.”

Copy courtesy – Paul Gallagher

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.

Experience counts as Selfridge retains North of Ireland Amateur Championship title

July 19, 2014
selfridge at north_edited

Chris Selfridge drives off the first in the final of the 2014 Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship

Chris Selfridge was forced to call on all his Championship experience to hold off Robin Dawson in the final of the Cathedral Eye Clinic sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush.
The Moyola golfer joined an elite band of champions in retaining the title at the North Coast with a display that owed more to guts and determination than stellar play.
“I felt under pressure today and it felt like I played some of my worst golf in the final,” said the 22-year-old from Castledawson.
“I got the ball in the hole and and I got over the line but the golf wasn’t flowing as in previous rounds.”
Selfridge, who beat David Mulholland (Castlerock) 3&2 in the morning semi-final got off to a great start in the final when Dawson (Faithlegg) handed him the first by almost putting off the green.
However, the 18-year-old, who saw off Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 2&1 in the last four, steadied himself and won the fourth and fifth to take a one-up lead.
Selfridge won the sixth, seventh and eighth to go two ahead but then proceeded to lose the 10th, 12th and 13th to go one behind again. A poor chip from Dawson at 14 left the pair level again and they then halved the 15th in birdie three and the 16th in par fours.
The match turned Selfridge’s way on the 17th when his opponent went for the green in two and saw his five iron approach fly the putting surface. The ball finished in a hedge behind the green and he was forced to take relief under penalty.
Selfridge, who laid up after a poor drive, found the green with his third and coaxed in an eight foot par putt to take a decisive one up lead down the 18th.
The defending champion hit a nervous drive which found trouble and he could only hack out leaving Dawson with a chance to find the green in two, but his approach finished in the green side bunker and his recovery left him with 15 feet for par.
Selfridge played his third to the green and missed his 18 foot putt for par leaving the way clear for Dawson to take the tie down the 19th but the teenager’s putt was too firm and failed to drop after hitting the hole.
“That is the hardest match I have ever had in the North and it was the first time I was behind all week,” said a relieved Selfridge who has now won two North of Ireland titles and the 2012 Irish Close title at Royal Portrush.

“I love this place, I have so much confidence here. It’s a relief to get another win. Looking back, I am a far better player now than when I won the Close and East in 2012.

“I am doing the right things regarding nutrition and fitness and have a good team working with me in Fergie Wallace, Johnny Foster, Tony Mulholland and Robbie Cannon.
“I was confident in my ability today but I was relying on the experience of winning the other three titles to get me home and I have to say coming up 18 I was nervous.
“Robin was unlucky at 17 when his ball flew the green but I knew I had to take my chance.
“When it was my turn to putt, I walked away, had a drink of water, waited a minute and settled myself before lining it up and holing it.

Robin Dawson

Robin Dawson

Dawson was naturally ‘gutted’ to lose out and shocked at just how far his five-iron approach flew out of the rough at the 17th.
“With Chris forced to lay up after his drive I felt it was the right time to take it on and go for the green but I never expected the ball to go that far,” said the former Irish Boys Open champion.
“It was downwind but I even measured it out to the back of the green. It was 275, I usually hit my five iron 190. I suppose, overall it’s been a positive week and it certainly helps with world ranking points etc.”
The finalists will represent their respective  provinces this week in the inter-provincials at The Island and could well force themselves into contention for Ireland’s Home International team.
Selfridge will compete in the Euro Individual Amateur Championship and has also pencilled in a trip to Lahinch to play in the South of Ireland Championship at the end of July.
“I’m going to give it a lash, I have only played there once, around four years ago and I would love to get another win,” he added.

North of Ireland Amateur Championship
Sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic
David Mulholland (Castlerock) lost to Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park) 3&2
Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) bt Richard Bridges (Stackstown) 2&1
Chris Selfridge bt Robin Dawson 1 hole

Selfridge skips Close to focus on British Amateur Championship

June 4, 2014

An unfortunate clash with the St Andrews Links Trophy has seriously impacted on the Irish Close Championship field which gets under way at Seapoint GC on Saturday June 7.
The 2013 Close Champion, Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass), will be in Scotland alongside a host of star names including Reeve Whitson (Mourne), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena) and 2012 North of Ireland winner, Rory McNamara (Headfort).
The recent East of Ireland winner, Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) will be in attendance but the 2012 Close champion, Chris Selfridge (Moyola Park), has opted out of the tournament fearing ‘burn-out’ ahead of the British Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush & Portstewart, June 16-21.
“I’ve decided to take a week off from competitive golf and spend the time practising at Royal Portrush and Portstewart,” said Chris, who finished tied for 12th behind Campbell at Co Louth.

“By the time the European Amateur and Home Internationals came around last year I was burnt out and that’s happened three years in a row. I want to be ready this time.

“The British Amateur is the main priority and I have a good track record there (Chris won the Close title in 2012 and the North of Ireland title in 2013 at Royal Portrush). I wasn’t interested in playing the Irish Open at Fota Island, this is my main focus.
“One of the other reasons for missing the Close is that I’m representing Ireland in the World University Championships in Switzerland (June 21-June 28). We fly out the day the British Amateur ends. That would be an awful lot of golf.”
A student at the University of Toledo in America, Chris had just three days links practice ahead of the East of Ireland and admitted that it was taking time for him to adjust to that particular style of golf.
“Obviously in America the game is played through the air. You need different types of shots around the greens so I will be working hard on that in practice,” he added.
“More than that I tend to play golf by picking specific targets in the background and that can sometimes be hard to do on a links course. There are no trees in the distance, so you really have to pick a target and commit to the shot.”

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.” 

Selfridge relieved to end frustrating period with North of Ireland success

July 13, 2013

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CHRIS Selfridge (Moyola Park) ended 10 months of frustration by winning the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush today.
The tournament, disrupted by two stoppages earlier in the week for mist and fog, finally came to a conclusion with Selfridge beating Gary Hurley (West Waterford/Maynooth).
The final, which started at 7am to accommodate the members playing their weekend competition, produced some high quality golf with Selfridge fighting back after a slow start to wrap up an important victory on the 17th.
“I’m delighted and relieved. I really, really wanted to win,” said the 21-year-old from Castledawson.
“I knew I was playing good enough. It was all abut getting over that final hurdle.
“I won the Irish Close [also at Royal Portrush] and the East of Ireland Championship last year, then I won a US college tournament in October but I’ve won nothing since then.
“That’s too long without a win. I have been playing consistently and had a lot of top 10s.
“The game has been good; it was just been about putting everything together.”
Selfridge almost withdrew from the tournament because of illness on Sunday evening but managed to play two rounds of qualifying on Monday and Tuesday and only just scraped into the match-play rounds.
“I really wanted to play in this event. My coach, Johnny Foster, wanted me to play even if I was sick,” added Chris.

“His friend Michael Hoey won the British Amateur title years ago when he was sick and Johnny had told me he had a really good feeling that I could do well at the north this year.

“The stoppages in play because of the fog actually turned out to be good for me as I got over being sick. I didn’t have to play 36 holes and got a bit more rest. It turned out to be a blessing. It’s amazing how sometimes it just all works out.”
Hurley, who finished two shots behind Selfridge at the Irish Close last year, made the better start today, going one up at the first when Chris could only manage a bogey five.
However, Chris levelled the tie on the fourth by rolling in a birdie putt of 20 feet and he grabbed the lead for the first time at the par five ninth but gave his advantage away immediately when Hurley birdied the 10th to level matters again.
Chris went ahead once again on the 12th when he holed another birdie putt from distance and he took a decisive step towards winning the title by doubling his lead on the 15th. When the 16th was halved in par and the 17th in birdie fours, Selfridge was crowned champion.
Chris continued; “I did feel a bit under pressure but I had faith in my ability so I was just telling myself to stay patient.
“I made a great birdie at the fourth, which is a very tough hole, to get it back to all square. Gary got off to a good start but I hung in there and made a few birdies when I needed to and managed to come good in the end.”

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.

Shaw to get Challenge Tour season underway in India

January 25, 2013

PLAYING on frozen greens at Moyola Park GC is hardly ideal preparation for your first tournament of the year, but Gareth Shaw is still hopeful of producing a decent performance when he gets his Challenge Tour campaign underway in India next week.
The 27-year-old will make his season bow at The Gujarat Kensville Challenge which is being played at Kensville G&CC in Ahmedabad (Jan 31-Feb3).
“I’ve never played in India before, so it will be a new experience for me,” said Gareth.
“Obviously it’s been tough to practice, but I’ve been active and I’m happy with what I have done.
“My touch might be a off a bit. It’s been difficult to work on my short game. That’s an area that tends to stay sharp through playing competitively but overall I’d be content with the state of my game and reasonably confident.”
Winner of the Alps Tour last year, the first man from Northern Ireland to do so, Shaw has been making steady progress since his first taste of Challenge Tour action in 2009.
Back then, Gareth, who turned professional in 2008 after a stellar amateur career, started the campaign brightly but his performances tailed off and he eventually finished down in 105th in the ranking.
Playing on the Alps Tour forced the 27-year-old to reassess his goals and a renewed commitment paid off handsomely last year. Under the tutelage of coach Jonny Foster and performance expert Fergus Wallace, Gareth has rebuild his game and his confidence.
He heads to India with realistic expectations but knows that a couple of decent finishes would go a long way towards easing his progress during the rest of 2013. The Challenge Tour, which has expanded to take in events in the Ukraine, Oman and Kazakhstan, is expensive to compete on.
“For India it was £200 for a visa, £700 for a flight and £100 a night for the hotel before you have even hit a shot,” added Gareth.
“With my category, I won’t be able to play in all the events so I have to grab every opportunity that comes my way. I would love to try and hit the ground running but it is difficult at this time of the year.”
Gareth’s plan is to play next week followed by the Barclays Kenya Open Feb14-Feb17, a tournament he’s familiar with from his last Challenge Tour season in 2009. Then there is a break in the schedule before the Madrid Challenge in late April.