Shay’s Short Game: McElroy tops Europro Tour Order of Merit

Leona Maguire nominated for All District award, Tour School ventures to Asia

Dermot McElroy moved to the top of the Europro Tour with a second place finish at Ballykisteen.

Dermot McElroy moved to the top of the Europro Tour with a second place finish at Ballykisteen.

 

McElroy edged in Ballykisteen

A second successive runner-up spot lifted Dermot McElroy to the top of the Europro Tour Order of Merit. Having finished second at Close House two weeks ago, McElroy opened his final round in the Great National Hotels Irish Masters at Ballykisteen Golf Hotel with five consecutive birdies to force himself into contention.

By the time he reached the 16th he led on 14-under-par, but he pulled his approach into the water and held a tricky putt to escape with bogey.

However, a three-putt at the last cost him a place in a play-off with England’s Sam Robertshawe, who closed with a course-record equalling 65 to win by a stroke from McElroy and Scotland’s Sean Lawrie on 13-under par.

Muskerry’s Niall Turner had a one-stroke lead entering the final round, but a level par 72 saw him finish fourth with Dave Coupland, two shots behind the winner on 11-under-par.

Headfort’s Brian Casey (69) was a shot further back on 10-under with Stephen Grant (67), and David Higgins (70) tied 17th on eight-under, Mark Staunton (73) 25th on seven-under and Cian McNamara (71) tied 38th on five-under.

McElroy had to settle for a cheque for £4,500 and now heads the Order of Merit by £500 from Robertshawe with £10,500 with Gavin Moynihan - who missed the cut in Tipperary - third on £10,000 following his win at Close House.

The top five on the Order of Merit at the end of the season win automatic promotion to the Challenge Tour.

Maguire nominated for All District award

Duke University student Leona Maguire has been nominated to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District III Women’s At-Large Team. Maguire will now move on to the national ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-America.

A member of the Slieve Russell Club , Maguire, was recently named the 2017 ACC Player of the Year and is coming off a tied for sixth place finish at the NCAA Regional Championship in Albuquerque, N.M. In April, Maguire claimed her second ACC Championship with a six-under-par, 210, while also helping lead Duke to its 20th team championship.

A two-time All-America and 2015 National Player of the Year, Maguire is currently having one of the best seasons in Duke and NCAA history collecting a 70.0 stroke average to go along with three victories and nine top 10 finishes. Her 70.0 stroke average is currently one of the lowest in NCAA history and would be a new ACC record if the season ended today. The Academic All-District teams recognise the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom and are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada.

Maguire helped the Blue Devils to a second place finish at the NCAA Regionals and advanced to the NCAA Championship, which will take place May 19th-24th at Rich Harvest Farm in Sugar Grove, Ill.

Cleary defends Seniors crown

Cork’s Tom Cleary will defend the Irish Seniors Amateur Open Championship at Co Tipperary Golf Club, which begins on Wednesday. Cleary is partnered with Birr’s Billy Donlon and Mourne’s Hugh Smyth for the opening rounds. Three-time champion Adrian Morrow bids for another title while England’s Richard Partridge, winner in 2015 at Roscommon, is among the visiting contenders.

The top 45 players and ties will qualify for the final 18 holes on day three, with the proviso that there are four players in the Over 60s category, three players in the Over 65s category and two players in the Over 70s category included.

Children invited to “Roar for Rory”

Children throughout Ireland are being invited to ‘Roar For Rory’ and win some fabulous prizes for their school and family. As part of a nationwide competition organised by the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the ‘Roar For Rory’ competition will give two lucky children across the island of Ireland a chance to win a unique opportunity for their schools to host a visit from the Irish Open Trophy -- as well as a family pass and VIP Tour at the tournament during Pro-Am day.

To enter the competition, children of all ages -- or their parents and teachers -- should simply submit a short video or fun photograph of themselves, their friends or classmates shouting ‘Come on Rory’ (or any other player they choose) in support of Irish Open 2016 champion Rory McIlroy and the other top golfers who will be competing for what has become one of the most sought after titles on the European Tour.

Entries should be sent to roarforrory@duffyrafferty.com along with contact details clearly stating the child’s name, age, address and school.

Alternatively, parents and teachers can tweet their videos and photos to @ddfirishopen or post on the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Facebook page with the hashtags #ddfirishopen and #roarforrory.

Closing date for entries is Wednesday, June 7th. A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Rory Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.

Kilpatrick edges out Murray to win the Ruddy Cup

Banbridge professional Richard Kilpatrick fired a one under par 71 to claim the Ruddy Cup for Young Professionals at the European Club. The 35-year-old edged out playing partner Noel Murray (American Golf) by a shot at the Co Wicklow venue

Richard went to the turn in one over par 36 with birdies at the first and third cancelled out by dropped shots at the fifth, seventh and eighth. He added three more birdies on the back nine at the 13th, 14th and 17th with his only dropped shot of the back nine coming on the par four 15th.

“It was a great tussle with Noel. He was leading by one as we played the 17 but I managed to get that birdie while he dropped a shot,” said Kilpatrick. “It was great to get that kind of competitive battle so early in the season.”

Aside from that bogey on the 17th, Murray was also left to rue a quadruple bogey eight at the par four seventh which dented his chances.

Tour School ventures to Asia

The European Tour Qualifying School will venture to Asia for the first time this year, with Malaysia’s Saujana Golf & Country Club hosting a First Stage Qualifier from September 5th-8th.

The Kuala Lumpur venue, which held this year’s Maybank Championship, has a long affiliation with the European Tour, having first played host to the Malaysian Open in 1999 - which entered the record books as the first event to be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

It will make history again this year, becoming the first venue outside of Europe to host a Qualifying School event in the competition’s 41-year history, underlining the close links between the European Tour and Asian Tour as part of the Strategic Alliance which was signed in July 2016.

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