Shay’s Short Game: Maynooth double at Enniscrone
Leona Maguire on course to turn pro next May after securing Symetra Tour status
At the Irish University Championship presentation were (from left) Enniscrone Captain Liam Hallinan, Ciara Casey (Maynooth University), Caolan Rafferty (Maynooth University), Jim McGovern (Chairman of Connaught Branch), Enniscrone Lady President Beatrice Kinlan.
Maynooth double at Enniscrone
It was a double success for Maynooth University at the Irish Intervarsity Championship at Enniscrone, as Caolan Rafferty captured the men’s title while Ciara Casey took the women’s crown.
Rafferty had one shot to spare on three over par following rounds of 78, 69 and a final round 75. Playing partner Eugene Smith, also Maynooth, tied for second alongside UCC’s Ben Murray. Harry Gillivan (Maynooth University) posted the low round of the week, a superb 68 (-5) to claim fourth.
Casey made three birdies on the back nine to clinch victory in the women’s event. Her final round 73, with earlier rounds of 79 and 78, was good enough for a one shot - win with Eleanor Metcalfe (Maynooth University) finishing runner-up. Overnight leader Shannon Burke (Ulster University) slipped back and had to settle for a share of third place alongside Molly Dowling (Maynooth University) and Mary Doyle (Maynooth University).
Joseph Rafferty (Maynooth University) had a hole in one on the 17th during his first round.
Five new names on GUI senior panel
The AIG Irish Close Champion Jamie Fletcher is one of five new additions to the GUI’s Senior Panel. The 21-year-old from Warrenpoint is joined on the panel by Ronan Mullarney (Galway), Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin), James Sugrue (Mallow), and John Murphy (Kinsale).
Anderson and Sugrue were winners of the West and South of Ireland titles in 2017, while Mullarney has featured prominently at Senior Cup and Intervarsity level over the past number of seasons.
Murphy, a former boys international, also joins the panel after commencing a golf scholarship at the University of Louisville, USA.
The GUI Senior Panel is: Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint), Alex Gleeson (Castle), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), Paul McBride (The Island), Tiarnán McLarnon (Massereene), Ronan Mullarney (Galway), John Murphy (Kinsale), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Mark Power (Kilkenny), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), James Sugrue (Mallow) and Jonathan Yates (Naas).
Maguire’s plans on schedule
It’s a case of mission accomplished for Leona Maguire as she claimed Symetra Tour status by completing 72 holes at the LPGA and Symetra Tour Qualifying Tournament Stage II in Florida.
The Duke University student tied for ninth on seven-under-par, five shots behind England’s Georgia Hall, after rounds of 70, 69, 70 and 72 on the Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice.
She only needed to complete the event to earn Symetra Tour status and while she easily finished inside the top 80 and tied who qualified, the World number one will not take up the option of playing in Stage three to battle for one of 20 cards, as LPGA rules would require her to turn professional immediately were she to make the cut.
Instead, she will now complete her college studies as planned and turn professional after graduation in May next year, using her Symetra Tour status and invitations to find her path to the LPGA Tour.
Hall carded rounds of 71, 68, 69 and a four-under-par 68 to win by two strokes on 12-under-par 276 from Hungary’s Csicsi Rozsa with compatriot Meghan MacLaren and American Gabriella Then tied third on nine-under.
O’Rourke finishes strongly in Winter Series
Course specialist Conor O’Rourke finished with three birdies to card a one-under 70 and claim the nett prize in the Tuesday Winter Series outing at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.
Having recently turned professional, the 26-year-old from Naas continued his run of good form and maintained his 100 per cent strike rate in this year’s TaylorMade sponsored series by winning his second prize in as many starts.
Despite facing the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia, a 70-strong field teed it up and O’Rourke won the nett by two strokes from Castle two-handicapper Tommy Smith (72) with Malahide’s Niall Carbery third with a 74.
Co Louth’s Enda Maguire made fives birdies in a level par 71 to win the gross by three strokes from Castle’s Robert Moran, who played brilliantly before suffering a triple bogey seven at the 18th for a 74, edging out Royal Dublin Hugh Foley for second on countback.
Sullivan shines in the Algarve
The 20th annual Victor Ludini golf tournament took place in in Portugal with Gerry Sullivan (Clonmel and Mount Juliet ) playing really well to ease past the highly consistent Paul Neary (Co Louth ), who came second overall and won the individual day prize on the difficult Faldo course.
Playing in warm sunshine over four days, the winner emerged with a record Stableford points tally of 129 points and also won two daily prizes in a dominant performance. All were delighted to welcome back fit again David Mulvin (Killiney) who rose to the challenge and claimed third prize on day one of the competition. Con Timon (Blainroe) won on the final day of another hugely enjoyable trip once again organised by Peter McParland from Elm Park.
Moynihan slips back
Gavin Moynihan finished with a disappointing last round in the Challenge Tour Foshan Open and slipped three places to 26th in the Road to Oman rankings. A five-over 77 left him tied for 38th on level par, and having earned just €2,693, he now find himself €13,530 behind 15th ranked Richard McEvoy with just two events to go in the race for 15 European Tour cards.
Welsman Oliver Farr claimed his second European Challenge Tour title and a return to the European Tour with a five-shot victory.