Short Game: McMullen retains Irish Senior Women’s Close title

Neil O’Briain continues remarkable run while Mark has the power to win at Castle

McMullen retains Irish Senior Women’s Close title

Gertie McMullen from The Island retained the Irish Senior Women’s Close title after a 2and 1 win over East Berkshire’s Laura Webb in the final at Birr. It was a tight match McMullen always had the edge, before closing out the match on the 17th with a 25 foot birdie putt.

McMullen saw off her semi-final opponent Margaret McAuliffe (Ballybunion) on the 14th in the semi-final, as did Webb against Maria O’reilly from Headfort.

McMullen survived a round one fright after been three down to Mallow’s Mary Dowling after nine holes of their first round before a chip-in on the 17th and a birdie at the last helped the leading qualifier secure a one up win.

The Plate was contested between Kate Evans (Royal Co. Down Ladies) and Sheena McElroy (Grange). McElroy gained a one hole lead early in the match but a determined Evans had her sights set on the Shirley McDonald Plate Trophy and she fought back to ensure a 2 and 1 win.

BEST CUP: Quarter-finals: Hollystown 3 Slade Valley 2; Balbriggan 1 Charlesland 4; Howth 3 Powerscourt 2; Beaverstown 2 Elmgreen 3.

O’Brian’s remarkable run continues

Neil O’Briain’s remarkable run of form continued when he successfully defended the Slieve Russell Masters Pro-Am.

The Old Conna professional who racked up four victories in June during his hot spell and is now a genuine contender to top the order of merit rankings at the end of the year.

Trailing overnight leader Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) by five shots following an opening round 72, O'Brianin finished in a blaze of glory with a 68 to win by two from Delgany's Mark Staunton.

Mark has the Power

Mark Power won the the Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship in some style at Castle last week. The 16-year-old from Kilkenny covered the back nine in three under for a final round of 69 and a six-shot win. Power, who opened with a 65 added rounds of 69, 70 an d 69 for 273 to end the week at minus seven.

Co Louth's Thomas Mulligan (67, 69, 69, 75) was his closest challenger. Mulligan began the day level with Power and moved ahead with an opening birdie but his challenged suffered a fatal blow over the next five holes as ran up five consecutive bogeys. Andrew Hickey from Ballyhaunis (72, 70, 70, 70) was third on 282.

Ireland make the perfect pitch

IRELAND won a third consecutive World Cup title in Pitch and Putt in Xixerella, Andorra over the weekend as they defeated Catalonia in the Final. Team captain Eamon Gibney from Castletown, Co Meath was the hero for the Irish team as he won the deciding singles with Marc Lloret on the 18th to secure a 3-2 victory. The first session had the final tied at one each after Gibney and John Ross Crangle from Loughlinstown had lost a foursomes match with Lloret and Enric Sanz by 2 and 1.

John Walsh from Collins, Cork had won his singles match however, with Josep Martinez 5 and 4 to level the scoring, although he would lose to Sanz 2up in his second encounter. Crangle beat Martinez 7 and 6 to bring it down to the meeting of Gibney and Lloret. Gibney held his nerve to close out the match for a 1up victory.

Fletcher eyes up North of Ireland Amateur Open Strokeplay title

Warrenpoint's Jamie Fletcher edged out Galgorm Castle's Michael Reid in a sudden-death playoff to claim the Specsavers Ballymena sponsored North of Ireland Amateur Open Strokeplay title and a place in this month's Tayto Northern Ireland Open. Fletcher shot rounds of 72 and 69 to finish level with Reid (74-67) and one clear of Bangor's Jack Owens (72- 70), North West's James Lindsay (70-72) and Knock's Irish international Colin Fairweather (71-71). Fletcher birdied the 18th twice with his second birdie good enough as Reid could only manage a par. The Northern Ireland Open takes place at Galgorm Castle from July 27th-31th.

65-strong field set for Irish Girls’ Close Championship

A strong field of 65 elite and up and coming players will contest the Irish Girls' Close Championship at Kilkenny Golf Club next week. Killarney's Valerie Clancy and Mairead Martin, Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little), Rachel Thompson (Cork) and Lurgan's Niamh McSherry, all of whom represent Ireland at the Girls' European Team Championships this week in Norway are include in the field.

A notable absentee is the 2014 and 2015 Irish Girls' Close Champion, Annabel Wilson from Lurgan. Wilson finished leading Irish player at the Irish Girls' Open Strokeplay in April, earning her a place at the Junior British Open Championship at Kilmarnock Golf Club on the same dates. Competitors play 36 holes strokeplay with the top 32 players qualifying for the championship matchplay.