Shay’s Short Game: Mark Power added to the GUI squad
Amateur Status Prize Limit in the Euro area in Ireland to be lowered to €575 next month
Irish Boys Champion Mark Power who has been added to the GUI squad to compete in South Africa.
Power and Sugrue to make South African trip
Following the withdrawal of Colm Campbell (injury) and Peter O’Keeffe (work commitments); Mark Power (Kilkenny) and James Sugrue (Mallow) have been added to the GUI squad which will compete at the South African Stroke Play Championship at Pecanwood Golf Club from 6th to 9th February 2018 and the African Amateur Championship at Glendower Golf Club from February 13th to 16th 2018.
The players selected are: Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Alex Gleeson (Castle), Tiarnán McLarnon (Massereene), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), James Sugrue (Mallow), Jonathan Yates (Naas).
Amateur status prize limit reduced
Following requests from affiliated golf clubs in Ireland, the Amateur Status Prize Limit in the Euro area in Ireland will be lowered from €750 to €575 and will take effect from February 1st 2018.
The move, which is supported by The R&A following requests for consideration by the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union, will ensure that the Prize Limit for amateur golf is now better aligned to the Sterling Pound limit of £500 and continual review of this will be undertaken by both unions to assess the impact of this change.
Speaking about this decision, Pat Finn CEO of the Golfing Union of Ireland said: “The feedback from our clubs was that the limit was set too high in the Euro area and it needed to be brought into line with that of the Sterling zone. Working with the Irish Ladies Golf Union we approached The R&A and they supported the lowering of the limit. We welcome this support from The R&A and both unions will monitor the effects of the change over the coming months.”
Under Rule 3-2a of the Rules of Amateur Status, which are jointly approved by The R&A and the USGA, an amateur golfer must not accept a prize (other than a symbolic prize) or prize voucher of retail value in excess of £500. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers received by an amateur golfer in any one competition or series of competitions, but does not include hole-in-one prizes. Under Rule 3-1, an amateur golfer must not play for prize money of any amount.
McVeigh continues at ILGU captain
The beginning of the 2018 international amateur golf season is but a few short weeks away and with a busy schedule including home advantage for the Home International Matches and the World Amateur Team Championships, hopes for this year are high for elite female Irish Golf.
In terms of team representative events, early July see’s the Ladies and Girls European Team Championships take place in Austria and Sweden, respectively. The beginning of August will see a large Irish contingent travelling to Ballybunion ahead of the Ladies and Girls Home International Matches. The Irish Senior Women’s team will defend their 2017 Senior Home International title at Burnham and Berrow, England, in October and travel to the European Team Championships in September.
Danielle McVeigh (Royal County Down Ladies) will again captain the ladies Irish team while Helen Jones (Royal Portrush) takes over the reins from Gemma Butler (Birr) and will captain the Irish girls’ team.
McVeigh, who has had a successful career as an amateur and professional is excited for what is in store for her second year as captain;
‘It is a pleasure to work with such a fantastic group of people, both the players and the support staff. Together we overcame many challenges last year which I am sure 2018 will also present. Winning the 2017 Home Internationals showed how a great team comes together and performs. There is such a depth of talent in Ireland right now and it will be really exciting to be captain again in 2018.’
Meanwhile, Valerie Hassett (Ennis), past ILGU President, will take over from Pauline Walsh (Headfort) at Senior’s level as she relishes the thought of an exciting new position and build on the achievements of the team over the last two years.
O’Rourke masters the elements
Conor O’Rourke defied the gusting conditions to win the gross in the TaylorMade Winter Series at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links. The former Irish international and St Andrews Links Trophy winner carded a superb, two-over 73 to win by five strokes from Irish Amateur Open champion Peter O’Keeffe from Douglas, whose seven-over 78 is believed to be the highest score to win a gross prize in the series in the last two years.
O’Rourke was the clear winner of what was an endurance test for the 50-strong field with a stiff southerly wind forcing most players to hit a driver or three-wood into the par-three 17th.
O’Rourke went out in two-over par with his lone birdie at the par-five sixth cancelled out by bogeys at the third, fifth (almost unreachable in two shots) and eighth.
While he bogeyed the 15th and 17th coming home, birdies at the 14th and 16th gave him a superb, two-over 73 and a five-shot win over plus-three handicapper O’Keeffe.
Willam Byrne started superbly with six successive pars and while he bogeyed the seventh, eighth and ninth, he started for home with three pars before dropping his only shots on the back nine at the tough par-five 13th and the testing, par-three 17th.
Byrne’s brother Joseph, last week’s winner, marked his first competitive round off plus one with an excellent, three-over 74 in the conditions.
Carnoustie awaits Nine-holes winners
Club golfers throughout Britain and Ireland will have the opportunity to tee it up at Carnoustie shortly before the world’s greatest golfers compete at The 147th British Open in July.
A group of 42 men and women will compete in pairs by Stableford in the second staging of The R&A’s 9 Hole Championship Final after securing their places through qualifying events run at golf clubs at which they are members.
The Final of the 9 Hole Championship will be held on Saturday 14th July and will played over the first four and last five holes of the Championship Course at Carnoustie.
Finalists will be presented with the challenge of tackling the 16th, 17th and 18th holes of the renowned Angus links, considered by many to be the toughest finishing holes in golf.
The nine holes event is central to The R&A’s drive to promote this form of golf as an ideal way to enjoy playing the sport in less time, either recreationally or competitively for handicap purposes.
Competitors will adopt Ready Golf in the Final of the 9 Hole Championship, which can be used in stroke play and includes a number of actions to improve the flow of golfers around the course and speed up play.
Duncan Weir, executive director - Golf Development at The R&A said, “Nine hole golf is continuing to grow in popularity among golfers so we are encouraging clubs throughout Britain and Ireland to offer men, women and juniors more opportunities to enjoy this shorter format of the game, both socially and competitively.”
Another top-10 finish for Yates
Jonathan Yates clinched his second successive top-10 in the Copa de Andalucía as Malaga’s Ángel Hidalgo claimed a memorable victory at the course where he learned how to play the game.
The 2016 Spanish Close champion, a member of Spain’s winning European Team Championship side last summer, carded rounds of 69 70 71 68 to win by five strokes from compatriots Victor Pastor (67) and Eugenio López-Chacarra (72) on 10-under 278 at Real Club de Golf Guadalmina.
Leading by a stroke overnight from Madrid native López-Chacarra, Hidalgo birdied the second, 12th, 17th and 18th to record a memorable victory at his home club.
Yates signed for 71 71 76 and 73 and a share of sixth place on three-over 291 - 12 months after finishing tied for seventh.
Another Naas man, Rob Brazill, shot 74 78 75 73 and tied for 33rd on 12-over 300 with Castleknock’s Paul Coughlan (71 80 72 77) while Kilkenny’s Luke Donnelly shot 71 80 79 71 to share 38th on 301.
Rosslare’s John Brady with rounds of 76 75 76 77 notched an eagle and five birdies in a rollercoaster final round of 77 but was left to rue four bogeys, two double bogeys and a quadruple bogey seven at the 180-metre ninth, his final hole of the day.