Shay’s Short Game: Maynooth’s Grehan in European Palmer Cup team

European Tour Players’ Player of the Year Award renamed The Seve Ballesteros Award

Stuart Grehan has been named in Europe’s Palmer Cup team. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Stuart Grehan has been named in Europe’s Palmer Cup team. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Grehan named in Palmer Cup team

Maynooth University’s Stuart Grehan has been named in the European Palmer Cup team to face the USA at Atlanta Athletic Cup from June 9th-11th. There was no captain’s pick for Wake Forest’s Paul McBride but Grehan from Tullamore will be making his second appearance in the Ryder Cup-style event for college golfers following last year’s 18½-11½ win for Europe at Formby.

Texas Tech and Sweden’s Hannes Ronneblad and Fredrik Nilehn, Kristoffer Ventura of Oklahoma State (Norway), Jacksonville’s David Wicks (England) Harry Ellis of Florida State (England) and Missouri’s Rory Fransson (Scotland) qualified for Team Europe by finishing in the top six of the Arnold Palmer Cup Player Ranking.

Grehan and Viktor Hovland of Oklahoma State (Norway) were committee selections while Richard Mansell of Nova Southeastern (England) was David Inglis’ coach’s pick.

The final member of the team will be the winner after The R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament, which will be played at St Andrews from April 3rd-4th.

The Seve Ballesteros Award for players’ player

The European Tour have announced that the annual Players’ Player of the Year Award has been renamed The Seve Ballesteros Award. The award is voted for by every European Tour Member at the end of a season and will now carry the name of the legendary Spaniard, who became the first European golfer to win the Masters Tournament in 1980, and who repeated the victory three years later.

The first recipient of The Seve Ballesteros Award will be Sweden’s Henrik Stenson who was the overwhelming winner of the 2016 vote by his fellow professionals at the end of a season which saw him claim his first major title in The Open Championship at Royal Troon as well as win the Race to Dubai for the second time in four seasons.

Aside from his Masters triumphs, Ballesteros won the Open Championship on three occasions - at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1979 and 1988, and at St Andrews in 1984 - and was also hugely influential in helping make The Ryder Cup the global golfing spectacle it is today.

LeBlanc and Maguire finish strongly

Kevin LeBlanc and Alex Maguire took the main prizes in the final Tuesday Winter Series outing of the season at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links. LeBlanc, called up to represent Ireland in the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande later this month, carded a 69 to win the gross by one stroke from Halpenny Golf’s Stephen Quinlan on two-under-par.

Laytown and Bettystown’s David Foy was third with a level par 71 while his club mate Maguire, playing off three, took the nett on a countback from Baltinglass’ Joseph Byrne and Malahide’s Niall Carbery with a fine 70.

Smith leads Leinster squad scoring

There was excellent scoring at The Royal Dublin as the Leinster squad were out for their second session of the year. Eugene Smith from Laytown & Bettystown/Maynooth University came out on top with a superb three under par 69. Birdies at the first, second and sixth took him to the turn in 33 and he then closed out with a birdie at the 16th to come back in 36. One shot adrift was Caolan Rafferty from Dundalk who shot 70. Carton House’s Paul O’Hanlon took third place on 72 with Jake Whelan on 74 and Kevin LeBlanc (The Island) and Marc Nolan (Delgany) on 76

Sunshine card for Old Conna’s O’Briain

Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain closed with a one-under-par 71 to finish tied for 22nd and secure his Sunshine Tour card at the Final Stage Qualifying School in Johannesburg, The 30-year-old Dubliner, who was exempt into the final stage at Randpark Golf Club, carded rounds of 71, 72, 74 and 65 to make the 72-hole cut for the top 60 with ease in tied 21st.

He then finished the job carding three birdies and two bogeys in a final round 71 to make the top 30 and ties with two shots to spare on seven-under-par.

Amateur Herman Loubser signed off with a 69 to take the top card on 20-under-par 360 and lead 34 players onto the main professional golf circuit in Southern Africa.

Powell and Smart win Sunningdale Foursomes

Graham Powell and Henry Smart, who knocked out the defending champions, Marco Penge and Sophie Lamb, in the second round and Scots Ross Cameron and Michele Thomson in Round 3, went on to win the 83rd Sunningale Foursomes at the Ascot venue. Powell and Smart beat Ryan Harrison and James Johnson by 5 and 4 in the final.

In the semi-finals, Powell and Smart beat Jason Kelly and Roderik Bastard 7 and 6 while Harrison and Johnson beat Duncan Hodgson and James Morrison 5 and 4.

Mulligan leaves best to last

County Louth’s Thomas Mulligan carded his best round of the week to finish tied 31st in the Italian Amateur Open Championship in Lecce. Mulligan added a one-under-par 70 to rounds of 75, 74 and 78 to finish on 13-over-par at Circolo Acaya Golf and Country Club.

American Sean Cocker also carded a one-under-par 70 in the final round to claim the title by five strokes on seven-under-par 277 from Morocco’s Idomar Ayoub. Croker, 20, helped the University of Southern California reach the semi-finals of last year’s NCAA Championship in Oregon, where they lost to Texas.

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