Shay’s Short Game: Ireland romp to International Team Championship

Simon Thornton, David Higgins and Mark Staunton thrash rest of field in Greece

The Irish team of Simon Thornton, David Higgins and Mark Staunton with the trophy after winning the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino, Greece.

The Irish team of Simon Thornton, David Higgins and Mark Staunton with the trophy after winning the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino, Greece.

 

Ireland power to International Team Championship success in Greece

The Irish team of Simon Thornton, David Higgins and Mark Staunton cruised to an emphatic 16-shot victory in the International Team Championship at Costa Navarino, Greece over the weekend.

Mark Staunton’s (Delgany GC) stunning bogey-free final round 64 (-7) set the seal on a superb team effort by the PGA in Ireland representatives.

The International Team Championship saw 21 teams from the PGAs of Europe’s member countries battling it out over 72 holes on Bernhard Langer designed The Dunes Course. The best two individual scores each day from the team of three counted towards the overall team score.

Ireland trailed Scotland by five shots at the close of play on day one but a second round five-under par 66 from Thornton (Tulfarris Golf Resort) helped to turn that deficit into a two-shot lead.

Once ahead, Ireland put the foot down finishing day three with a six-shot advantage which they extended to a remarkable 16 shots by the end of play on day four. “It was a great way to finish the season,” said David Higgins (Waterville Links) who got Ireland off to a solid start on day one with an opening round 68 (-3).

This is the third time Ireland has won the ITC. The last Irish team to win the title in 2008 featured John Kelly (St Margaret’s Golf &CC), Robert Giles (Greenore) and Eamonn Brady (Clontarf).

Volunteers required for World Team Championships

The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) will host the WATC 2018 in late August and early September 2018 at Carton House, where players will be tested on the O’Meara and Montgomerie courses over the competition. The Eisenhower and Espirito Santo together represent an international festival of golf.

In order to deliver these two prestigious events in 2018, the host Unions require the help and support of volunteers both “inside and outside the ropes”.

All volunteers will receive induction, training sessions and uniforms to fulfill the role.

Send expressions of interest in volunteering at the event by email to Karen Hoey of Happening Conferences and Events karenhoey@happeningconferences.com

CGI to run Networking Seminars nationwide

The Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI), the body set up to support, promote and develop the game of golf on the island of Ireland, are hosting a cluster series of networking seminars at Golf Clubs across the country. Up to 18 Network Seminars are taking place on a cluster basis between the end of November through to early March 2018

Over the course of the seminars, CGI will openly discuss the key challenges and opportunities for clubs and the cluster clubs can share stories and benefit from joint learning.

Up to four representatives from both the men’s and ladies committees are invited to attend at a cost of €5/£5 per person.

The format of these Networking Seminars and the full schedule of confirmed dates, including how to book are available on CGI Networking.pdf

Rafferty tops Leinster Order of Merit

Dundalk golfer Caolan Rafferty, who set a new course record and carded the second ever lowest qualifying round of 62 at the British Amateur Championship at Royal St George Golf Club earlier in the year, has won the Leinster Order of Merit for 2017. The Irish Universities champion amassed 90 points to win from Jake Whelan from Newlands and Conor O’Rourke from Naas.

The under-21 title went to Hermitage’s Rowan Lester who had 20 points to spare over the Castle pair of Robert Moran and Daragh Smith.

In the under-18 category Connacht Boys champion Charlie Denvir from Elm Park came out on top with 132 points from Robert Moran (Castle) and Kilkenny’s Mark Power, who missed a number of qualifying events due to international duties.

Alex Maguire from Laytown and Bettystown won the under-16 award with 160 points from Max Kennedy from The Royal Dublin and Sean Doyle from The Island.

Leinster Open winner Joseph Byrne from Baltinglass was the under-14 winner from Brandon St John from Portmarnock and Michael Fitzgibbon from Howth.

ILGU fixtures for 2018 announced

As the 2017 season comes to a close, the Irish Ladies Golf Union have confirmed their calendar of events for 2018. With student’s events, the Irish Colleges Match Play, Irish Students Amateur and the Irish Students Sixes kicking off the season from a National perspective, the first underage championship again will be the Irish Girls’ Open Stroke Play Championship at Roganstown in April (13th - 15th).

As the summer months approach, the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play again returns to Co. Louth where an International field will compete for the Clarrie Reddan and Philomena Garvey Trophy. Irish International Maria Dunne (Skerries) led from start to finish at the Baltray links in 2017.

The 2017 Silver and Bronze Medallists will compete in the National Final at Headfort in mid-May while across the country, hopes of Senior Cup success will begin as District qualifiers are played at Galway Bay, Malahide, New Forest, Clonmel and Shandon Park.

To mark the clubs centenary, June see’s the Irish Women’s Close Championship return to Enniscrone where Mary Doyle (The Heath) last won the title there in 2014. In July, arguably the busiest month of the calendar, Monkstown will host the Irish Senior Women’s Close Championship (3rd - 6th) whereas Clandeboye is the venue for the Irish Girls’ Close Championship (18th - 21st). Leinster will defend their Women’s and Girls’ Interprovincial titles at Castle Dargan from July 10th to 12th and the Irish Senior Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship will travel to Grange from September 12th - 14th.

The end of the summer promises excitement as both the Women’s & Girls’ Home Internationals will be hosted at Ballybunion from August 8th - 10th and four days later the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship will be played at Ardglass. The World Amateur Team Championships commences at Carton House on August 29th and following their historic Bronze Medal at the 2016 World Championships in Mexico, the Irish teams have high hopes for further success at home.

From an inter-club perspective, Knock will welcome the Senior Cup All-Ireland Finals alongside the Final of the Girls’ Inter-Club. The Australian Spoons National Final takes place at Athlone on Monday 27th August. The AIG Ladies Cups and Shields National Finals returns to Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort (September 26th - 29th) while the Revive Active Fourball National Finals will be contested at Tullamore on the October 6th and 7th.

In a new endeavour, the Connacht Play and Stay will be hosted at Glasson on September 4th and 5th. A networking event for current and past Lady Captains, this event will include golf, dinner and a night’s stay at the midland resort. To further highlight the option of shorter forms of the game, the Nine-Hole events will continue with four Regional Finalists qualifying to compete at R&A Nine-Hole Championship final at Carnoustie.

Coughlan sweeps home at Portmarnock Links

Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan made six birdies in a five-under 66 to win the gross by three shots from Damien McGrane in the TaylorMade sponsored Tuesday Winter Series at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.

After making three birdies in his first four holes, Coughlan was six-under par playing the 18th and still won comfortably despite finishing with a bogey.

McGrane started with three birdies and turned in four under par before finishing with bogeys at the 16th and 17th.

He was still second in the gross with a 69 as former East of Ireland winner Richie O’Donovan, now playing out of Dun Laoghaire, was third with a 70.

Europro Tour regular Brian Casey made his fifth birdie of the day at the 18th to shoot 68 and win the nett on a countback from Gary Cullen with Co Louth four-handicapper Billy Gavin taking third with a 69 (gross 73) that featured two birdies on the back nine. Cullen, who was also in the prizes last week, had two birdies and an eagle at the sixth in his round.

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