Bannon on shortlist for coach of year


SHORT GAME:Rory McIlroy’s long time coach Michael Bannon is on the shortlist for the High Performance Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards 2012 which take place tomorrow night in London.

PGA professional Bannon became McIlroy’s full time coach this year, helping him win his second Major, the USPGA Championship, by a record eight shots as well as topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic and top the world rankings.

Irish pair finish third  in Buenos Aires 

The Irish pair of Reeve Whiston and Richard O’Donovan competed in the Copa Juan Carlos Tailhade last week, finishing third behind Australia and New Zealand at Los Lagartos Country Club in Buenos Aires province.

Whitson from the Mourne club was sixth in the individual standings on 285 (69, 72 , 73 71) with O’Donovan from Lucan tied for 19th on 294.

Geoff Drakeford of Australia won the individual competition with a superb five-under-par 66 in the rain-interrupted third round, sealed a two-shot victory on 280 with a final round 74.

The Australian and his team-mate Jordan Zunic also combined for a final round 141 to win the Team Competition, claiming Australia’s record fifth victory in the 17 year history of the event.

O’Donovan bowed out of the Argentinian Amateur Championship in the second round when he was beaten at the 20th by New Zealand’s Joshua Munn at Estancias Golf Club in Buenos Aires.

Whitson went out in the first round losing 2 and 1 to Sebastian Prado.

Tianlang looking to emulate hero Woods

Newly crowned Asia-Pacific amateur champion Guan Tianlang aims to emulate his hero Tiger Woods when he takes part in International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for the British Open next year.

Last week he became the youngest winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship earning a place in IFQ for the British Open next March and qualification for the US Masters in April.

Tianlang held off the challenge of Pan Cheng-tsung as he posted a one-under par 71 in the final round at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand. Guan will become the youngest competitor in the history of the US Masters at 14 years, five months and 17 days breaking the record set by Matteo Manassero in 2010, when the 16-year-old earned an invitation after winning the British Amateur Championship.

Two extra players on Palmer teams

The selection process for the Palmer Cup, the annual Ryder Cup-style competition that features top collegiate players from the US and Europe, will undergo its first change since the B and I team expanded to include all of Europe for the 2003 event. Changes will be in effect for next year’s event.

Each team will now be comprised of 10 players as opposed to the previous eight. The first six will be selected according to the newly-created Palmer Cup Ranking, which uses Golfstat’s NCAA player ranking as a base.

For the US team, the remaining four players will consist of three committee picks and one coach’s pick.

The final four spots on the European team will be the champion of The R and A Foundation Scholars Tournament, two committee picks and one coach’s pick. The US leads the series 8-7-1.

O’Keeffe takes South East Alliance honours

Gerry O’Keeffe, a six-handicap from Waterford GC took the honours at the South East Alliance outing to West Waterford last week. O’Keeffe carded a nett 70 to win by one shot from Castlecomer’s Victor Smith (7) with Graham Nugent of Kilkenny next on 72 off two.

The gross went to Rosslare scratch player Graham Donaghue with a one-under-par 71.

Donaghue had a shot to spare over Tramore’s plus-two handicapper Alan Thomas who took second place from former Irish Seniors champion Arthur Pierse from Tipperary on a countback after both players finished on level par 72.

Back to back wins for McGeady

Michael McGeady made it back to back wins on the North Western Golfing Alliance season when he was victorious over the Old Tom Morris Links at Rosapenna on Saturday.

A winner earlier at the start of the month at Narin Portnoo, McGeady (+3, McCambridge-Duffy) shot 71 to edge Brian McElhinney (+3, Foyle Golf Academy) who had also been second to him at Narin Portnoo. Sean Quigg (City of Derry) was third on 77, while Pat O’Neill, a 15 handicapper from Strabane, took the honours in the nett category with 37 points. The Alliance takes a break over the next couple of months resuming their season on February 2nd in Portsalon.

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