Shay’s Short Game: Irish competitive in Spanish amateur

Christy O’Connor Jnr’s design, Concra Wood in Monaghan will host the Irish Challenge

Sweden’s Kinhult takes second Spanish title

Frida Kinhult, from Sweden, who beat Ireland’s Paula Grant in the last 16, won the Spanish women’s amateur international championship for the second year in a row. She beat Spain’s Natalia Aseguinolaza by one hole in the 18-hole final at Montecastillo.

The Swede beat the Lisburn player one up after the committee was forced to reduce all the matches from the last 16 stage to the semi-finals to just nine holes. Almost no play was possible on Friday due to high winds and flooding but when the round of 32 resumed on Saturday, Grant beat Beatrice Walling of the Netherlands 1 up over 12 holes and Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson beat Denmark’s Sofie Kibsgaar 2 and 1.

Killarney’s Valerie Clancy fell 3 and 2 to Lou Vrain of France in the first round while Wilson eventually lost 4 and 3 to Romy Wickers of the Netherlands in the last 16 as Kinhult saw off Grant in those nine-hole sprints.

In the men’s event at La Manga, England’s Billy McKenzie - the player who edged out Caolan Rafferty on a countback for 32nd place in strokeplay qualifying beat compatriot Alex Fitzpatrick 3 and 2 in the 36-holes men’s final.

Tiarnan McLarnon, after an excellent 8 and 6 win over Frenchman Thomas Dorier lost out to Spain’s Angel Hidalgo by one hole in the round of 16. Jonathan Yates from Naas lost out in the round of 32 to England’s Cian-Marco Petrozzi by one hole.

Concra Wood to host Irish Challenge Tour

Christy O’Connor Jnr’s design legacy lives on with the news that Concra Wood Golf Club in Co Monaghan will host the Irish Challenge from October 4th-7th.

The Castleblayney design, takes over from Mount Wolseley in Carlow - another O’Connor Jnr gem - with the leading Irish player again to receive the Christy O’Connor Jnr Memorial Trophy.

The choice of Concra Wood, which hosted a PGA Europro Tour event from 2012 to 2014 - is expected to be confirmed by the European Challenge Tour this week.

Created with expert help from his uncle, the great Christy O’Connor Snr, it’s a spectacular parkland course offering lake views from every tee and Lough Mucknoo itself coming into play on 11 of the 18 holes.

The creation of Concra Wood is the final stage in the evolution of Castleblayney Golf Club, which was founded as a nine-hole course, opposite the entrance to Concra Wood, in 1905.

The course closed in 1949 but it was reborn in the grounds of Hope Castle in 1985 before moving to its current location in 2008 and expanding to 18 holes.

Connacht Boys moves to Carne

The 2018 Connacht Boys Open, April 4th-6th will be played on the Carne Links of Belmullet Golf Club.

Charlie Denvir (Elm Park) was the wire to wire winner of the Connacht Boys Open Championship just a little over four months ago at Galway Bay Golf Resort. Denvir shall have the opportunity to defend that title in four-weeks-time but the challenge will not be just from his fellow competitors but also from the test posed by one of Eddie Hackett’s finest creations, Carne.

Online entry closes at midnight on Wednesday next, March 7th.

New Junior competition in Ulster

The Golfing Union of Ireland (Ulster Branch) and the ILGU (Ulster District) have announce their involvement with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in launching a new Junior Golf Competition which is aimed at boys and girls under the age of 18.

Competition details: On August 15-17th 2018 junior golfers will tee off at a new golf competition, the Newry, Mourne and Down Junior Summer Golf Trophy.

In addition to the overall competition which will be open to beginner, advanced and elite golfers both boys and girls, prizes will also be awarded in three age categories namely; under-18, under-16 and under-14. The junior golfers will play Kilkeel and Warrenpoint Golf Clubs, with the opportunity to qualify to play Royal County Down.

Leinster looking to make it four in a row

Leinster will defend their interprovincial title at Athenry this year when they attempt to make it four wins in succession. The 2018 Interprovincial Championship will take place from August 29th to 31st and Seamus McParland (Greenore) will again Captain the side with John Cullen (Enniscorthy) by his side as Team Manager.

McParland’s is convinced that the blend of youth and experience on the panel over the last few years has contributed hugely to the team’s success.

The 16 players selected on the panel include, Irish Internationals Caolan Rafferty, Jonathan Yates and Mark Power. Newcomers to the panel include Robert Brazill, Paul Coughlan, Hugh Foley, Robert Moran and Connacht Under-18 champion Charlie Denvir.

Leinster senior panel 2018: Robert Brazill (Naas); John Brady (Rosslare); Paul Coughlan (Castleknock); Charlie Denvir (Elm Park); Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire); Hugh Foley (The Royal Dublin); Daniel Holland (Castle); Rowan Lester (Hermitage); Alan Lowry (Esker Hills); Robert Moran (Castle); Mark Power (Kilkenny); Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk); Eugene Smith (Ardee); Jake Whelan (Newlands); Jonathon Yates (Naas); Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire).

Loyal servant of the game Perry will be missed

Fred Perry, the man who guided generations of Irish golfers through the highs and lows of championship golf and often made them weep with laughter, will no longer point the way.

His unexpected death at the age of 84 brings an end to five decades of unbroken tenure with the Golfing Union of Ireland. In that time he served as President - as far back as 1982 - and was a trustee to the present day but his prominence had little to do with pomp and ceremony. Until the very end, he remained a loyal and steadfast servant of the game he loved so well.

“Fred was a one off,” said GUI President John Moloughney. “He was committed to golf and the ethos of the game. He was a father figure in Irish golf.”

Perry rose to the highest office within Irish amateur golf all of 36 years ago, serving as GUI President during the year of the last great snow storm to beset Ireland. His immense stature stemmed from his unparalleled commitment to the game.

Pat Finn, CEO of the GUI said: “Fred was a guiding light who embodied the spirit and values of the game of golf. He had an innate sense of what was right for the GUI and he selflessly dedicated so much of his time to make the Union stronger. He was a great friend whose support was unwavering. I’ll dearly miss his wise words and spirited company.”

In his 85th year Perry was appointed Convenor of the GUI’s Constitution Review Committee and was due to chair a meeting this Wednesday.

First elected in 1974, Perry was proud to be the longest serving member of the GUI's Central Council. After 43 years, he was still going strong in 2018 and spent time during the last week of his life rescheduling a meeting of the GUI's Constitution Review Committee. He had previously served as convenor of that committee from 2009 to 2012.

Germishuys goes 39 holes to win SA Amateur

Not since Ernie Els lost to Neville Clarke at the 40th hole in 1988 has the 36-hole final of the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship gone further than 38 holes. And the first text message Germishuys received after defeating Woollam with a par at the 39th hole was from the Big Easy himself.

“This is a dream come true,” said Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation Germishuys. “It was such a tough contest and Chris was an incredible opponent. I have dreamt of this moment so many times, and it feels almost unreal to stand here with the trophy.

Woollam dispatched John Paterson from Scotland 2 and 1 to reach the final at his home course, while Germishuys needed 20 holes to knock out his team-mate Euan Walker in his semi-final.

Germishuys was named to the GolfRSA National Squad last month. The 18-year-old will be making his international debut this week for South Africa alongside fellow Western Province golfer Ayden Senger, Martin Vorster from Southern Cape and Werner Deyzel from Gauteng North in the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in Morocco. The quartet will be chasing South Africa’s 20th consecutive victory in the 72-hole championship at the Royal Dar Es Salam Golf Course in Rabat.