Shay’s Short Game: Conor O’Rourke holds his nerve to win in New York

Mary Doyle, Maeve Cummins and Anna Foster head off to 20th Faldo Series Grand Final

Conor O’Rourke birdied the last for his second win of the season at the Nassau Invitational in New York.

Conor O’Rourke birdied the last for his second win of the season at the Nassau Invitational in New York.


O’Rourke takes New York decider

Conor O’Rourke from Naas holed a six-footer at the final green to win the Nassau Invitational in New York and clinch his second title of the season. After two convincing wins on the opening day of matchplay, O’Rourke was dominant again as he beat Steve Tarulli 3 and 2 in the semi-finals. However he was taken all the way in the decider before sealing victory with a birdie at the 18th against Steve Zychowski.

By winning the Nassau in New York, O’Rourke emulated clubmate Jack Hume, who claimed the title in 2014. The 25-year-old also became the fifth Irish winner of the event, following in the footsteps of Paul Cutler (2009), Niall Kearney (2007) and Darren Crowe (2004). Having captured his maiden championship crown at the St Andrews Links Trophy in June, this was O’Rourke’s second victory of the season.

Faldo Series Grand Final

Having qualified in Lough Erne earlier this year, Mary Doyle (The Heath), Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) and Anna Foster (Elm Park) are heading off to compete in the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final which takes place in Stoke by Nayland, Colchester England starting on Monday. Doyle was the overall winner in Lough Erne and qualified for the Under-21 category with a gross score of 151 followed by Cummins with a 156, whereas Foster was the leading Under-16 girl with a gross score of 169.

The Grand Final will bring together more than 80 of Europe, the Middle East and South America’s leading young golfers, plus five winners from the 2016 Faldo Series Asia Grand Final. Faldo will invite the champion in each age-category (three boys and two girls) to compete in the 2017 Asia Grand Final next March over his Faldo Designed course Laguna Lang Co, Vietnam. The overall boy and girl champion will also get the opportunity to play in a professional Tour event. The tournament is run over three days, 18 holes each day with clinics and seminars offered to players after each round.

Jack Hume joins Moynihan

Jack Hume has joined Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan in Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management stable. The Naas ace, 22, has turned professional and made his debut at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Hume ended his amateur days ranked number seven in the World Amateur Golf Rankings after an outstanding year that saw him win the South African Strokeplay and the European Nations Cup and finish runner-up in the Irish Amateur Open.

He also contributed one-and-a-half points in the Walker Cup victory against the United States at Royal Lytham and St Annes in September last year and helped Ireland to their best-ever finish at the World Amateur Championship in Mexico last month, where they took bronze.

After his debut in Scotland, Hume hopes to play on the Challenge Tour before heading to Spain for the European Tour Qualifying School Stage Two. He was exempt into Stage Two as one of the top five available players inside the top 15 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

ISM has guided the careers of former world number one Lee Westwood, Masters champion Danny Willett, former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, former Open champion and recent Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, as well as Ryder Cup cap Matt Fitzpatrick.

Leona still after first win

Over the first two tournaments of the 2016-17 campaign, Duke University’s Leona Maguire has combined to shoot 17-under-par, but the junior is still looking for her first win of the season as she finished third overall at the Windy City Classic last week with an eight-under-par, 208.

Maguire has been outstanding in the first two tournaments and has just missed collecting her fifth victory of her Duke career. She shot nine-under-par in the Annika Intercollegiate and was only two shots off the individual lead, while in the Windy City Collegiate Classic she was also two shots off individual winner Andrea Lee of Stanford (206).

With a total of 221, junior Lisa Maguire signed for rounds of 74, 74 and 73 to finish tied 32nd. It was her best finish since a tied for 27th placement as a freshman at the Tar Heel Invitational.

As a team, Duke finished fifth overall with rounds of 288, 291 and 293 for a 54-hole collection of 872. Georgia took home the team title with a 10-under-par, 854, with Stanford (858), Southern California (859), Florida (865) and Duke (872) in the top five.

Duke will next compete in the Tar Heel Invitational October 14th-16th at Finley Golf Club in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Hannah Green turns pro

One of Australia’s most promising female amateur golfers, Hannah Green, has taken the professional plunge. Green, 19, announced last week she would leave the amateur ranks after a stellar career that culminated in representing Australia at last month’s World Amateur Championship.

The six-time West Australian state team representative will tee up as a pro for the first time at the second stage of the LPGA Tour’s Q-School in Venice, Florida, from 20-23 October. She skipped the first stage by virtue of her world ranking being inside the top 400, despite having only played a handful of pro events.

National Development panel

The Golfing Union of Ireland have confirmed their national boys’ coaching panels for the 2016-2017 season. There are 12 players included in the Ireland Boys’ (under-18) Panel while six boys have been added to National Development Panel. Next season’s Under-16 National Panel will also contain 12 players.

Irish Boys’ Champion Mark Power from Kilkenny and Irish under-16 champion John Brady from Rosslare have been selected on the National Boys’ (under-18) Panel with Brady graduating from last year’s under-16 panel.

Edward Walsh and Sean Enright have also been promoted from the under-16 panel. Co Louth’s Thomas Mulligan declared himself unavailable for selection.

Holywood’s Keaton Morrison won the Irish Under-14 Championship in 2016 and has earned a place on the National Under-16 Panel along with clubmate, Tom McKibbin. The panel also includes Munster Under-14 champion Conor Byrne, Connacht Under-14 champion Luke O’Neill and Leinster Under-16 champion Josh Mackin.

Connacht Under-16 champion Allan Hill from Athenry is one of six boys named on the national development panel.

Under-18 Panel: Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick), Jack Hearn (Tramore), Andrew Mullhall (Waterford Castle), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Cameron Raymond (Newlands), John Brady (Rosslare), Edward Walsh (Mallow), Robert Moran (Castle), Jack Madden (Dungannon), Sean Enright (Limerick), Jack Doherty (Carton House), Ross Kelly (Tuam).

Under-16 Panel: Luke O’Neill (Connemara), Odhran Maguire (Slieve Russell), Sean Doyle (Black Bush), Aaron Marshall (Lisburn), Josh Black (Hilton Templepatrick), Tom McKibbin (Holywood), Keaton Morrison (Greenacres), Sam Murphy (Portumna), Josh Mackin (Dundalk), Conor Byrne (Strabane), Jack Egan (Muskerry), Patrick Callaghan (Castle Dargan).

DEVELOPMENT PANEL: Allan Hill (Athenry), Eoin Murphy (Dundalk), Liam Power (Galway), Jonathan Keane (Lahinch), David Kitt (Athenry), Scott Jones (Belvoir Park).

O’Briain closes season out in style

Neil O’Briain capped his ‘best ever season’ by winning the PGA Ulster Championship at Hilton Templepatrick. The Old Conna man collected his 11th title of the season at the Co Antrim venue, firing rounds of 65 and 71 for 136 to earn a two shot victory over Richard Kilpatrick, Ciaran Molloy, Mark Staunton and Michael McGeady.

“It’s very satisfying to close out the season with another victory. It’s been great and I really don’t know what I will do to top it next year,” said the 29-year-old who laid the foundations for his success with a brilliant opening round seven under par 65.

“I hit the ball quite well in the opening round but I putting well to be honest. I didn’t birdie any of the par fives, which was a bit of a mistake because they are great opportunities to notch up a birdie or two.”

O’Briain finished his opening 18 holes with a three shot lead over Molloy, Staunton and Brendan McCarroll and headed out for the second round knowing that it was going to take something special from his nearest opponents to get past him.

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