Shay’s Short Game: Ireland primed to challenge at Carton House

Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson both in side for World Amateur Team Championships

Irish Under-14 Boys champion Daniel Mulligan from Laytown and Bettystown with Balmoral’s Fionn Dobbin, the Under-13 medal winner at Mullingar. Photograph: Cashman Photography

Irish Under-14 Boys champion Daniel Mulligan from Laytown and Bettystown with Balmoral’s Fionn Dobbin, the Under-13 medal winner at Mullingar. Photograph: Cashman Photography


Irish team ready to take on the World

Republic of Korea are defending champions following their victory in Mexico two years ago but Ireland will present a strong home challenge having finished third in 2016 when the World Amateur Team Championships is played at Carton House from August 26th to September 9th.

Ireland’s chances of another successful championship are enhanced by the presence of both Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson who played alongside Leona Maguire in 2016. Paula Grant, who represented GB&I in this year’s Curtis Cup completes the trio.

Not only will fans get to see the best players in the world right now but they are sure to witness future stars of the game in action during the two weeks of competition at Carton House.

Meanwhile, Irish Women’s Close Champion Sara Byrne and Lauren Walsh, who made her Senior International debut this year, will travel alongside Wilson to the World Junior Golf Championships in Ottawa. The event, which is by invite only, will pit 20 International Teams against one another at Camleot Golf & Country Club from September 9th to 14th.

World Amateur Team Championships - Espirito Santo Trophy (Carton House, August 29th - September 1st): Paula Grant (Lisburn), Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL), Annabel Wilson (Lurgan). Team Captain: Danielle McVeigh. Team Coach: Donal Scott.

World Junior Golf Championships (Ottawa, September 9th-14th) Sara Byrne (Douglas), Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden), Annabel Wilson (Lurgan). Team Captain: Anne Ferguson.

Foster a clear winner of Seniors crown

England’s Trevor Foster lifted the Seniors Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl when a closing one-over-par 73 sealed a nine shot win over runner-up Randy Haag with Maurice Kelly best of the Irish in 19th place.

Finishing on an eight-under-par total of 208, Foster was the only man in the field to finish under par on the sun-baked links which provided a tough and fair challenge for the world’s elite senior amateurs.

Foster’s opening round 63 put the Englishman seven strokes clear of the field and it proved to be a lead that would not be threatened over the next two rounds as he added 72 and 73.

Haag shot 72, 73 and a closing 72 to move from a share of sixth place to finish alone in second on a one-over-par total of 217 and his fellow American Gene Elliott slipped from second to third with rounds of 70, 73 and 75 for a total of 218, two-over-par.

Five players shared fourth place on a three-over-par total of 219: Ian Attoe (75-73-71) from Worplesdon, the reigning English senior champion, Richard Latham (73-72-74) from Woodhall Spa, Scot Ken Gallacher (70-73-76) from East Kilbride and two Americans Matthew Sughrue (73-72-74) and Chip Lutz (72-72-75). Ireland’s Adria Morrow shot 76, 77 and 76 for 226 while Birr’s Billy Donlon carded 79, 74 and 80 for 233.

Paul Simson (76-72-73), like Lutz a three-time former winner of the title, took the over 65s prize and a share of eleventh place on 221.

Murphy a clear winner in Faldo Series

Rosslare’s Paul Murphy put in a classy performance to win the Faldo Series Ireland Championship by five shots at Mount Juliet. Murphy fired 73, 68 and 70 to emerge victorious and in the process claim a place in the 22nd Faldo Series Grand Final.

The players ran into some testing weather on the final day as rain and strong winds swept the course. Murphy was relatively untroubled however and converted his overnight lead of two shots into a winning position. Murphy eagled the 10th hole and never looked back. Liam Power from Galway represented the closest challenge five shots back but could not quite match Murphy’s scoring.

John Brady made it a Rosslare double when winning the under-18 division by five shots from Royal Dublin’s Max Kennedy. Brady started with a 75 before an impressive 69 put him into a two-shot lead. A strong front nine led to a solid 73 which sealed the win and with it a first Grand Final qualification.

The Boys’ Under-16 category was won by yet another five shot margin. Elm Park’s Robert Galligan proved to be the most consistent in the division as he shot 74, 73 and 76 to hold off Rory Milne from Faithlegg. Milne produced a fine effort on the final day but the damage had already been done.

Cork’s Rachel Thompson claimed the Girls’ category by a healthy six shots over Jan Browne from Kilkenny. Thompson had a very good round two including three successive birdies on the final three holes. She kept her composure and protected her lead on day three and will line up in her first Grand Final.

Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 211 - Paul Murphy 73-68-70; 216 - Liam Power 75-69-72. Boys’ Under-18: 217 - John Brady 75-79-73; 222 - Max Kennedy 72-74-76. Boys’ Under-16: 223 - Robert Galligan 74-73-76; 228 - Rory Milne 76-80-72. Girls’ Under-21: 234 - Rachel Thompson; 240 - Jan Browne 80-81-79.

Mulligan cruises to Under-14 victory

Daniel Mulligan from Laytown & Bettystown swept to victory at the Irish Under-14 Boys Amateur Open, winning by 11 shots in Mullingar. Mulligan added a second round 73 to finish at three under for the tournament, comfortably clear of Balmoral’s Fionn Dobbin. After the first round, Mulligan enjoyed a six-shot cushion thanks to a superb round of 68 that featured six birdies. The four-handicapper made three more birdies during round two and while he could not break par again, his 73 was still the best score of the day. Matthew Giles from Greenore was his closest rival going into the final day but Giles’ challenge faded as he posted 79 to finish third on nine over.

Dobbin came through to take second place overall and claim the Under 13 medal thanks to rounds of 75 and 77.

Rafferty leads strong field at Mullingar

Recently crowned South of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty will head a strong field for the Sherry Fitzgerald - Davitt & Davitt sponsored Mullingar Scratch Trophy next weekend. The Dundalk man will be joined in the 72-hole event by runner-up Rowan Lester from Hermitage, West of Ireland champion Robert Brazill from Naas, North of Ireland champion Ian Lynch from Rosslare and former Irish Amateur Open and East of Ireland champion Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint, who is returning from a long injury layoff.

GUI senior panellists Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), James Sugrue (Mallow) and Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) are also in the field hoping to join an illustrious list of past winners that includes Des Smyth, Philip Walton, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Pádraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

Lester will be aiming to go one better than last year when he tied for second with Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse behind Galway’s Ronan Mullarney

Pierse is currently out of action with a hip injury while Mullarney is on club duty for Galway in the Connacht finals of the AIG Cups and Shields at Roscommon.

Kilpatrick and Gleeson share top spot

Richard Kilpatrick and Donal Gleeson carded a pair of five under par 64s to share first place at the Elm Park Pro-Am. The duo finished one shot clear of Clontarf’s Eamonn Brady and Evolve Golf Coaching’s Michael McGeady

Old Conna professional Gleeson has played sparingly this summer but found some of the old magic at the Dublin venue producing a bogey-free, five-birdie round.

The team prize went to Edmondstown’s Andy Hogan and his amateur partners Sean Kearns, Josh Keavney and Colm Kearns with 94 points.

Thornton six-under at Delgany

Tulfarris Golf Resort’s Simon Thornton posted an excellent six under par 63 to win the Delgany Pro-Am supporting the Down Syndrome Centre. Thornton arrived at the Wicklow venue in good form following a three-shot win in a Northern Branch event at Spa Golf Club in Ballynahinch.

Halpenny Golf’s Steven Quinlan finished second, three shots adrift, with Impact Golf at Leopardstown’s Hazel Kavanagh alone in third on two under par.

Bundoran’s Adam Dunmore and amateur partners Ted Williams, Jim Myers and Rory O’Mara collected the team prize with a fine score of 93 points.

Squads named for England and Scotland

The Golfing Union of Ireland have named their squads for the Reid Trophy (English U14 Championship) and the Scottish U14 Championship.

Six players have been selected for the Reid Trophy at Reading GC: Morgan O’Sullivan (Ballyneety), Adam Challoner (Galway Bay), Zak Collins (Douglas), Eoghan Cassidy (Kinsale), Daniel Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown) and Iestyn Winn (Ballyneety).

For the Scottish U14 Championship at Turnhouse, four players have been named in the GUI squad: Sean McLoughlin (Co Sligo), Alex King (Faithlegg), Luke Cunningham (Galway Bay) and Matthew Giles (Greenore). Played over 36 holes, there is no cut.

The Reid Trophy attracts a top quality field of English and international players whose playing handicap is 7.4 or better. The 54-hole stroke play championship is played over three days. The full field plays 18 holes on each of the first two days. After 36 holes, the leading 70 competitors and ties qualify to play the final 18 holes on the third day.

GUI Squad - Reid Trophy (August 7th-9th): Morgan O’Sullivan (Ballyneety), Adam Challoner (Galway Bay), Zak Collins (Douglas), Eoghan Cassidy (Kinsale), Daniel Mulligan (Laytown & Bettystown), Iestyn Winn (Ballyneety). Team Managers: Peter English (Limerick), Peter Waddell (Knock).

GUI Squad - Scottish U14 Championship (August 13th-14th): Sean McLoughlin (Co Sligo), Alex King (Faithlegg), Luke Cunningham (Galway Bay), Matthew Giles (Greenore). Team Manager: Kevin Murray (Tramore).

Ballybunion are Interclub champions

Ballybunion are the inaugural winners of the Munster section of the Irish Boys Interclub Championship after they led the scoring in Tramore Golf Club. The Kerry club had a two stroke winning margin over neighbours Tralee in a close final. The stableford condition counts the best three cards from the team of five golfers.

The winning Ballybunion team was comprised of James O’Callaghan, Edmond Healy, Sean Malone, Mark Galvin and Ewan McHale and the team manager was Ed Stack. The leading golfer on the day was Tralee’s Lochlann Morrison, the 16 handicapper returned 44 points in testing conditions. This was the first staging of the new competition which saw almost 50 teams compete at four provincial venues.

1 Ballybunion 110, 2 Tralee 108, 3 Mahon 108, 4 Waterford Castle 102, 5 Kinsale 99, 6 Lahinch 97, 7 Ennis 97, 8 Youghal 95.

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