Shay’s Short Game: Kearney into final stage of Asian Q-School

Kearney one of 51 players to progress to final held in Bangkok on January 11th-14th

Niall Kearney is through to the final stage of the Asian Tour Q-School at the Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand.

Niall Kearney is through to the final stage of the Asian Tour Q-School at the Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Kearney progresses to Asian Q-School finals

Ireland’s Niall Kearney was one of 51 players to progress to the Final Stage Asian Tour Q-School when he closed with a level par 72 to make it with a shot to spare in Thailand last week. Kearney finishing tied for 19th place on 14 under after rounds of 70, 64, 68 and 72 for 274 as 26 players made it through to next week’s final Stage on 13 under or better.

Janne Kaske of Finland closed with three straight birdies for a flawless eight under par 64, topping the field by two shots alongside American Sejun Yoon (66) and Swiss amateur Michael Harradine (67) on 22 under par 266. Wolmer Murillo of Venezuela signed for a 64 to take second place with overnight leader Junhyeok Park of Korea, who returned with a 70.

The final stage will be held at Suvarnabhumi from January 11th to 14th, where the top-35 and ties after four rounds will earn their Tour cards for 2017.

Rory McNamara and David Carey failed to make it through their Section A qualifiers while Kearney will be trying to win his card and join the exempt Niall Turner on the Asian Tour in 2017.

Muskerry player Turner kept his card in 2015 but was unable to play in 2016 due to a hip injury. The Cork player is now fit again and will play on a medical exemption this year.

Vilips and Somi Lee are Orange Bowl Champions

Australia’s Karl Vilips and Somi Lee from South Korea are the 53rd Junior Orange Bowl International champions. Vilips posted a final-day two-under par 69 for a four day 12-under par total of 272. Lee carded an even-par 71, her first round of the week over 70, which was good for a one-stroke victory over France’s Agathe Laisne. In an exciting down to the wire finish, both players birdied their last two holes.

The Boys tournament came to an exciting climax. With the final three players, Vilips, France’s Edgar Catherine and defending champion Norway’s Kristoffer Reitan all tied at 10-under par, Vilips sealed his wire-to-wire victory with a 25-yard pitch from just short of the putting surface on the closing par five that skipped once, twice, then disappeared directly into the cup for an eagle three.

Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, the 2014 champion, carded a strong 68 to claim 4th spot in this strongly international field.

The Girls tournament turned into an equally thrill-filled final which went to the wire, South Korea’s Somi Lee getting up and down at the final hole for a birdie-four that cemented a one-stroke victory over France’s Agathe Laisne with Canada’s Monet Chun in third place. Laisne also placed second last year.

McDermott has six shots to spare

Michael McDermott shot a sensational 65 to win the nett prize as Naas’ Conor O’Rourke warmed up for international duty with a gross win in the opening Tuesday Winter Series outing of 2017 at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links last week.

McDermott’s six under par round gave him six shots to spare over the GUI National Academy’s Niall McGlynn and seven over Spawell’s Ross Young in the nett. Scoring was also hot in the gross with St Andrews Links Trophy holder O’Rourke carding a four under 67. The Naas player won the gross by four shots from Thomas Mulligan from Laytown and Bettystown and by six from Portarlington’s Karl McCormack on a day when 72 players teed it up.

Mulligan will join Irish Boys champion Mark Power, Leinster Boys champion John Brady, West of Ireland champion Jonathan Yates and his fellow Naas man Rob Brazill as well as Clement Ader’s Eamonn O’Driscoll and Kilkenny’s Luke Donnelly in the Copa Andalucía at Real Club de Golf Guadalmina in Spain this week.

Grehan makes positive start

Maynooth University’s Stuart Grehan got 2017 off a positive start when he finished tied 11th in the Patriot All-America Invitational in Arizona. The former South and East of Ireland champion, one of Ireland’s big hopes for Walker Cup selection this year, closed with a two under 68 at The Wigwam Resort to finish in the red on one under par.

The Tullamore man was six shots adrift of Texas A&M’s Cameron Champ, who shot 65 to tie with Oklahoma State’s Zachary Olsen (66) on seven under par before winning with a par on the second playoff hole.

Tramore’s Robin Dawson, another Maynooth University star, tied for 33rd on five over par in the 54-hole event following a final round 71.

Each golfer playing in the Patriot All-America carryied a golf bag with the name and branch of service of a fallen or injured military member. The golf bags will now be shipped to players’ schools and auctioned with all proceeds benefitting the “Folds of Honor Foundation”, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while in active service.

Eight-man squad for South Africa

An eight-man squad has been selected by the Golfing Union of Ireland to compete at the South African Strokeplay Championship and the Cape Province Open next month. Kingswood Golf Estate is the host for the South African Amateur from 7th - 10th February while Kingswood Golf Estate & George Golf Club host the Cape Province from 14th - 16th February.

The squad is: Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Robin Dawson (Tramore/MU), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Alex Gleeson (Castle), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore/MU), Kevin Le Blanc (The Island/MU), Conor O’Rourke (Naas).

Before this, Alex Gleeson (Castle/UCD) and Conor O’Rourke (Naas) travel to Argentina for the South American Open from 19th - 22nd January at Martindale Country Club, Buenos Aires.

The squad for South Africa will be accompanied by Ireland Team Captain Tony Goode (Lucan) and the GUI National Coach Neil Manchip.

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