Shay’s Short Game: St Kieran’s are Leinster champions

Curtis Cup squad includes four Irish, R&A introduce amateur championship for girls

St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, the Leinster Schools Senior champions (Standing (l-r): Ned Kirwan, Michael O’Shaughnessy, Sean Minogue, James Everard. Seated: Shane Whelan, Anne Wemyss, team manager St Kieran’s College, John Ferriter, chairman Leinster Golf, Patrick O’Shea.

St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, the Leinster Schools Senior champions (Standing (l-r): Ned Kirwan, Michael O’Shaughnessy, Sean Minogue, James Everard. Seated: Shane Whelan, Anne Wemyss, team manager St Kieran’s College, John Ferriter, chairman Leinster Golf, Patrick O’Shea.

 

Four Irish in Curtis Cup squad

Four Irish players are included in an initial Britain and Ireland squad of 14 players ahead of next year’s Curtis Cup match being played at Quaker Ridge, New York. The 40th Curtis Cup match will be played from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2018 with B&I attempting to retain the historic trophy after an 11½-8½ win over the United States at Dun Laoghaire GC last year.

Leona Maguire, who is currently the number one woman golfer in the world amateur golf ranking, leads the Irish group which also includes Paula Grant, a former R&A Foundation scholar, Olivia Mehaffey, a 2016 team member, and Annabel Wilson. Maguire won the 2017 Ladies British Amateur Championship at Pyle and Kenfig, while Mehaffey had wins at the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship and Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship in 2016.

Lily May Humphreys, who won the Girls British Open Amateur Championship at Enville earlier this year, features in a strong English contingent of eight players. Alice Hewson is in contention to make her second Curtis Cup appearance after playing in the winning side in 2016 and Sophie Lamb, who finished as leading amateur at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns to win the Smyth Salver, is also included.

Scotland’s Shannon McWilliam and Connie Jaffrey make up the squad. A former Scottish Ladies Order of Merit winner in 2015, McWilliam finished runner-up in both the Helen Holm Championship and the Scottish Girls Open Championship this year. Jaffrey attends Kansas State University and has won three times in US collegiate golf, while also triumphing in the 2017 Scottish Ladies Amateur Championship.

The final eight player B&I team will be announced on April 26th 2018 and will include the two golfers who are placed highest in the WAGR on April 25th 2018. In addition, a further six players will be selected by The R&A Women’s Selection Committee. Up to four non-travelling reserves will also be announced.

The R&A Introduces New Amateur Championship for Girls

The R&A will introduce a new amateur championship for junior girl golfers when the inaugural Girls Under-16s Open Championship is played at Fulford, near York, from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th April 2018. The new event is part of The R&A’s drive to boost the girls’ game in Britain and Ireland and is designed to provide a clear pathway through to the elite amateur level for leading young players.

Ninety young golfers from countries around the world will tee it up on one of England’s most highly regarded golf courses when the 54-hole stroke play championship takes place in spring next year.

Fulford, hosting an event organised by The R&A for the first time in its history, enjoys a prestigious reputation as a championship venue having staged European Tour events for many years and was the host of the first Women’s British Open when Jenny Lee Smith won the championship in 1976. It has also hosted several amateur events including the European Ladies Team Championship in 2013.

The R&A will stage the Girls Under-16s Open Championship at Fulford for the next three years.

Online entries for the inaugural event will open in February 2018 and can be submitted via www.randa.org/championships.

Another change to the 2018 schedule will see the discontinuation of the Ladies British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. With an increasingly crowded schedule in late summer for the leading women’s amateurs, it has been decided to concentrate resources on developing the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship which is played in June and attracts a world class field.

St Kieran’s are Leinster champions

St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny won the Leinster Finals of the Irish Schools Senior Championship 2018 beating Malahide Community College 4/1 in the decider at Newbridge GC.

The 2017 finalists St Kieran’s, came out on top having been beaten in last year’s Leinster Finals by Blackrock College 4/1. They gained sweet revenge when they beat Blackrock College 3-2 in the semi-final while Malahide CC came through 3½ -1½ against Scoil na mBraithre Kilkenny. St Kieran’s now go forward to represent Leinster in the National Finals which will take place in Monkstown Golf Club on 24th and 25th April 2018.

McGovern secures Seniors Card

Brendan McGovern secured a full European Senior Tour for 2018 when he finished tied 19th behind runaway winner Thaworn Wiratchant in the season-ending MCB Tour Championship in Mauritius.

The Headfort professional carded rounds of 72, 69 and 70 for 211 at Constance Belle Mare Plage to claim a career-best 20th spot in the money list with €89,591, earning him a spot in next year’s US Senior PGA at Harbor Shores in Michigan and the Senior Open at St Andrews.

Tied for the lead with Australia’s Peter Fowler after 36 holes after opening rounds of 66 and 65, Wiratchant (50) fired a sensational 10-under-par 62 to win his maiden European Senior Tour title by eight strokes from Irish passport holder Mark McNulty, who shot 66, 68 and 67, on 23-under-par.

McGovern finished on five-under to secure one of just 20 full cards with Paul McGinley two shots further back in joint 26th after 70, 69 and 74 for 213.

Des Smyth was tied 34th on one-under after 71, 72 and 72 for 215 while Philip Walton carded 76, 73 and 75 to take 47th place on eight-over 224.

American Clark Dennis tied for fifth and was awarded the John Jacobs Trophy for finishing at the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit as well as the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Liam Duggan posthumously earns PGA of Europe award

PGA in Ireland Advanced Professional, Liam Duggan, has been posthumously awarded the President’s Award for Golf Development (Individual) in recognition of his tireless efforts and huge successes in developing golf in schools and promoting inclusivity in Ireland.

Over a period of six years, Liam created an extensive system for golf coaching in schools across Ireland. This allowed thousands of children to access golf that otherwise would not be able to, engaging in a number of projects that created playing opportunities for people of all ages and physical and mental capabilities, all whilst providing employment for many PGA Professionals.

In early 2017, Liam was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition and after a short period of treatment, passed away suddenly at the University Hospital Kerry aged just 37, leaving behind his much loved wife and two children.

Nominated by the PGA in Ireland, Liam was naturally a worthy recipient of the President’s Award for Golf Development, as it aims to acknowledge the work of an individual or specific project that has excelled in developing golf.

Team Ireland Golf Support Process Opens

The Team Ireland Golf scheme, which was established to assist Irish professional golfers in the early stages of their careers, is now inviting applications for support for 2018.

The scheme, administered by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland, provides financial and non-financial support to professional tour golfers, both male and female, wishing to achieve success at an international level.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Sport Ireland provide the funding for the scheme.

Guidelines for the scheme are as follows: James Corcoran - Phone: 01-5054000 or Email: james@gui.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications is Monday 15th January 2018.

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