Shay’s Short Game: Brian Casey dominates at Portmarnock

Meanwhile, the World Cup is returning to Melbourne and Rice comes out on top in Killarney

Brian Casey won last week’s winter series event at Portmarnock Links.

Brian Casey won last week’s winter series event at Portmarnock Links.


Casey wintering well

Professional Brian Casey made seven birdies in a six-under-par 65 to top the 91-strong field in the TaylorMade Winter Series at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links. The former Mullingar Scratch Trophy winner took advantage of relatively benign conditions to win the nett by five strokes from fellow professional Kevin LeBlanc, who had four birdies in a round of 70.

Cobh six-handicapper Alan Maher was third with a level par 71, playing to his handicap despite slipping to four-over-par after just five holes. Casey was out in out in 32 with five birdies and a solitary bogey on the second hole before he picked up shots at the 15th and 18th for the round of the day.

Grange’s Michael McDermott won the gross by a shot from Castle’s Alex Gleeson with a five-under-par 66. Out in 34 with birdies on the seventh and ninth, McDermott made birdies at the 11th, 15th and 16th and followed his lone bogey of the day at the tough, par-three 17th with a closing birdie.

Gleeson was out in 34 with eight pars and an eagle at the par-five sixth hole before starting for home with two birdies. He then followed his only dropped shot of the day on the 14th hole with a birdie on the 15th to take the second gross prize with a four-under-par 67. Naas’ Jonathan Yates was third with a two-under 69.

World Cup returns to Melbourne

The 59th edition of the World Cup of Golf will return to Melbourne next year with The Metropolitan Golf Club playing host to 28 teams from November 21st-25th.

One of five events co-sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, the World Cup of Golf has been played 58 times in 25 countries since 1953 and is the only event that sees the world’s best come together and compete for their countries outside the Olympic Games.

“It’s always an incredible honour to be able to play for my country!” tweeted Graeme McDowell, who partnered Shane Lowry to a share of ninth place behind Denmark in Australia two years ago and partnered him again last week in the QBE Shootout in Florida.

“Hopeful to get back to Melbourne in 2018 to compete in the World Cup of Golf again.”

The highest-ranked player from each competing country will choose his playing partner and the event will continue with the same format from 2016 with fourballs on the first and third days and foursomes on days two and four.

Hume finishes fourth on the Algarve Pro Tour

Naas’s Jack Hume, the former Walker Cup player decided to take a long break from the game and hadn’t played since he missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa a year ago.

But he showed he’s still got plenty of game when he made an eagle and 10 birdies in rounds of 68 and 71 in the Pinheiros Altos Classic on the Algarve, finishing fourth on five-under par.

Had it not been for a triple bogey six on the 14th, Hume might have come away with the top prize, which went to England’s Craig Farrelly on 136. Farrelly shot rounds of 66 and 70 to win the event by a shot from Jamie Abbott on eight under par with Germany’s Max Eichmeier third on six-under.

Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin (70-73, 141) was 13th with Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith (75-74, 149) 26th, Nial Kearns (75-78, 153) 33rd and amateur Hugh Foley (78-78, 156) 43rd.

Rice best at Killarney

Limerick’s Tim Rice fired a five-under-par 67 to win the third outing of the Munster PGA Winter Series at Killarney’s Mahony’s Point.

The Irish PGA champion won by a shot from Monkstown’s Cian McNamara with Fota Island’s Jack Howard and Cahir Park’s David Ryan a shot further back. Lahinch’s Donal McSweeney was fifth with a 70 as Rice led Alan O’Meara, Jamie O’Sullivan and David Whyte to the team prize on a day.

Get into Golf Programme

Applications for clubs to get involved in a Men’s or Women’s Get into Golf Programme in 2018 are now open. The Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) Get into Golf is a programme designed to not only support Golf Clubs in recruiting new members and in turn increase their membership figures and revenue but also to make golf more accessible to a wider audience.

There are three main strands to CGI’s Get into Golf Programme:

- Recruitment

- 8 Week Get into Golf Programme

- Follow on Membership and Activities

For further information on these programmes visit Clubs who have delivered Get into Golf Programmes in the past do not need to reapply unless the club want to run a different programme e.g Greenfields Golf Club ran Get into Golf for Women in 2017 and now want to run a Junior Programme.

O’Looney and Horton a big loss

Irish and British golf was in mourning last week following the deaths of Paddy O’Looney and Tommy Horton. O’Looney, who passed away after a long illness, was a former Chief Executive of SWING (South West of Ireland Golf) and a leading figure in the Irish golf tourism business for many years.

Long regarded as Ireland’s unofficial golfing ambassador, he was honoured by the Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association (IGTOA) in 2011 with the Jerry Donworth Outstanding Contribution to Golf Award for his work in golf tourism.

Former PGA captain and Ryder Cup player Tommy Horton passed away on Friday at the age of 76 after a long illness. Horton was PGA captain in 1978 and played in the Ryder Cup on two occasions. He won four European Tour events and finished in the top 10 three times. His best year was 1976 when he was fifth.

His record on the Senior Tour was even more impressive. The Tour was founded shortly after Tommy reached the qualifying age of 50 in 1991 and he was the dominant figure in its early days.

He headed the money list in five seasons – 1993, 96, 97, 98 and 99 – and led the Tour’s career prize-winning chart until 2007 when he was overtaken by Carl Mason.

Hall’s double celebration

England’s Georgia Hall had reason to celebrate after collecting both the Ladies European Tour’s Order of Merit and Players’ Player of the Year Awards at the awards dinner following the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic.

The 21-year-old from Dorset wrapped up the Order of Merit with earnings of €368,934.60 from 10 tournaments and was presented with a diamond encrusted OMEGA watch and a cheque for €20,000.

Reflecting on the season, she said: “It’s been a long year and I’m so happy to be able to win it. I think I’ve played great this year and I’ve had some really good results. It was one of my targets at the start of this year and I’m over the moon. The Solheim Cup was huge for me and to finish third at the British Open was big. Second in Abu Dhabi, I love it there, so it was nice to go back and this is one of the biggest moments in my career, winning the Order of Merit.”

Howell wins American Seniors

With rounds of 77-84-80 Mike Howell finished with a 241 tally to win the American Seniors Stroke Play at Bonita Bay Club. The 54-hole tournament played across three days saw the field play Bay Island Course on day one, the Creekside Course in the second round and the Cypress Course for the final round.

Rich Patterson (80-84-79--243) was second and Arty Trojan (82-83-83--248) was third. Other winners included Jay Johnston in the Senior Net Division, Casey Lee captured the Net Stableford Flight Ken Kinsey took home the title in the Super Senior Nett Stableford Flight.

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