Shay’s Short Game: Two new caps on Home International team
Edward Rowe clinched the Irish under-14 title at Ballina, as first Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific golf championship announced
Peter O’Keeffe and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty are new caps on the Irish team for the Home Internationals. Photograph: Inpho
Home International team
Irish Amateur Open Champion Peter O’Keeffe and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty are new caps on the Irish team for the Home Internationals as Ireland begin their bid for a fourth successive triumph at Moortown on August 16th.
After completing a three in a row at The Nairn in 2016, Ireland now have the chance to create history. Never before has an Ireland team won four times in succession.
Rafferty finished tied for seventh at the Lytham Trophy and made it to the last 16 of The Amateur Championship, where Paul McBride (The Island) was a beaten quarter finalist. McBride is playing at the Home Internationals for the third time and he comes into the event on the back of a fine performance on the European Tour. Having received an invitation to the Porsche European Open, he made the cut with two shots to spare.
Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan is unavailable for selection as he is competing at the US Amateur Open but there is no shortage of experience in the side. Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) and Robin Dawson (Tramore) have featured on the last three winning teams. Campbell secured the decisive point against England in 2016.
North of Ireland champion Rowan Lester retains his place in the team along with three other members of last year’s victorious side: Alex Gleeson (Castle), Conor O’Rourke (Naas) and Conor Purcell (Portmarnock). Colin Fairweather (Knock) regains his place in the team, having previously been capped for the 2015 Home Internationals at Royal Portrush.
Team captain Tony Goode is feeling confident: “I’m very happy with the team that we’ve selected. I’m really pleased with the two new caps, Peter O’Keeffe and Caolan Rafferty. They both deserve their place in the team. It is an experienced team and hopefully the boys can bring their A game. You need your A-game at the Home Internationals.”
Ireland team (Home Internationals, Moortown, 16-18 August): Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Alex Gleeson (Castle), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Rowan Lester (Hermitage), Paul McBride (The Island), Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Conor O’Rourke (Naas), Conor Purcell (Portmarnock), Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk).
Rowe best in play-off
The Tandragee junior began the day two shots behind after an opening 68 but a second round 72 closed the gap on Hill, who posted 66 and 74. With the top two level on minus two, they returned to the course for a three-hole playoff, beginning at the first. With both players making pars at the first and the fourth, the second of the play-off holes, Rowe and Hill were headed for a dramatic finish down 18.
It was Rowe, winner of the under-13 medal at last year’s championship, who prevailed when he birdied while Rowe could only make bogey.
Third place went to Joseph Byrne from Baltinglass, who finished on 141 after a 73 and a fine round of 68 with Cian McFadden from Headfort next on 148 (73, 75) and Thomas Higgins from Roscommon (75, 75) and Rory Fives from Faithlegg (74, 76) on 150.
Dowling defends at Enniscorthy
The Mid Leinster Women’s Senior and Junior Championships will take place at Enniscorthy Golf Club next week. Lucan’s Molly Dowling returns to defend her title alongside a host of national talent, including six of the victorious Leinster Interprovincial Women’s and Girls’ teams.
The Senior Championship participants will play 36 holes to determine the top 16 qualifiers to progress to the matchplay stages, the Junior Championship matchplay qualifiers will be determined over 18 holes on the same day.
Athenry on the double in Connacht
There must be something in the water in Athenry at the moment as the Club continues to accumulate provincial pennants in 2017 having taken four in 2016 they are now on track to repeat that in 2017.
On Tuesday and Wednesday at Tuam Golf Club Athenry proved to be top of the crop as they lead qualifying and then came through the semi-final and final with flying colours to claim the 2017 Irish Junior Foursomes Provincial pennant after a very keenly contested final with a young Roscommon team.
Then on Thursday at Castlebar the Athenry Fred Daly squad made it a Junior Double in the national Inter Club events when they came through their morning semi-final against Co Sligo by 4-1 and then in a super final overcame Galway 3-2.
Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship launched
The R&A and Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) have announced that the first Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific golf championship will be played at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore from 21st-24th February 2018.
The inaugural event will take place at the New Tanjong course and will provide the most talented women’s amateur golfers in the region with the opportunity to earn an invitation to play in two major championships: the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the ANA Inspiration.
The winner of the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific will be invited by HSBC, which supports women’s golf around the world, to play in the eleventh staging of the HSBC Women’s Championship, the region’s leading women’s golf tournament, being played the following week on the same course at Sentosa next year.
It was also announced that the Royal Golf Club in Japan will be the venue for the championship in 2019 and 2020.
Crooks and Doyle take Ulster titles
Crooks carded rounds of 69, 70 and 66 to win what was formerly the Ulster Youths title by one stroke from Dun Laoghaire’s Colin Woodroofe on two under par 205.
NI manager O’Neill confirmed to play in Open Pro-am
O’Neill joins a host of star names from Northern Ireland’s sport and entertainment world for a day of fun next Wednesday at Galgorm Castle that serves as the curtain-raiser to the four-day tournament to get under way from August 10-13th.
This year the NI Open Pro-am has attracted a stellar line-up of household names who all joined the Ambassador Club to help promote the event alongside long-time Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
O’Neill is a keen golfer when not on Northern Ireland duty and this is the first time the manager will play in the NI Open Pro-am. O’Neill will be joined by the likes of Michael McKillop, who recently won another middle-distance double at the World Para-athletic Championships in London.
Other star names to look out for include former Northern Ireland heroes David Healy and legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings and snooker’s Mark Allen. Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions forward Stephen Ferris and former Armagh and All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville will also be in action at Galgorm.