Posts Tagged ‘North of Ireland Amateur Championship’

North of Ireland competitors to test Open lay-out at Royal Portrush

June 1, 2017

Stephen Ferris, Brand Ambassador Cathedral Eye with Andrew Spence Cathedral Eye, Eamon O’Connor Chair GUI Ulster Branch and  John Bamber, Chair of the Open Championship Committee launching the Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 
Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

Fancy a taste of the Open Championship?
The revamped Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush will host this year’s Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship (July 10-14) and the GUI is still accepting entries.
The famous North Coast links has been upgraded ahead of the Open Championship in 2019 and club officials are keen to see how the new lay-out performs in Championship conditions.
The new seventh named Curran Point and eighth hole named Dunluce will be put into play and competitors will finish their rounds at the current 16th hole
“We have no evidence how the new seventh and eighth holes will play other than what professional architects have told us will happen,” said John Bamber, Chairman of the Open Championship Committee.

“The North of Ireland gives us the opportunity to get 300 top class golfers out there giving us data which will allow us to decide how we play those holes in the coming months.

“It is the perfect opportunity, a field of category one golfers, championship golfers, playing the course. What better way to assess the two new holes. I just hope we get relatively fair links conditions during the tournament.”
The new holes, designed by MacKenzie & Ebert, will actually open for play on June 24th to host Mr David McMullan’s Captain’s Day competition. For the members, it will be the first time they get to sample the course as it will be configured for the Open Championship.
“In many ways it is an historic occasion,” added Bamber.
“The last time two new holes were added to the Dunluce, people like Harry Colt were involved.
“I know that in previous years we have revamped a number of tee boxes but this is completely new. It really is something very special.”
The current 17th and 18th holes will be removed from play towards the end of the summer as work continues to create the infrastructure to host the Open Championship.
The closing date for entries into the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship is June 12. For more details visit


Galbraith last man standing after battle for survival at Royal Portrush

July 18, 2015
Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic, presents the trophy to Whitehead's John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015

Andrew Spence, Principal Optometrist at Cathedral Eye Clinic, presents the trophy to Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith, winner of the North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 2015

Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith edged out Rosslare’s Gary Collins on the 20th hole to win the Cathedral Eye sponsored North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush on Friday.
Played in demanding conditions with winds gusting to almost 50mph, Galbraith trailed by two at the 12th but clawed his way back into contention and actually lead by one playing the 18th only to lose out to a par from Collins.
The duo went down the 19th and Collins had a short par putt to win but the ball somehow stayed above ground and Galbraith, the reigning Irish Close Champion, finally closed the match out with a birdie on the 20th – the only one made by either player in the final.
“It’s the same every time in tournaments here. They send you out in horrific conditions. If it was a pro event you wouldn’t be near the course. You’re thinking to yourself, ‘what are we doing out here?,” said Galbraith who saw his ball and his opponent’s ball blown off the green at the fifth.
Ulster branch officials made the decision to water the greens as the final progressed, a move that went a long way to getting the tournament completed. A number of rain showers also helped to slow the greens down, preventing the balls from blowing around.
“The long game was tough, but it was playable. On the greens it was so difficult. Trying to get putts on-line was practically impossible,” added Galbraith.
“The watering stopped the balls oscillating which made a difference but it was still difficult keeping your balance over your putts. It really got to me, I felt like going crazy on the some of the greens but I reminded myself that he [Collins] was in the same boat as myself and I dug deep to try and grind it out.
“When I went two down at the 12th I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to hole anything in this wind’!

“I was relying on Gary gifting me a hole or I was going to have to hit an approach really close. I just kept telling myself to hang in and something will happen and it did. I played pretty steady over those closing holes.

“I’m delighted to win it, it’s such a big tournament, especially for players from Northern Ireland. This is one trophy I always wanted to win.”
Earlier in the day Galbraith had seen off Lurgan’s David Sutton but only after an almighty fright. Sutton was out of the blocks early and was four up after five holes before Galbraith finally shock himself awake with a birdie at the sixth. Seemingly inspired he won the next three holes to turn for home all square.
Sutton won the 10th but JR fought back again rolling in a birdie putt at the 11th. The 12th and 13th were halved before the match turned in Galbraith’s favour at ‘Calamity’ when he fired in a brilliant three wood to 10 feet for another birdie. A par at the 15th put him two up and he halved the 16th and 17th to wrap up a 2&1 victory.
Collins beat Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty on the 20th in the second semi-final, fighting back from two down with two to play to prevail courtesy of a birdie.

Sutton strikes blow for working amateurs at North of Ireland Championship

July 17, 2015

Royal Portrush GC

Lurgan’s David Sutton struck a blow for the working amateur by reaching the semi-finals of the Cathedral Eye sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush yesterday.
The 34-year-old father of two held off 19-year-old Rowan Lester (The Hermitage) to set up an all-Ulster meeting with reigning Irish Close Champion, John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead).
In weather conditions that worsened throughout the day, Sutton’s experience and relaxed approach helped him stem an early onslaught before gradually working his way back into the tie.
“I played good in the rain. Sometimes I don’t play so well in the rain but I managed to hole a couple of decent putts. I knew I had to, he was doing nothing wrong, he is a class wee player,” said Sutton, an export sales manager for local golf firm MD Golf.
The Lockerbie native, a North of Ireland semi-finalist in 2011, was two down after six but won the seventh and ninth in regulation pars to turn for home all square.
Lester, beaten in the final of the British Boys Amateur last year, responded immediately with birdies at the 10th and 11th but once again Sutton showed no signs of panic.
He clawed another hole back at the 12th, lost the 13th but birdied the 14th and 15th to level matters with three holes remaining.
The 16th and 17th were halved in par and then, with both players in trouble off the tee, Sutton somehow managed to salvage a par to win the tie, rolling in a par putt from 15 feet on the last.
A former Scottish international, Sutton’s work and family commitments keep his championship appearances to a minimum these days. The North of Ireland tournament doubles as a family holiday and he admits it is a hard balancing act.
“I love coming up to the ‘North’ because if the golf doesn’t work out it is a great wee holiday. My mum and dad are here. My Dad – Brian – always caddies for me as well,” said David.

“We have been very busy in work this last few months and then when you get home you spend time with the kids so I don’t get to practise or play that much.”

On a day which saw a number of the favourites lose out, amongst them Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Faithlegg) and Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Sutton had earlier edged out leading qualifier Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) in the last 16 by a single shot.
Galbraith also found things more taxing yesterday and was forced to dig deep to see off Knock’s Colin Fairweather in the last 16. One down through 16, John Ross, chipped in for eagle at the par five 17 and then birdied the 18th to eventually edge home by a single hole.
His quarter-final against Ronan Mullarney (Galway) was nip and tuck over the opening nines holes before he took charge around the turn, eagling the 10th to go one up and chipping in at the 11th to extend that lead.
Mullarney dragged one back on the 12th, the 13th was halved in pars before Galbraith bagged a two at the 14th firing a four iron in 10 feet. The 15th was halved in par fours and then Mullarney found trouble at the 16th and eventually conceded the hole.
Today’s second semi-final pitts Gary Collins (Rosslare) against Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) who claimed the biggest scalp of his career in beating McElroy by one hole in the last eight.
“I was two down after five. I had been hitting it well all week and then I started off by hitting it sideways!” said the 22-year-old.
“I’m delighted to get as far as I did. To take out Dermy, he wasn’t at his best, neither of us played great but I just dug in a bit better. To take out someone like that is big, sure I’m a nobody.”

North of Ireland Amateur Championship
Sponsored by Cathedral Eye Clinic
At Royal Portrush
JR Galbraith v D Sutton
G Collins v C Rafferty
Final – 12.30pm

Round Three
S Coulter lost to R Dawson 19th; G Collins bt C Campbell 2&1; C Rafferty bt F Mason 5&3; D McElroy bt W Hanna 3&2; JR Galbraith bt C Fairweather 1hole; R Mullarney bt P McBride 19th; D Sutton bt G Lenehan 1hole; R Lester bt D Holland 3&2
G Collins bt Dawson 3&2; C Rafferty bt D McElroy 1hole; JR Galbraith bt R Mullarney 3&2; D Sutton by R Lester 1hole

Few shocks in early rounds of match-play at North of Ireland Amateur Championship

July 15, 2015
Colm Campbell Pic by Pat Cashman

Colm Campbell
Pic by Pat Cashman

The leading contenders moved smoothly through the opening rounds of the match-play stages at the Cathedral Eye sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush on Wednesday.
Ulster hopefuls Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) and John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) encountered few problems enroute to the last 16.
Campbell got the chance to put his feet up early by racking up two 6&5 victories – beating Colin Woodroofe (Blainroe) in the morning and Jonathan Breen (Kirkistown) in the afternoon.
“It was two good rounds,” said the 28-year-old who will face Gary Collins (Rosslare) on Thursday morning.
“I gave myself a lot of chances and didn’t put myself in any major trouble which is the big thing out there; don’t make it hard for yourself.”
Reigning Irish Close champion Galbraith was also content with a solid performance as he saw off Lester Moore (City of Derry) in the morning and Ryan Gribben (Warrenpoint) in the afternoon.
“I didn’t play great in qualifying, I did just did enough to get through but I played really well today,” said John Ross.

“I had eight birdies in 14 holes this morning and was steady this afternoon with four birdies. I feel like each round I can get better and better.”

Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy showed no signs of tiredness after returning from Ireland duty in Sweden on Sunday. The West of Ireland Champion was handed a bye into the match-play stages and made quick work of Alastair McQuillan (Cushendall) and Rory Williamson (Holywood).
The 22-year-old who struggled a bit off the tee, will face fellow Ulster representative, William Hanna (Kilkeel) this morning. Leading qualifier Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) continued to play ‘uncomplicated’ golf and will face Lurgan’s David Sutton in the last 16 this morning, however Richard Bridges (Stackstown), a semi-finalist last year, was beaten by Daniel Holland (Castle) 3&2.

Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush
Round Three
Stephen Coulter v Robin Dawson; Gary Collins v Colm Campbell; Caolan Rafferty v Finlay Mason; William Hanna v Dermot McElroy; John-Ross Galbraith v Colin Fairweather; paul McBride v Ronan Mullarney; Geoff Lenehan v David Sutton; Daniel Holland v Rowan Lester
Matchplay D1 Results:
Round One:S Coulter (Warrenpoint) bt A Mulholland (Castlerock) 7&6; M McClean (Balmoral) bt J Owens (Bangor) 2&1; A Clegg (Donaghadee) bt N Crawford (Mourne) 2&1; R Dawson (Faithlegg) bt D Jackson (Massereene) 4&3; G Lappin (Belvoir Pk) bt T Harris (Castletown) at 19th; G Collins (Rosslare) bt C Wilton (Banbridge) 2 holes; J Breen (Kirkistown Castle) bt S Carter (Royal Dublin) 6&5; K Egan (Carton House) bt G Arthur (Carrickfergus) 1 hole; C Rafferty (Dundalk) bt C Doran (Banbridge) at 19th; F Mason (Moor Hall) bt W Russell (Clandeboye) 2 holes; E Griffin (Waterford) bt S Bleakley 4&3; W Hanna (Kilkeel) bt B Cashman (Belvoir Pk) 3&1; I Moore (Dunmurry) bt S Magee (Lurgan) 1 hole; A McQuillan (Cushendall) bt M Mullen (Rosslare) 4&2; D McElroy (Ballymena) bt R Williamson (Holywood) 7&5; JR Galbraith (Whitehead) bt L Moore (City of Derry) 6&4; R Gribben (Warrenpoint) bt O Crooks (Bushfoot) 3&2; C Fairweather (Knock) bt A Morris (Belvoir Pk) 4&2; J Yates (Naas) bt M McKinstry (Cairndhu) at 20th; P McBride (The Island) bt J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 7&6; J Corke (Castletown) bt R Pierse (Grange) 3&1; R Mullarney (Galway) bt K McCarron (North West) 4&3; G Lernehan (Portmarnock) bt E Smith (Ardee) 5&4; C Melvin (Corrstown) bt S McConnell (Ballyclare) 1 hole; F Kennedy (The Island) bt A Doran (Ardee) at 19th; D Sutton (Lurgan) bt N Simpson (Kirkistown Castle) 1 hole; R Bridges (Stackstown) bt R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 2 holes; D Holland (Castle) bt R Dutton (Tandragee) 1 hole; R Lester (Hermitage) bt R Long (Cairndhu) 1 hole; T Coffey (Slieve Russell) bt J Sunderland (Galgorm Castle) 2&1.
Round Two: Coulter bt McClean 2 holes; Dawson bt Clegg 2 holes; Collins bt Lappin 3&1; Campbell bt Breen 6&5; Rafferty bt Egan 1 hole; Mason bt Griffin at 19th; Hanna bt Moore 5&3; McElroy bt McQuillan 3&2; Galbraith bt Gribben 5&3; Fairweather bt Yates at 19th; McBride bt Corke 2&1; Mullarney bt Hopkins 2&1; Lenehan bt Melvin 3&2; Sutton bt Kennedy 3&2; Holland bt Bridges 3&2; Lester bt Coffey 1 hole.

Shaw seeking late season momentum at Galgorm Castle

August 27, 2014

It’s been a frustrating 12 months for Gareth Shaw but he’s hoping that a return to familiar territory at Galgorm Castle will provide some much needed momentum heading into the final weeks of the season.
The Lurgan golfer, who twice won the North of Ireland Amateur Championship, is still chasing a maiden Challenge Tour title, having graduated from the Alps Tour in 2012 for a second spell on Europe’s second tier.
After a difficult summer however, the 28 year old has made five cuts in a row, including a tied eighth finish at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge last month, and is feeling like he is nearly back to his best.
“I had a very poor run of form three or four months ago, missed five cuts in a row, including the Irish Open which was very disappointing but since then I’ve actually started to play a lot better,” said Gareth who finished tied for 57th at last year’s event.
“I am starting to see better signs again and I’m looking forward to the golf I have left even though potentially I have only four more events left this year on the Challenge Tour.
“I played Galgorm on Friday and things felt solid. I am starting to see myself competing at least, shooting some decent numbers.
“I’m much happier with what is going on because it’s a lot different from last last year. I remember going up for a practice round and playing rubbish, really poorly but I had a decent start to the tournament, shooting a 68.

“This time around I am playing better, I’m more confident, so hopefully I can get off to another good start and press on this time.”

Gareth has recently started working with a German based Australian coach, Craig Hanson, and feels that things are ‘going in the right direction’ again.
“I played with an Australian called Terry Pilkadaris at the Scottish Hydro event at Macdonald Spey Valley,” added Gareth.
“It’s a demanding course off the tee but Terry had total ball control. It was the best I had seen in years in terms of control. I was struggling, missing it both ways and had no control in the wind.
“He advised me to go and see Craig and I’m glad I did, I was kind of lost at the time.
“The swing is only a small part of it, I also feel that I’m working harder away from the course in the gym and also at the other parts of my game, especially my putting.
“During that good run I had last year at the Irish Open and French Open I putted phenomenally well. This year I have not just been as strong in that department. I haven’t been knocking in those seven/eight footers for par that keep the momentum going.
“I’ve just got to try and stay patient but it has been pretty hard because I have been playing well of late but not kicking on over the weekend. It’s so close to coming together, that’s probably why it’s so frustrating.”

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