Shay’s Short Game: Royal Portrush are senior Foursomes All-Ireland Champions

Damien McGrane seals Irish PGA Championship, Powerscourt win Irish Times Shield

Senior Foursomes AIG All-Ireland Champions Royal Portrush (L:R): Helen Jones, Vivienne Houston, Shauna Park, Heidi Simpson, Carol Corrigan and Naoimh Quigg - Photo Courtesy of Pat Cashman .

Senior Foursomes AIG All-Ireland Champions Royal Portrush (L:R): Helen Jones, Vivienne Houston, Shauna Park, Heidi Simpson, Carol Corrigan and Naoimh Quigg - Photo Courtesy of Pat Cashman .

 

AIG Ladies Cups and Shields

Not even rain and high winds could dampen the spirits of the players and supporters who flocked to Dundalk last week as Castletroy, Tramore, Headfort, Royal Portrush, Portumna and Ballinrobe were declared champions in the AIG Ladies Cups and Shields for 2016.

Castle were hoping to add an All-Ireland Junior Cup title to the men’s Junior Cup title but it was not to be as Castletroy proved too strong in the final. Just as they did for Wexford in the semi-final, the Limerick women were hugely impressive and denied Castle a second consecutive AIG All-Ireland pennant by 4-1.

Having seen off Belvoir Park and Cahir Park to reach the final, Tramore edged out Castlebar 2½ - ½ to become Junior Foursomes Champions for the first time.

Ballybunion overcame Co. Armagh in the semi-final of Challenge Cup but they did not pose a threat to Headfort who won 4½ - ½ in the final. Oonagh Clarke won her match on the 14th. Susan Reilly secured the win one hole later with a substantial 4 and 3 victory and with the final three matches all in favour of Headfort, they only required one last point. This came from Patricia Tyrrell as she defeated Tess Noonan 6 and 5 to send the trophy to Co Meath.

It took tie holes to decide the Senior Foursomes between East Cork and Royal Portrush. East Cork took the top match but Naoimh Quigg and Carol Corrigan came through on the 19th as did Vivienne Houston and Shauna Park. Portumna won the Intermediate Cup final with a 4-1 win over Wicklow while the Minor Cup went to Ballinrobe who beat Co. Armagh 4-1.

Irish PGA Championship

Damien McGrane finally got his hands on the Irish PGA Championship trophy on Sunday after a tense back nine battle with Simon Thornton at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

Playing ahead of McGrane, Newcastle based Thornton birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th to reach 10 under par but an unfortunate three-putt bogey at the last dropped him back to nine under for the tournament.

McGrane, playing in the final group of the day, also birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th to reach 10 under par with one hole remaining. A par at the last would be good enough to claim the title and the experienced campaigner duly delivered, two putting from long-range to secure victory.

Overnight leader Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance) simply couldn’t get anything going and after reaching the turn in level par 36, he came home in one over par 37, racking up eight pars and a single bogey.

It was a tough day at the office for Niall Kearney who finished the tournament in fourth place after carding a four over par 74. The Dubliner had been chasing a third consecutive Irish PGA Championship title but an opening nine holes of two over par 38 gave him too much ground to make up.

European Tour set for Cambodia

Golfers from Asia and around the world will have a fresh opportunity to join world class players on the global stage with the news that the Ladies European Tour has launched a new qualifying event at Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The event will be played on October 19th-22nd as one of four pre-qualifying tournaments for the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School, culminating with the Final Stage in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 17th-21st.

Commenting on the new three-year agreement, LET CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh said: “Lalla Aicha Tour School is part of the LET’s strategy to create a clear development pathway from the amateur to the professional game and we are delighted to partner with Angkor Golf Resort to extend the brand into a new region and providing aspiring talents in Asia easy access to a fantastic venue.”

Aspiring Ladies European Tour professionals will compete over four rounds on the award winning par 72, 7279 yard championship golf course designed by European legend, Nick Faldo at Angkor Golf Resort, which is conveniently located five minutes from Siem Reap International Airport and 10 minutes from the famous Angkor Wat temple.

Cambodia has a budding golf tourism market and this event will showcase the world class facilities of Angkor Golf Resort, which has received a huge raft of accolades since opening in 2008. The resort hosted the Handa Faldo Cambodian Classic on the men’s Asian Tour in 2012 and received the IAGTO Excellence award in 2015.

The Ladies European Tour is expanding its global brand presence following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with international qualifying tournaments in Africa, Asia and South America. Pre Qualifiers “A” and “B” will be played at Mohammedia Golf Course in Morocco on November 16th-19th and December 9th-12th respectively. Pre Qualifier “C” will be played at Angkor Golf Resort and Pre Qualifier “D” will return to the prestigious La Pradera de Potosi Golf Club in La Calera, Colombia, on November 23rd-26th.

The final qualifier to determine membership for the LET in 2017 will be played on the Amelkis and Samanah Golf Courses in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 17th-21st 2016.

USGA championship

Ellen Port, of St. Louis, won her seventh USGA championship last week at Wellesley Country Club, defeating fellow 55-year-old Andrea Kraus, of Baltimore, 3 and 2, in the 18-hole final of the 55th US Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. It is Port’s third Senior Women’s Amateur title; she also won in 2012 and 2013, in addition to capturing four US Women’s Mid-Amateurs, in 1995, 1996, 2000 and 2011.

With her seventh win, Port tied Anne Sander and World Golf Hall of Fame member Carol Semple Thompson. Among women, she trails only another Hall of Famer, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, who has captured eight USGA championships. “Fantastic,” said Port. “It’s always great to win a USGA championship. You work so hard to get here and it’s just so special when you can finish it off.”

In addition to Carner, only Bob Jones (9), Tiger Woods (9) and Jack Nicklaus (8) have won more USGA championships than Port.

Port’s 7-1 record is the best winning percentage among females who have reached six or more USGA finals. Thompson is 7-3, Glenna Collett Vare is 6-2, and Carner is 6-3. On Wednesday night, Port received a text of encouragement from Thompson.

Port also receives a 10-year exemption to the Senior Women’s Amateur, and exemptions into the 2017 and 2018 US Women’s Amateur and US Women’s Mid-Amateur Championships. Kraus, who was competing in her first final in 26 USGA match-play appearances, receives a silver medal and a three-year Senior Women’s Amateur exemption. She also is exempt into next year’s US Women’s Amateur and US Women’s Mid-Amateur.

Ellen Port was the USA Captain at the 2014 Curtis Cup

Munster Veterans Amateur Championship

Sweden’s Tomas Persson became the first overseas winner of the Munster Veterans Amateur Championship, sponsored for the first time by the Horse and Jockey Hotel, at Thurles, when he carded a second round 74 to finish the championship on four over par 148 and six shots clear of the field.

Persson bogeyed the opening par five but got the shot back on the second with a birdie. He played very steady golf for the remaining 16 holes, adding 14 pars and two bogies to give him a two-over total of 74 strokes to add to his opening 74.

Mevyn Eager from Lucan took second place on 154 and Cork’s Peter Cowley was third on 155. Former winner Bert Burke from Moate shot the best round of the day a one over par 73. Burke was three under par through six holes thanks to birdies on the 2nd, 3rd and 6th. A few bogies on the way home meant that he signed for a 73 and he finished in fourth place.

Senior Men’s Home Internationals

England won the Senior Men’s Home Internationals for the seventh time on Mondayday, sweeping to victory with an unbeaten performance against Wales. The team conceded just half a point in the title decider at Machynys Peninsula, defeating the hosts Wales 8½ - ½ as Ireland finished without a win in the competition. England have now won this championship seven times and four of those victories have been in Wales.

England’s other victories were in the inaugural match in 2002 at Nairn Dunbar in Scotland; at Caldy, England, in 2007; and Royal County Down in 2013. In the final day’s other match Scotland beat Ireland 5½ - 3½ to take third place.

Irish International Pitch and Putt Open

Cork’s Frank Dineen produced a strong finish to win the Irish International Pitch and Putt Open in Rocklodge, county Cork, when he birdied the last six holes to win the event for a second time. Trailing overnight leader Bryan Delaney from Fermoy by four strokes overnight, the St Annes player carded a final round of 11 under par to finish the tournament on 27 under par, one shot ahead of former two-time winner Damien Fleming of Deerpark in second on 26 under.

Delaney had to make do with third on 25 under while Irish and European Strokeplay Champion Liam O’Donovan from Bruff finished fourth on 23 under par. Irish Matchplay winner Shane Murphy from Raffeen Creek was fifth on 22 under par. In the women’s event, Irish Senior Strokeplay Champion Breda Lonergan edged out a battle with Irish Intermediate Champion Mary Murray for the title by five shots with a winning score of Level Par.

In the Seniors event Pacelli Darcy from Bruff retained his title with a winning score of 11 under par, one ahead of both Lucan’s Anthony Malone and Riverdale’s Sean Minogue who both finished on 10 under par.

IRISH TIMES SHIELD

The tradition of the home club winning The Irish Times Shield continued on the West course at Powerscourt on Sunday when the local team of David Joyce, Paddy Boyle junior, Leo Donovan and Anthony Aprille won the 2016 shield for Powerscourt for the first time with an impressive total of 106 points from the tree best cards.

First played in 1927 - this year’s event attracted an entry of 27 teams, the largest in the 79 years history of the inter-club competition.

The Powerscourt team were five points clear of second place Old Conna with two handicap Joyce leading the way with an excellent 40 points in testing windy conditions. Boyle off three carded 36 points, Donovan (9) with 30 and Aprille (6) on 25 saw them home.

The best gross score of the day was shot by Greystones plus two handicap, Alan Condren, who mastered the conditions best to shoot a four under par 68. After dropping a shot at the fourth, he fired four birdies in a row from the fifth to be out in three-under-par 33. He dropped shots at the 10th, 11th and 15th on the back nine but these were cancelled out by birdies at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17th in an inward half of 35 for his 68.

Paul McDonnell from Old Conna was four points back in second place on 36, from Barry Daly (Edmondstown) on 34, Mark Dunne (Newlands) on 33 and Spencer Adamson from The K Club on 32.

In the nett Joyce, with nines of 19 and 21 points, had three points to spare over second place Brian Congdon (1) from Clontarf on 37. Boyle took third place on countback from Mark Kelly (4, Old Conna) and Ryan Hudson (6, Delgany) after all three finished on 36 points.

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