Jake Whelan snatches Mullingar glory with birdie-birdie finish

The Dubliner claims the Mullingar Scratch Trophy for his new club Grange

Dubliner Jake Whelan claimed the Mullingar Scratch Trophy for his new club Grange with a stunning birdie-birdie finish. File photograph: Getty Images

Dubliner Jake Whelan claimed the Mullingar Scratch Trophy for his new club Grange with a stunning birdie-birdie finish. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Thirty years after Paul McGinley lifted the famous silver cup, Dubliner Jake Whelan claimed the Mullingar Scratch Trophy for his new club Grange with a stunning birdie-birdie finish.

The 26-year-old had suffered three major disappointments in recent years, losing in the semi-finals of the Irish Close (2016), the West (2017) and the South (2019) before he staked his claim to an Irish cap by carding a 68 to win by a shot from Co Sligo’s TJ Ford, the recently crowned South of Ireland champion, on 15-under 273.

“I am delighted to get over the line,” said Whelan, a long-time member of Newlands who only joined Grange this year. “It’s been a long wait. TJ played great golf coming in and it wasn’t looking great down the last few holes but I rode my luck, putted great and made some birdies at the right time.”

Three strokes behind Ford after 36 holes, Whelan shot 68 in the morning to lead by one from the Rosses Point man and by two from Enniscorthy’s Paul Conroy on 11-under to set up a dramatic finale to the 59th staging of the classic 72-hole event, sponsored this year by Sherry Fitzgerald Davitt & Davitt and Pinergy.

Whelan birdied the third and sixth to remain in front, but then made “sloppy” bogeys at the seventh and eighth to leave the leading trio tied on 11-under with nine to play.

Two holes later he was three clear as he rolled in an 18 footer at the 10th, then made an outrageous birdie at the 11th, flighting a 190-yard five-iron under a branch from the left rough into the heart of the green before rolling in a 40 footer.

Ford made bogey and Conroy three-putted for a double-bogey en route to a 71 that left him third alongside Galway’s Liam Nolan on 10-under.

But while Ford then stormed one in front, making four birdies in a row from the 13th, Whelan rolled in a 20 footer at the 17th as Ford failed to get up and down for par, then played a sensational recovery to six feet from left of the 18th and rolled in the birdie putt for victory.

Mullingar Scratch Trophy, sponsored by Sherry Fitzgerald Davitt & Davitt and Pinergy, Mullingar GC (Par 72) Final

273 J Whelan (Grange) 68 69 68 68;

274 T Ford (Co. Sligo) 68 66 72 68;

278 P Conroy (Enniscorthy) 72 65 70 71, L Nolan (Galway) 71 71 67 69;

280 C Denvir (Elm Park) 74 68 68 70, M Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 72 72 66 70, S Mc Dermott (Slieve Russell) 69 70 71 70;

281 R Cannon (Balbriggan) 72 67 72 70, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 66 74 71 70;

283 D Kitt (Athenry) 70 68 73 72;

284 A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown GC) 74 69 71 70, M McClean (Malone) 71 71 72 70, J Cleary (Elm Park) 70 68 77 69;

285 M Boucher (Carton House) 75 71 72 67, G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 70 75 70 70;

287 S Keeling (Roganstown) 73 72 73 69, R Abernethy (Dun Laoghaire) 70 75 73 69;

288 J Rowe (Tandragee) 73 72 71 72, K McCarron (North West) 72 72 72 72;

290 E Murphy (Dundalk) 75 70 71 74, T Dowdall (Woodbrook) 73 69 75 73, R Milne (Faithlegg) 72 71 74 73, P O’ Keeffe (Douglas) 68 78 68 76;

291 R McNelis (Fintona) 74 71 76 70, J Blake (The Island) 67 72 76 76;

292 R Latimer (Knock) 73 69 75 75, H Gillivan (Westport) 72 74 71 75, C Hickey (Dooks) 70 71 76 75, C Butler (Kinsale) 70 70 78 74;

293 C Rabbette (Esker Hills) 77 71 70 75, T Plunkett (Crover House) 74 71 75 73, J Doherty (Carton House) 70 77 75 71;

294 J Hood (Galgorm Castle) 72 73 76 73;

295 L O’Connor (Edmondstown) 77 70 77 71, A Marshall (Lisburn) 72 73 77 73;

296 A Collins (Laytown & Bettystown GC) 75 70 75 76, S Walker (Roscommon) 74 72 75 75;

297 D O’Riordan (Fermoy) 80 66 78 73, P Coughlan (Castleknock) 73 74 74 76, F O’Sullivan (Tralee) 71 75 77 74;

298 J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 78 70 73 77, I Lynch (Rosslare) 76 71 75 76, R Walsh Jnr (Douglas) 74 72 80 72, C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown GC) 72 75 72 79, G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 71 76 75 76, C Dunphy (Killeen Castle) 71 75 76 76;

299 A Kiernan (Forrest Little) 75 71 76 77;

302 S Egan Jr. (Tullamore) 77 70 76 79;

304 E Farrell (Ardee) 74 73 80 77;

NR P Buckley (Cork) 73 72 78 NR;

RTD C Byrne (Strabane) 73 68 82.

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