Shay’s Short Game: Changes passed for inter-club competitions
Meanwhile, Damien McGrane is the new professional at Carlow while Brian Casey edged Mark Lambe in Portmarnock
Former China Open winner Damien McGrane is the new head professional at Carlow Golf Club. Photo: Inpho
Clubs vote for competition changes
Golf clubs voted last week on a range of motions put to the four provincial annual delegate meetings in relation to a series of changes to the inter-club events that the Union stages.
The motions put forward by the GUI, which all passed were:
1. That the form of play for the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield be modified to Scotch Foursomes, (effective 2018).
2. Effective 2019, that the Union introduce a new All-Ireland Seniors Inter-Club team event for golfers over the age of 55.
3. That the Union introduce a new nett Under-18 Inter-Club event for five-man teams with full handicaps applying, to replace the Irish Junior Foursomes, (effective 2018).
4. In the event of Motion (third above) being carried, that the Irish Junior Foursomes be immediately reintroduced by the GUI, (effective 2018).
5. That the lower handicap limit of the AIG Junior Cup be reduced from 5 to 4 effective 2018.
6. That, in the AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield, the handicap limits be adjusted as follows effective 2018: Lowest individual reduced from 6 to 5 Lowest combined reduced from 17 to 15.
7. That, in the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield, the handicap limits be adjusted as follows effective 2018: Lowest individual reduced from 12 to 11 Lowest combined reduced from 27 to 25
8. That, in the GUI Four-Ball Inter-Club Championship, the handicap limits be adjusted as follows effective 2018: Lowest individual reduced from 16 to 15 Lowest combined reduced from 36 to 34
9. To seek to amend, within CONGU, the last sentence before clause 23.16 Continuous Handicap Review, as follows; To assist in identifying such players, a report has been developed within the ISV software to list players who have seven or more consecutive scores above the buffer zone (excluding any Reduction Only CSS competitions or abandoned competitions).
Mark Wehrly, Championship Manager with the Golfing Union of Ireland explained the background to the changes: “Over the last year the Union has undertaken a very worthwhile review of its All-Ireland inter-club competitions, which included a survey of 4,500 golfers, a focus group of 12 golf club members and a detailed consideration of the issues arising from those engagements by the Union’s provincial councils.
“By including the views of a wide array of golf club members in the review, there has been an emphasis on the Union’s strategic goals of a promoting a strong and open culture and ensuring our competitions programme keeps evolving and getting better.”
Another honour for Leona Maguire
Irish international and Duke University student Leona Maguire added another honour to her CV as she was named the 2017 Global Golf Post Female Amateur of the Year.
Maguire is coming off yet another banner year on the links. She was the recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal for the third consecutive year as the top golfer in the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking. Maguire won the 2017 Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship with a 3 and 2 matchplay victory over Ainhoa Olarra. Over the summer, she also competed in the British Open Amateur and placed eighth in strokeplay qualifying. Maguire represented t Britain & Ireland in the Vagliano Trophy, played in the U.S. Women’s Open and LPGA Marathon Classic.
In the 2017 British Open, Maguire fired rounds of 69, 71, 70 and 75 for a three-under-par, 285, to finish tied 49th.
Maguire turned in one of the best individual seasons in collegiate golf in 2016-17 as she earned her second ANNIKA and WGCA National Player of the Year honours. She collected the second-lowest stroke average in NCAA history with a 70.29 ledger. Maguire was selected the Edith Cummings Munson Golf Award recipient, WGCA First Team All-America, ACC Player of the Year, All-ACC and CoSIDA Academic All-America.
At the NCAA Championship last May, Maguire finished runner-up individually for the second time in three years.
Maguire has opened the 2017-18 collegiate campaign in impressive fashion with a 69.18 stroke average to go along with two victories and four top nine finishes. She helped lead Duke to three team wins in four events.
Duke will be off until February 11th-13th when the Blue Devils compete in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, California.
Carlow appoint McGrane as club professional
European Tour winner Damien McGrane is gearing up for the next stage of his career when he takes up the role of club professional at the ambitious Carlow Golf Club in February.
The 46-year-old former China Open winner will take over from current pro Andrew Gilbert who is set to retire early in the New Year.
A return to the retail side of the golf business and to coaching is a natural progression for McGrane who quit the European Tour two years ago.
And his capture is a major boost for the 27-hole Carlow track.
Having served his PGA apprenticeship under Joey Purcell at Portmarnock and qualified under Brendan McGovern at Headfort in his native Kells in 1996, McGrane went on to enjoy his time at Wexford Golf Club as head professional from 1997 to 2005.
A successful European Tour career then saw him win €5million in prize money with his 2008 win at the Volvo China Open an undoubted highlight.
Now Damien is looking forward to a return to the role of club professional at one of the country’s oldest and most highly regarded parkland courses.
“I can’t wait to get started at Carlow in the New Year,” said McGrane.
“This is an exciting new phase in my career and I am really looking forward to getting back to the retail side of the business as well as to coaching with golfers young and old. Carlow are also very keen that I represent the club on the circuit and that is also something to look forward to,” added McGrane.
“I will be proud to stand on the first tee next season with Carlow Golf Club as my attachment.”
Casey masters conditions at Portmarnock Links
Brian Casey made light of the difficult conditions as he made seven birdies in a four-under 67 to win the nett by four shots in the TaylorMade Winter Series at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links. The Meath professional beat Mannan Castle’s Mark Lambe (71) and Grange professional Michael McDermott (72) as 85 teed-up at the north Dublin links.
Casey made three birdies in his first four holes and was four-under-par before he dropped his first shot of the day at the ninth. Out in 33, he came home in one-under 34 to take the nett prize from one-handicapper Lambe, who played the Links’ four par-threes in two-under-par.
Damien McGrane shot a two-under 69 to win the gross, following his lone bogey of the day at the par-three third with birdies at the fourth, 15th and 17th. Former East of Ireland winner Richard O’Donovan was three-over after four holes but played the back nine in two-under for an excellent 72. Galway’s Joe Lyons produced the third-best gross with the highlight of his round coming at the 590-yard fourth, where he hit the green in two and holed a 50 footer for eagle en route to a 73.
Dye best at Druids Heath
Druids Heath’s Chris Dye had 32 points at Druids Heath to win the sixth outing of the Titleist Druids Glen Winter Alliance. He beat Druids Glen’s PGA professional by a point with home player Conor Marken taking third with 30 points off six.
Killiney professional Leo Hynes took the gross prize with 30 points while Geraghty leads the Order of Merit comfortably by 21 points from Marc Nolan.