Shay’s Short Game: Sixth win at Duke for Leona Maguire

Now one of the most successful Irish players in the history of US College golf after LA win

Leona Maguire secured her sixth win at Dukes University in LA. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leona Maguire secured her sixth win at Dukes University in LA. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Maguire makes it six on College circuit

For the sixth time as a collegiate golfer and the second time this season, Duke University’s Leona Maguire claimed the honours as the junior carded a season-best 10-under-par, 206, at the LSU Tiger Golf Classic at the University Club in Baton Rouge, Los Angeles. As a team, Duke University won the team title for the second straight season with 10-under-par, 854.

Maguire collected the wire-to-wire victory with rounds of 67, 68 and 71, which was four shots better than teammate Virginia Elena Carta (210). Maguire’s six wins at Duke now ranks tied fifth on the all-time charts along with Brittany Lang and Lindy Duncan. Maguire led the field in par five scoring (seven-under) and par four scoring (five-under).

“It was great to finish our regular season with a win,” said Maguire. “Hopefully we can build on our performance this week and take some good momentum into ACCs.”

Maguire is now one of the most successful Irish players in the history of US college golf. Graeme McDowell won nine times for UAB in 41 starts over three years (21 per cent of his starts), Leona has won six times from 26 starts for a strike-rate of 23 per cent. Leona’s twin sister Lisa, competing as an individual, closed with a 75 to finish 57th on 233.

Grehan leads Irish challenge for Lytham Trophy

Stuart Grehan, Ireland’s highest ranked player in the World rankings, is one of six selected by the Golfing Union of Ireland to compete at this year’s Lytham Trophy, which runs from May 5th-7th.

The Tullamore player was named in the Britain and Ireland squad earlier this year and he will join fellow Walker Cup hopefuls Alex Gleeson (Castle), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) and Conor O’Rourke (Naas) at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s.

Also competing at Lytham are Knock’s Colin Fairweather and Whitehead’s John Ross Galbraith. One of the biggest events of the season, the Lytham Trophy attracts a strong international field each year. Previous Irish winners of the Lytham Trophy include Paul Cutler (2009) and Martin Sludds (1982).

Murphy wins Munster Students Championship

John Murphy (Kinsale, Maynooth University) won the Munster Students Championship after the final 18 holes were cancelled due to bad weather. Snow and heavy rain rendered the course unplayable the results were decided over 36 holes.

Murphy finished on a total of 138 (-6) for the 36 holes, four shots clear of James McVicker (Knock) who took second place. Third place went to Cathal Butler (Kinsale), and holder Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) was fourth, both golfers also finished on two-under-par.

The womens’ competition was won by Mary Doyle (The Heath). Doyle led both rounds, an opening 71 (-3) was followed by a 75 as she finished on 146 (-2), six shots ahead of second placed Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe). Rachel McDonnell (Elm Park) was third one shot back from Burke. The winning team was Maynooth Scholars (B), comprised of Eanna Griffin, Cathal Butler and Kyle McCarron.

Power to defend Peter McEvoy Trophy

After last year’s memorable success, Kilkenny’s Mark Power will have the chance to defend his title when the Peter McEvoy Trophy gets underway at Copt Heath on Wednesday, April 12th.

Power held his nerve to seal a prestigious win last season, becoming the second Irish player to triumph at Copt Heath. Now playing off plus three, the Kilkenny player has been selected by the Golfing Union of Ireland for the return trip in 2017 along with Rosslare’s John Brady, Jack Doherty from Carton House, Castle’s Robert Moran, Cameron Raymond from Newlands and Hilton Templepatrick’s Reece Black.

Pipers Hill take the honours at Clontarf

On a cold but sunny day in Clontarf Golf Club, 71 girls from a range of schools around East Leinster teed off in the hope of becoming the 2017 East Leinster Schools Champions. The start list was dotted with some already well-known names such as Girls International Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) and Horizon panellist Anna Foster (Elm Park).

With a team of three and two to score, it was Pipers Hill College who stole the show with 46 gross points from Lauren Walsh, Fiona Behan and Isobel Gorey to take home the Senior Cup Trophy and progress to the national final. Muckross Park College, represented by Anna Foster and Kate Sheridan weren’t far behind with 44 gross points and took home the Junior Cup and also progress to the final in Milltown on April 24th.

Russell appointed Professional at Portmarnock Links

Conor Russell has been appointed head professional by Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links (PHGL). This is the first time that PHGL has appointed a professional. Russell comes to Portmarnock from Sutton GC where he has been the professional since 2005. In his new role he will work closely with PHGL’s Director of Golf Moira Cassidy to maximise the potential of the golf offering.

He joins PHGL at a time when it has recently completed a major investment programme in both the championship golf course and also in the hotel itself. The work on the golf course was completed early last year while work on the hotel has just been completed. While originally designed by Major winner Bernhard Langer to appeal to its many visitors PHGL has also hosted a GUI affiliated club for some time. Membership of the club has been successfully expanded on a limited basis over the past two years.

Conor began his career as a professional when he was appointed assistant professional at Mount Juliet in 1999. He also held assistant professional positions in both Headfort and Killarney before taking up the head professional position in Sutton. A hugely popular figure in North Dublin golf, Conor has played a major role in teaching and running a junior golf programme at Sutton.

Gregan a clear winner at Co Louth

Forrest Little’s Ciaran Gregan was the clear winner of the RaboDirect sponsored Hilary Golf Society outing at Co Louth. The four handicapper was not hampered by two double bogeys early on his back nine, finishing strongly by covering the last four holes in two-under for a two under par 70.

Royal Dublin’s Niall Lavin, playing off three, was second with a 71 while former European tour player Gary Murphy captured the gross with a fine 70. Murphy was joined by Clem Walshe (Dundalk) and Jamie Doyle (Forrest Little) in returning a winning score of 62 in the team event. The penultimate outing of the season takes place next Sunday, April 2nd, at Portmarnock Golf Club.

McKinstry up to scratch at Laytown and Bettystown

Cairndhu’s Ryan McKinstry, a semi-finalist in the 2013 South of Ireland Championship, won the Laytown and Bettystown Senior Scratch Cup on Sunday. The Queens University graduate opened with a two-over-par 73 in a cold east wind but surged back in the second round, carding a four-under-par 67 to win by two shots on two-under140 from Royal Dublin’s Barry Anderson.

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty and Newlands’ Jake Whelan also finish on level par to take third and fourth place respectively. Former Irish Close and North of Ireland winner John Ross Galbraith (143) took fifth while fellow Irish international Colm Campbell, the reigning Irish Amateur Open champion, closed with a 69 to finish on two over and edge out Cian Geraghty, Robbie Cannon, Noel Crawford and Eoghan Collins for sixth on countback.

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