Short Game: Nerveless Flanagan wins at Portrush

Flanagan produced a nerveless putting display to capture the North of Ireland Championship

Julie McCarthy from Forrest Little, winner of the Irish Girls Close Championship at Kilkenny Golf Club.

Julie McCarthy from Forrest Little, winner of the Irish Girls Close Championship at Kilkenny Golf Club.

 
Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan captured the Cathedral Eye Clinic sponsored North of Ireland Championship at Royal Portrush with a 3 and 1 win over Tiarnan McLarnon.
Playing in his first major final, 20-year-old Flanagan produced a nerveless putting display to capture the North of Ireland Championship.
Chasing his first major crown, Flanagan had built a considerable lead by the 10th after winning three holes on the trot.
McLarnon poured on the pressure but Flanagan never flinched. At 14, 15 and 16 he held his nerve and despatched putts of 12, 15 and eight feet.
Afterwards, Flanagan admitted: “If I missed those three putts, I was one down playing 17. It would have been a different story then.”
With putter in hand, Flanagan has always been comfortable and his ease on the greens at Royal Portrush was the major factor in a maiden success.
“The putter is definitely the reason that I won. It saved me,” he said.
Flanagan was celebrating on the double as he became the first Co Sligo player to succeed at a championship since the great Cecil Ewing.
McCarthy gets the better of McSherry at Kilkenny
Spectacular golf was the order of the day as Julie McCarthy from Forrest Little won the Irish Girls Close Championship with a 20th hole win over fellow international Niamh McSherry from Lurgan at Kilkenny GC.
After sharing eagles and birdies over the first 17 holes McSherry held as one hole lead playing the 18th but McCarthy made a geat up and own to take the match to tie holes.
The pair halved the 19th in par and in the end, McCarthy came out on top with yet another par on the 20th hole to win her second Irish Girls’ Close title.
Nenagh top dogs in Munster
Nenagh GC won the AIG Pierce Purcell Shield Munster Final with a 3½-1 win over 2013 All-Ireland winners Thurles. Nenagh had beaten Lisselan in the morning semi-final and followed that with a hard earned win over Thurles.
Nenagh last tasted Munster success in 2010, following on another win in 2008 and they will hoping to claim national honours in Carton House in September. Nenagh previously won the national title in 1989, 91 and 98.
Muskerry captured the Munster AIG Jimmy Bruen Shield for the third time with a 3½-1½ win over Spanish Point. Muskerry had a 2-1 lead and the fourth match decided the outcome when 15-year-old Jack Taylor calmly made a four foot putt on the 17th green to seal the win.
A dramatic semi-final win on the 21st hole against Killarney set Muskerry up for final against Spanish Point, the Clare side had beaten Ballykisteen.  
Barton Cup semi-final line-up confirmed 
The semi-finals of the FBD Barton Cup will see Headfort take on Tullamore while in an all-Dublin other semi-final Lucan will meet Woodbrook.
Headfort had a 3-2 win over Balcarrick while Tullamore beat Seapoint 4-1. Lucan got the better of Rathfarnham by the odd match while Woodbrook edged out New Ross by the same margin.
Downes defeats Whelan in play-off
Sean Downes from Beaverstown GC won the Titleist Footjoy sponsored Leinster Boys U-16 Close Championship, following another very dramatic four-hole play-off against Royal Tara’s Sean Whelan. Both boys produced an excellent score of 71 level par, forcing a play-off over the four tie holes.
Downes sealed the deal on the fourth extra hole to win by one stroke.
Dundalk’s Josh Mackin continued his recent good form to turn in a score of 73, two over par. Mackin won the Leinster Boys U-16 Open Championship when he was also involved in a very exciting play-off against Elm Park’s Robert Galligan.
Five Irish women at Hooks
Ireland will have five experienced representatives, Maria Dunne, Lisa Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey, Jessica Ross and Chloe Ryan, competing in the European Ladies Amateur Championship at Hooks Golf Club, Sweden this week.
Dunne, Mehaffey and Ryan all competed in the Championship last year in Murhof, Austria where Mehaffey finished best of the Irish in tied 24th position.
This year’s Irish contingent will compete amongst a 144 person top class field, however strength is on the Irish side as Olivia Mehaffey and Maria Dunne are coming off a Curtis Cup win over the USA. 
Maguire, Ryan and Ross all have experience of playing golf at international level and will be ready for the challenge. The event is over 72 holes with a cut after 54 holes. 
* This year’s DUGSA competition will be held in Killeen Golf Club, Kill, County Kildare on Monday, August 29th. Details and applications to Greg Coyle 087 2287912.
 
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