Posts Tagged ‘PGA in Ireland’

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

November 26, 2017

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

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

2017 International Team Championship leaderboard


McGeady finishes PGA season on a high with victory in Connemara

September 29, 2017

Michael McGeady closed out the PGA in Ireland competition season in style with victory in the Connemara Pro-Am.
The 39-year-old fired a six under par 66 at Connemara GC to win by two shots at the event which was cut from 36-18 holes because of bad weather.
Strong winds on day one forced PGA officials to abandon play midway through the afternoon, scrapping any scores already returned.
That was particularly harsh on Damien McGrane who had signed for a superb level par 72 in the morning wave to grab the early lead.
“I really struggled in the conditions on day one, it was some of the worst weather I have ever tried to play in,” said Michael.
“It was very unfortunate for Damien [McGrane]. His level par round was an incredible effort, he must have played some golf.
“That’s the luck of the draw. Conditions were perfect on day two. We had a wee bit of wind at the start of the round but it dropped away as we turned to come home.”
Starting his round at the 10th, Michael played his opening nine holes in three under par 34 with a bogey at the 11th cancelled out by birdies at the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th.
Turning for home he added three further birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh to top the leaderboard on six under.
“It was a solid round of golf and while it could have been a few better, I also had to hole a few par putts to keep things going,” he added.

“I think the key was that I drove the ball very well and I played a lot from the fairway.”

Victory in Connemara was Michael’s seventh win of the season and fourth since August.
“I had PGA exams to deal with earlier in the season and I think I was probably concentrating more on those than my golf. I wasn’t focused on golf, I wasn’t hitting balls and I was trying to do a bit of coaching as well,” he said.
“For the last three months, with my exams out of the way, I was able to focus on my schedule, maybe play a practice round if I could fit it in and it freed things up. I was able to enjoy it and I felt really good about things over the last couple of months.”
Damien McGrane, Mark O’Mahony (Titleist Fitting Centre) and Cian McNamara (Monkstown GC) finished tied for second on four under par. Cian and amateur partners Martin Walsh, Jamie O’Mahony and Eddie O’Sullivan won the team prize.

Connemara GC Pro-Am leaderboard

Higgins drives to victory at Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am

August 26, 2017

David Higgins

David Higgins carded a two under par round of 70 to win the Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am.
The Waterville Links man plotted his way around the tight, tree-lined lay-out in Co. Down to finish one shot ahead of Damien McGrane and Mark Whelan (Castlewarden Golf & CC).
“It’s a great driving course. If you are slightly off on the right or the left you can’t get to the green. That suits me, that’s my style of golf. I love that and the result showed it. I played some good golf and won,” said David.
“The form of late has been a bit up and down. I felt that I was playing well but not holing enough putts. I’ll kick on from here and I’m determined to finish the season strongly.”

Damien McGrane, Kilkeel GC capt Declan Fitzpatrick and Mark Whelan

The 44-year-old played the opening nine holes at Kilkeel in two under 35 with birdies coming at the fourth and fifth. His only dropped shot of the round came at the 16th when he found the greenside bunker and failed to get up and down. However, he bounced back with a birdie at the last to come home in level par 35 and set the clubhouse target.
He continued; “I felt that if I did get that birdie I might have enough to win. It was one of those days when you felt that two under was going to be a good score. You had to stay patient.”
Damien McGrane and his amateur partners of Kevin Cummins, Tom Muldoon and Catherine Cummins won the team event with 95 points.

Down Syndrome Kilkeel Pro-Am scoreboard

Thornton secures Belvoir Park Pro-Am success

June 8, 2017

Simon Thornton

Simon Thornton coped admirably with blustery conditions to win the Belvoir Park Pro-Am on Tuesday.
The Newcastle-based professional fired a three under par 68 to edge out Headfort’s Joe Dillon at the Belfast course.
“It wasn’t easy. It was hard to pick the wind with it swirling through the trees,” said Thornton who is still easing himself back to full fitness following surgery on his feet.
“We’re on schedule, they are sore towards the end of the round but it’s not the same pain as before, it’s pain from the operation and that will ease in time.. hopefully.

“It’s a slow process, I’m not rushing it because there is a lot of golf to come with the Irish PGA Championship and then the Irish Open. I just have to manage it as well as I can.”

Starting at the first, Simon raced to three under after four holes courtesy of birdies at the first, third and fourth. A dropped shot at the seventh slowed his progress but he turned for home in two under 34 and an eagle at the par five 10th saw him reach four under for his round.
Simon added; “It was a nice start and then I pitched in for that eagle on 10 but after that, I was finding the middle of the greens with my approach shots and two-putting for pars.
“I bogeyed the 15th when I hit a three-wood into the trees but I think I could have been a few more under par if I had been a bit sharper.”
Kilkeel GC professional Jerry Scullion, guided his amateur partners of Neill Roulston, Ian Emerson and Sam Gillespie to success in the team event with 84 points.

Belvoir Park Pro-Am sponsored by DeepRiverRock results

Belvoir Park Pro-Am
sponsored by DeepRiverRock
at Belvoir Park (Par 71)
Leading scores
1 S Thornton (Simon Thornton Golf) 68
2 J Dillon (Headfort GC) 69
T3 D Mooney (Damian Mooney Golf), D McGrane 70
T5 C. Carvill (Belvoir Park GC), M McGeady (Seamus Duffy Golf Academy), K Shannon 72

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

April 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

City of Derry GC and Foyle Golf Centre named joint hosts of the Walled City Pro-Am

March 17, 2017

At the Walled City Pro-Am Launch are, back row (l-r) Christine Mitchell, Lady Captain, City of Derry Golf Club; Mike Carroll, Captain, City of Derry Golf Club; Michael McCumiskey, PGA in Ireland; Lady Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council; Simon Thornton, PGA Professional; Martin Campbell, Captain, Foyle Golf Centre and Florence Rankin, Lady Captain, Foyle Golf Centre. Front row L-R: Odhran Dunne, Visit Derry and Ciaran O Neill, Bishop’s Gate Hotel

The largest event in this year’s PGA in Ireland calendar, the Walled City of Derry Pro-Am, will take place in Derry City on August 26 and 27.
For the first time ever, the tournament will be hosted by two venues, the City of Derry Golf Club and Foyle International Golf Centre.
Launching the tournament, Ordhan Dunne, General Manager, Visit Derry said: “Ireland’s North West region is currently at the forefront of golf tourism on the island and whilst this tournament will be an excellent opportunity to promote the quality of the city’s parkland golf, it will further enhance our reputation as a central hub for golfers to enjoy a premier golf and tourism experience.”
Visit Derry in partnership with Derry City and Strabane Council are sponsoring the tournament which will be one of the top attractions in the North West social and sporting calendar this summer.
In 2013, Derry-Londonderry was awarded City of Culture status and enjoyed a change of attitude and a new pride in cultural identity.
It was an incredible year as the City hosted a raft of events including, the City of Culture 2013 Pro-Am, which was won by Simon Thornton, who carded rounds of 68/65 at City of Derry GC to win by four shots.
Local businesses such as Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Diageo NI, Total Golf, Nuprint, Desmond Motors, Partridge Peartree and Mint Bet have been instrumental in attracting Irish PGA professionals back to the City. This tournament will showcase local and international talent while making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Michael McCumiskey, secretary of the PGA in Ireland, stated; “This event will attract the top Irish PGA Professionals from all over Ireland. They will be competing against each other for the title and guaranteed prize pot of 15000 euros whilst teams of three amateurs will compete alongside the professional for the coveted team prize. The event will have both ladies and gents sections.
“On the Friday a junior event will take place, which is kindly supported by Irish PGA professionals. Undoubtedly, golf enthusiasts from across the North West and further afield will be keen to see PGA professionals play and I’m sure there will be high demand for spaces on teams. It will be a very busy weekend for the City.”
To obtain an entry form contact Sammy at City of Derry Golf Club on 028 7131 1496 or Conor at Foyle International Golf Centre on 028 7135 2222.

Damien McGrane tops PGA in Ireland 2016 Order of Merit

October 17, 2016
Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort director, Vichai Tripipatkul, presents Damien McGrane with the Irish PGA Championship trophy

Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort director, Vichai Tripipatkul, presents Damien McGrane with the Irish PGA Championship trophy

Damien McGrane dominated proceedings on the course this season and as a result, he has topped the 2016 PGA in Ireland Order of Merit rankings.

The Kells man won 15 events in total, with 10 of those wins coming in Order of Merit counting tournaments including the106th PGA Irish Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

McGrane topped the Order of Merit standings on two previous occasions in 1998 and 2000 but this latest success follows his decision to wind down his forays onto the European Tour.

The 45-year-old ended the season with an impressive scoring average of 70.20, finished inside the top 10 on 46 occasions and made 201 birdies along the way.

In a repeat of last season, David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) finished second with Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Ltd) and Neil O’Briain (Old Conna GC) in fourth place.

Those four will represent the PGA in Ireland region in the £15,000 PGA Play-offs at Saunton Golf Club (East) Oct 24 – 27.

Higgins booked his place in the event via his victory in the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at The Oxfordshire back in August which has opened the door for O’Briain to secure a place in the field.

2016 PGA in Ireland Order of Merit
1 D McGrane (20) 24,861.26
2 D Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) (20) 23,705
3 C Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Ltd) (20) 21,810.17
4 N O’Briain (Old Conna GC) (20) 20,495.51
5 S Thornton (20) 18,815.01
6 R Kilpatrick (Banbridge GC) (20) 16,468.51
7 M McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) (20) 15,747.59
8 D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) (20) 12,827.26
9 E Brady (Clontarf GC) (20) 12,762.03
10 M Staunton (Delgany GC) (20) 12,421.38

Damien McGrane eases to comfortable victory at Cairndhu GC Pro-Am

September 5, 2016
Damien McGrane at Cairndhu GC Picture by John Cassidy

Damien McGrane at Cairndhu GC
Picture by John Cassidy

In-form Damien McGrane lapped the field on his way to victory at the two-day Cairndhu Pro-Am.
McGrane’s 11 under par total earned him a seven shot winning margin over David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) with Daniel Beattie (Deer Park) and Damien Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) tied for third on three under par.
McGrane’s win, his 12th of the season, was built on a brilliant opening round of eight under par 62 that equalled the course record at the Co Antrim venue.
The 45-year-old had a six-shot advantage by the end of day one and a second round 67 put him out of reach.
“It was a nice to shoot a low one on day one. I got off to a good start on day two as well but I three-putted the 17th for a par and that halted my momentum a bit,” said McGrane who also claimed the team prize alongside amateur partners Seamus Mullvana, Alan Montgomery and Foster McFerran.
“I’ve not been making many mistakes over the last few weeks and that’s allowed me to string together a few good performances.”

Cairndhu Pro-Am scores

Cairndhu Pro-Am
At Cairndhu GC (Par 70)
1 D McGrane 62/67 -11
2 D Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) 68/68 -4
T3 D Beattie (Deer Park Hotel Golf & Spa) 71/66 -3
T3 D Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) 70/67 -3
5 M O’Sullivan (Piltown Driving Range) 69/69 -2
6 S Thornton 72/68 lvl
7 S Quinlan 70/71 +1
T8 E Brady (Clontarf Golf Club) 70/72 +2
T8 C Moriarty ()Drive Golf Performance Ltd) 71/71 +2
T8 A Hogan (Edmondstown GC) 71/71 +2
1 D McGrane 96/93 189
2 S Quinlan 88/91 179
3 D Beattie 86/92 178

Neil O’Briain beats Michael McGeady in play off to win PGA Southern Championship

August 23, 2016
PGA Southern Championship winner, Neil O'Briain with Gavin Hunt, Golf Manager, Powerscourt

PGA Southern Championship winner, Neil O’Briain with Gavin Hunt, Golf Manager, Powerscourt Golf Club

Neil O’Briain required a birdie on the third extra hole to finally get his hands on the PGA Southern Championship trophy at Powerscourt GC on Tuesday.
The Old Conna professional, leading by one shot after an opening round 68, fired a second round 66 to reach 10 under par but found that total matched by Michael McGeady.
McGeady’s brilliant best of the tournament bogey-free eight under par 64 saw him leapfrog the overnight contenders to set up a play-off with O’Briain.
“I was playing alongside David Higgins (Waterville) and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) and I was nine under going up the last and saying to myself ‘this is probably good enough’,” said Neil who was also in the process of compiling a bogey free round at the County Wicklow venue.

“I hit a nice drive down the last after an edgy two putt on 17 and from around 99 yards knocked it in to about eight feet and holed the putt only to find out that it was only good enough for a play-off. I was saying to myself ‘that’s it done’, but Mick must have played some superb golf today.”

PGA Southern branch secretary Wesley Pappin (l) with Neil O'Briain

PGA Southern branch secretary Wesley Pappin (left) with Neil O’Briain

The pair set off down the 10th again, halving the par four in pars. They moved on to the 18th and here O’Briain was out of position off the tee and couldn’t find the green in two. He pitched and putted for a par while McGeady missed a birdie chance to win.
They returned to the 10th and Michael’s approach finished five feet away from the flag, while Neil’s from the left rough checked up two feet from the cup. On this occasion Michael’s putt for birdie lipped out leaving Neil to hole his for victory.
“I kind of stole that one to be honest, it feels like a bit of a robbery,” said Neil who has moved up to second in the PGA in Ireland Order of Merit behind leader David Higgins following this victory.
“I played very solid overall today but it was playing very easy today. There wasn’t much wind and the greens were receptive and running well. The conditions were very good and really I should have realised the scoring was going to be better than I originally thought.”

Final scores – PGA Southern Championship at Powerscourt GC

PGA Captain – Gary Chambers – voices concerns about discounted green fee schemes

May 3, 2016
2016 PGA in Ireland Captain, Gary Chambers

2016 PGA in Ireland Captain, Gary Chambers

PGA in Ireland 2016 captain, Gary Chambers, has urged clubs to end the practice of buying into third party discounted green fee schemes.
“It is detrimental to every club in the country. It not only devalues the club, it also devalues the membership,” said the 48-year-old Killymoon GC professional.

“As professionals we often hear frustrated members who pay large fees upfront but then see heavily discounted green fees available. I really think the sooner we can get out of these schemes and put a proper value on ourselves the better.”

Born and raised in Moygashel, near Dungannon, Chambers is optimistic about the future and confident that professionals and clubs will adapt to changes in the industry.
“I think the same number of people are playing that have always played the game but the format has changed. A lot of players have given up membership and joined societies,” added Gary.
“The golf landscape is certainly in a better state than it was four or five years ago and I do believe it is improving.
“For example, just look at changes in the shop business. With custom fitting there is not the same need to stock lots of hardware. People don’t buy hardware off the rack any more, everyone wants to get fitted. I think it is a very good thing. The equipment suits the customer better and professionals do not have to outlay thousands of pounds for stock.
“I’m hopeful that we are approaching a new era that will see the golf business healthy and flourishing.
Chambers played his amateur golf at Dungannon GC and became a PGA assistant in 1990 under Barry Hamill at Killymoon GC. In 1992 he moved to Dundalk GC and finished his training with the late Jimmy Cassidy. In July 1995 he was appointed as professional at Killymoon, a post he has held for over 20 years.
“For seven or eight years I played regularly on the tournament scene and really enjoyed it. I was not a prolific winner, but I did win the Fota Island Pro-Am, shooting a 67 and I also won the Elm Park Pro-Am,” he said.
“I was over the moon to be appointed 2016 Captain. I never thought it would come my way and I’m honoured and humbled at the same time.
“I intend to get out and about this year and I’m looking forward to meeting up with professionals all over Ireland. I have committed to playing in 36 events. It would be a few more but I am taking the chance to attend the Ryder Cup in Hazeltine.
“It is noticeable that in the 20 years or so that I have been playing in Pro-Ams that the prize funds haven’t really gone up. However, it is great to see some signs of improvement this year with events at The Heritage and Delgany offering increased prize money.
“It is also very welcome to see a number of new venues coming on-board. Hopefully that is a sign that the economy is getting healthier and we will see increased prize funds.”