Shay’s Short Game: Tramore’s Dawson eyes Walker Cup

Meanwhole, Eamon Darcy makes a welcome return and GUI name under-age squads

Robin Dawson finished second for the third time in four starts this year in the European Nations Cup in Spain. Photo: Getty Images

Robin Dawson finished second for the third time in four starts this year in the European Nations Cup in Spain. Photo: Getty Images

 

Dawson claims third runner-up finish of 2017

Robin Dawson moved into the reckoning for a Walker Cup place when he finished second for the third time in four starts this year in the European Nations Cup in Spain. The Tramore and Maynooth University player went into the final round at Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande three strokes behind eventual winner and the recent Spanish Amateur Open winner Jack Davidson of Wales.

But while he closed to within one shot of the leader with an eagle at the second hole, it was as close as he would get and he eventually carded a two over 74 to his rival’s 73 to finish four behind on one-under par. Dawson carded rounds of 71, 69, 72 and 74 for 287 while the winner Davidson shot 70, 70, 70 and 73 for 283.

It was another hugely impressive performance from the Welshman, who beat Kevin LeBlanc in the semi-finals of the Spanish Amateur Open before going on to defeat England’s Marco Penge in the final at El Saler in February.

Ireland also had to settle for second place behind Wales in the team standings with Alex Gleeson and Stuart Grehan tied for 16th in the individual standings. Gleeson carded 77, 75, 71 and 80 with Grehan shooting 78, 72, 71, 82 for 303 with Kevin LeBlanc shooting rounds of 79, 81, 75 and 77 for 312.

Dawson finished second two weeks running in February when he was the runner-up in both the South African Strokeplay Championship and the Cape Province Open.

Darcy back on Seniors Tour

Eamonn Darcy is all set to make a welcome return to the European Seniors Tour after two years on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. Darcy, who says “I’m striking the ball well again and can’t wait to return to tour golf,” is scheduled to tee-up at the European Tour Properties Senior Classic in Linna GC, Vanajanlinna, Finland on June 21st-23rd.

Born in Delgany, Co Wicklow, Darcy turned professional in 1968 and played on the European Tour from 1972, winning four European Tour tournaments. His best years were 1975, when he came third on the Order of Merit, and 1976, when he improved to second. He finished in the top 20 on the Order of Merit nine times in total and made the top 100 as late as 1999, when he was 47. In 2002 he joined the European Seniors Tour. He was a member of the European Ryder Cup team on four occasions, including the victorious team of 1987.

Now that his game is in good order again Darcy is also planning a number of corporate days and can be contacted at eamonndarcy@pgatour.com

Broe goes under par at Portmarnock

Chris Broe fired a five-under-par 68 to capture the top prize in the RaboDirect sponsored Hilary Golf Society outing at Portmarnock Golf Club. The current captain of Beech Park was a model of consistency, carding 14 pars, two bogeys and two birdies in a testing wind. Athy’s Jonathan Kelly (3) captured the runner-up prize with a 69 while Royal Dublin’s Liam Hutchinson (1) shot 73 to claim the gross prize.

In the team competition, Broe and Hutchinson were joined by Portmarnock’s John Greene (+ 1) and St Anne’s Paul Behan (1) in posting a winning score of 61.

The final outing of the season and prize presentation takes place at The Royal Dublin on Friday next April 7th.

GUI name under-age squads

Ireland’s under-16 squad begin their season with the annual Quadrangular Tournament at Prestatyn in Wales from April 11th-13th. Eight players will face their counterparts from Wales, England and The Netherlands with Connemara’s Luke O’Neill and Aaron Marshall from Lisburn the only two still available from the side that finished second to the Dutch in 2016.

Josh Black (Hilton Templepatrick), Patrick Callaghan (Castle Dargan), Sean Doyle (The Island), Jack Egan (Muskerry), Josh Mackin (Dundalk) and Odhran Maguire (Slieve Russell) complete the Irish line-up for this year’s tournament, which is run on a round robin format.

The sides play four foursome matches each morning followed by eight singles with 6.5 points needed for an overall win.

In May, a squad of four will travel to Lancashire for the Fairhaven (Under-18) Trophy, which takes place over three days. Beginning on Friday, May 5th the 120-strong field face two rounds of stroke play qualifying before the top 34 and ties progress to the 36-hole finale on Sunday, May 7th.

Fairhaven Trophy, May 5th-7th: Sean Enright (Limerick), Jack Hearn (Tramore), Andrew Hickey (Ballyhaunis), Jack Madden (Dungannon).

Brennan wins first College title

Shannon’s Daniel Brennan claimed his first collegiate win with a one-shot victory in the Towson Spring Invitational in Maryland last week. Bethune-Cookman (291-303=594, +18) finished fourth overall in the final team standings. The Wildcats were just three strokes away from third place behind Fairleigh Dickinson (295-296=591, +15).

Playing out of Bethune-Cookman University in Florida, the 22-year-old carded rounds of 69 and 73 to win by a shot on two-under par at Prospect Bay Country Club in Grasonville.

It was a second top five of the season for Limerick-born Brennan, who transferred to Bethune-Cookman after one semester at the University of Toledo.

Team Ireland supports 12 golfers

The Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) is doing whatever it can in challenging economic times to back Ireland’s up-and-coming professionals and last week the CGI announced that 12 aspiring Irish golf professionals will split €94,500 in grant aid via the Team Ireland Golf scheme.

But while the grants ease the financial pain of competing around the world, the allocation is down €10,500 on 2016 and €155,500 less than the €252,000 awarded to 29 players in 2004.

Stephanie Meadow top the list with €18,000 with West Waterford’s Gary Hurley and Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge, both full members of the European Challenge Tour, receiving €14,000 each while Sunshine Tour School graduate Neil O’Briain gets €4,500 and two European Challenge Tour starts.

Newcomers such as Naas’ Jack Hume, Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy and Headfort’s Rory McNamara – in addition to their grant allocations – will also benefit from the playing opportunities afforded to them by Team Ireland.

Gavin Moynihan (€4,500) and Cormac Sharvin (€7,000) retain their funding support for a second year and get four Challenge Tour starts each while Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee (€7,500), Waterford’s Kevin Phelan (€ 7,500) and Royal Co Down’s Reeve Whitson (€4,000) complete the Team Ireland lineup in 2017.

Slieve Russell Pro-Am to mark 25 years in 2017

The Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am, always one of the highlights of the PGA in Ireland schedule, celebrates its silver anniversary in 2017. Organisers of the two-day event at the Co Cavan venue will mark the occasion by inviting all the previous winners back to compete in this year’s tournament which will be staged on June 26th and 27th.

“Hosting the annual Pro-Am is the most significant date in our annual golfing calendar,” said Tony Walker, General Manager, Slieve Russell. “This year we are particularly delighted to be celebrating our 25th anniversary, making us one of the longest running Pro-Ams on the Irish PGA schedule. We all look forward to welcoming back the golfers who have made this event so popular over the years.”

The event has been well supported by PGA professionals and has always attracted some of Ireland’s leading lights. Ryder Cup hero, Eamonn Darcy has a hat trick of wins to his name, claiming first prize in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Christy O’Connor Jnr shared first place in 1998 while another of Ireland’s Ryder Cup heroes, Philip Walton, has won it twice in 2002 and 2004.

Waterville’s David Higgins, another three-time winner, holds the record for the lowest winning score, 12 under par, set in 2010. It is a mark that has remained firmly out of reach in recent years.

Neil O’Briain made it back-to-back successes in 2016 by firing rounds of 72/68 to finish on four under par.

Entry for the 2017 Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am costs €750 which includes a practice round on the Sunday followed by the par-three tournament, barbecue and access to a very special golfing entertainment package.

To enter a team for this event please contact: Gordon Smyth or Aine McCluskey at 00353 49 9526444 or email: gordon.smyth@slieverussell.ie or aine.mccluskey@slieverussell.ie.

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