Short Game: John-Ross Galbraith seventh in European Amateur Championship

Mark Power’s play-off eagle sees him retain his Irish Boys title at Castleroy

Galbraith finishes strongly in Europeans

Whitehead’s John-Ross Galbraith was best of the Irish in seventh place as England’s Alfie Plant won a dramatic three way play-off with a birdie on the fifth extra hole to become the European Amateur Champion at Walton Heath Golf Club - and book his place in The British Open.

Plant, from Sundridge Park, Kent, produced two crucial birdies to secure his victory. The first was on the 18th in regulation play, and he set it up with an eight iron approach which finished three feet from the hole. The birdie three took his score to 15-under and join Luca Cianchetti and his Italian compatriot Lorenzo Scalise in the play-off.

The trio set off on a circuit of holes one, two and 18 which left Plant and Scalise deadlocked on level par, while Cianchetti, who was one over, was eliminated.

The pair returned to the first and Plant almost snatched the win when his 25-foot birdie attempt popped in and out of the hole. But his par was matched by Scalise and they marched on to the second - where the Englishman scored that other crucial birdie, rolling in a 12-foot putt for victory.


Galbraith, the only Irish player to make the cut who is not on the Walker Cup panel, made eight birdies and a bogey in an impressive final round 65 to move up 22 places to 12-under par after opening rounds of 75, 70 and 66.

Paul McBride did his Walker Cup chances no harm after his good showing in the Amateur Championship - he carded rounds of 70, 69, 72 and 67 for 278 to share 13th place on 10-under par with Naas’ Conor O’Rourke, who shot 67, 70, 70 and 71.

Warrenpoint’s Colm Campbell (70 72 69 71 for 282) shared 32nd place while Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan (70 72 71 70 for 283) came 39th and Tramore’s Robin Dawson 47th after rounds of 68 73 72 72 for 285.

Eagle eyed Power claims second Boys title

Mark Power from Kilkenny holed out for an eagle to claim a stunning victory at the end of a three hole play-off with England’s Jack Cope at Castletroy to retain his Irish Boys title. Becoming the first player since Paul Dunne to win back-to-back Irish Boys Championships, Power wrote his name into the history books and left Limerick with the memory of a lifetime.

After closing with a final round 70, Power had moved level with England’s Cope at the top of the leaderboard, meaning that a three-hole playoff was required to decide the destination of the trophy. Returning to the 16th, Power struck the first blow with a birdie four. Cope found himself two behind having made bogey but immediately erased the deficit when he birdied 17. Power bogeyed and surrendered his advantage.

Deadlocked playing the last, Cope was 15 feet from the pin as Power stood over his approach shot. Power’s odds were drifting but then he produced the shot of the day, holing out from 129-yards to seize the title before setting foot on the final green.

Having begun his title defence with a superb round of 67, Power signalled his intentions but no one could have imagined how it would end three days later.

With Cope having to settle for second, England’s Danny Daniels was third. Rosslare’s John Brady claimed the under-17 title having finished fourth overall.

Continent of Europe win Vagliano Trophy

The Continent of Europe won the Vagliano Trophy biennial women’s amateur international match for the sixth year in a row. They shrugged off the challenge of Britain and Ireland, who started the final day level at 6-6, to make a 4-0 clean sweep of the Saturday foursomes and followed that up by taking the final set of singles 5-3.

All of that added up to a 15-9 victory for captain Anna Roscio, winning in her home country at the Bogogno Golf Club, northwest of Milan.

The Continent of Europe also won the Junior Vagliano Trophy with a 15-3 win over Britain and Ireland in a six-a-side match for under 16s.

Cork’s Claire Coughlan-Ryan captained Britain and Ireland when they lost by only three points two years ago at Malone Golf Club, Belfast and she led the team again this weekend but Europe were much the better team, seemingly more mature at 16 than their opposite numbers.

Thirteen Irish in final Open qualifying

Ireland will have thirteen golfers in Final Qualifying for The Open at five venues across the UK this week. They are among 360 players who will bid for a total of 15 places in the field at Royal Birkdale in Southport from July 16th-23rd.

Five Irishmen - Ruaidhri McGee, Brendan McCarroll, Kevin Phelan and amateur John-Ross Galbraith and Rowan Lester will try for their ticket over 36 holes at Gailes Links in Glasgow with Stephen Grant and David Carey drawn at Hillside, next door to the Open venue.

The Island’s Paul McBride, who rose 16 places to 50th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking following his run to the quarter-finals of the Amateur Championship last week, is the lone Irish entrant at Notts (Hollinwell).

Stuttgart-based Gregory Leech and Tullamore’s Stuart Grehan, the World Amateur number 46, will attempt to qualify at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent while at Woburn, Brian Casey and Gary Hurley will be joined by Castle amateur Alex Gleeson.

Several big names have entered Final Qualifying including Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson at Hillside, Ian Poulter and Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn at Woburn and Vijay Singh at Royal Cinque Ports.

Another award for Leona Maguire

Duke junior Leona Maguire was named the ACC Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year last week, while a total of five Blue Devils won All-ACC Academic Team. Along with Maguire on the All-ACC Academic Team was senior Sandy Choi, junior Gurbani Singh, sophomore Virginia Elena Carta and freshman Ana Belac. Duke and Florida State led all schools with five selections, while Miami had four.

The 2016-17 PING Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) and ANNIKA Award National Player of the Year, Maguire turned in a 70.29 stroke average to lead the nation and was the second-lowest in NCAA history. She won the WGCA Player of the Year award for the second time in three years to become just the fifth collegiate golfer to earn the prestigious award multiple times. Maguire is also the first golfer to win the ANNIKA Award on multiple occasions.

Leinster Seniors for Morrow

Portmarnock’s Adrian Morrow captured the Leinster Seniors Amateur Championship 2017 title at Dun Laoghaire GC. Current Senior International Morrow shot an impressive 74 to add to his first-round score of 73 finishing on 147, three over par.

Maurice Kelly (Naas) six shots behind with a final score of 153 took second place on countback from Richard Joyce (Oughterard).

Mourne’s Hugh Smyth won the Veteran’s Category by one shot from Birr’s Billy Donlon.

Walker Cup hopefuls head to Austria

Ireland have named five Walker Cup squad members in their six-man side for the European Amateur Team Championship, which gets underway at Diamond CC, Austria on Tuesday, July 11th.

Team captain Tony Goode (Lucan) confirmed the Golfing Union of Ireland selection with Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Robin Dawson (Tramore), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead), Paul McBride (The Island) and Conor O’Rourke (Naas) vying for the European title last won by Ireland in 2008.

There is just one change from the team that finished sixth at last year’s championship: Tramore’s Robin Dawson makes his European debut after a season that has seen him scale the world rankings thanks to a hat-trick of runner-up finishes.

With Walker Cup selection looming, this year’s championship represents one of the last chances for players to impress the Britain and Ireland selectors.

Ireland have been victorious on six previous occasions: 1965, 1967, 1983, 1987, 2007 and 2008. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry played on the winning team at Scotland in ‘07 and Lowry played again, in Italy in ‘08, when Ireland completed the double.

Ireland boys return to top flight

Ireland make their return to the top flight of European golf at La Manga (South Course) for the European Boys’ Team Championship, which begins on July 11th.

The Ireland team is: Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick); John Brady (Rosslare); Jack Hearn (Tramore); Robert Moran (Castle); Mark Power (Kilkenny) and Cameron Raymond (Newlands.

Having secured promotion on their way to winning Division 2 last year, team captain Cathal McConn (Roscommon) will be seeking to build on that success.

The top eight teams after two rounds of stroke play qualifying will progress to Flight A - and compete for the Division 1 title across three days and three match play contests.

From last year’s side, Mark Power and John Brady return to the fold. Cameron Raymond will earn his first cap at European level having made his debut for Ireland at the Home Internationals in 2016. Reece Black rewrote the record books when winning the East of Ireland Championship at Co Louth earlier this season. At 17, Black became the youngest ever champion.

Tramore’s Jack Hearn and Castle’s Robert Moran complete the Ireland line-up. The five best cards will count towards the team score during strokeplay qualifying. Ireland are paired with Slovakia for round one and Slovenia in round two. Ireland’s sole victory at the European Boys came in 1998 at Gullane, Scotland.

Ireland team (European Boys Division 1 Team Championship, La Manga, 11-15 July): Reece Black (Hilton Templepatrick); John Brady (Rosslare); Jack Hearn (Tramore); Robert Moran (Castle); Mark Power (Kilkenny), Cameron Raymond (Newlands).