Maher proves he's a master


With the top five leading Irish golfers taking last weekend off, and Stephen Leaney, who has yet to earn his Golf Masters' tour card, winning the Moroccan Open, scores were down considerably on the first week of the 1998 competition.

In fact, 207 teams failed to earn even a single Dream Tour pound at the weekend. But, fortunately, Shane O'Neill of Greystones wasn't one of them. Last week Shane was our only manager to fail to get off the mark when his Losers didn't turn up at either the Qatar Masters or the Doral Ryder Open.

For a brief moment we thought they had made amends, in spectacular style, for their miserable start by finishing 22nd this week, but, alas for our Greystones manager, the Shane O'Neill who appears on our weekly leaderboard turned out to be a resident of Newry, Co Down.

Still, five of the Losers returned to action in Week Two to win a combined ú74,275, with Brent Geiberger their top earner with a cheque for ú38,400 from the Honda Classic in Florida.

Oliver Mawe, of Tralee, and Kevin Marley, of Clontarf, both earned over ú250,000 at the weekend but finished behind Masters 4, managed by Peter Maher of Templeogue, Dublin 6.

Masters 4 is one of only 187 teams, out of 18,076, that includes the winner of the Honda Classic, Mark Calcavecchia, in its line-up. The American earned just ú325,390 in last year's Golf Masters, and so he had his transfer fee cut by ú300,000 to ú2.5 million. Having also won ú11,250 at last week's Doral Ryder Open, Calcavecchia is already well on course to top his 1997 total.

The bulk of the remainder of Peter's winning score, which earns him a fourball in Mount Juliet and a Golf Masters polo shirt, was contributed by Mathias Gronberg, who collected ú70,000 for his third place finish at the Moroccan Open. John Daly won another ú55,000 by tying for fourth in Florida, Tony Johnstone (the second "most employed" player in the competition) took a share of fifth in Morocco and John Huston and Thomas Bjorn won another ú19,250 between them.

Denis Barror's Lammers extended their lead at the top of the overall leaderboard this week by over ú20,000, winning a respectable ú128,250 at the weekend, largely thanks to Vijay Singh's second place finish at the Honda Classic. Paul Coughlan, of Sligo, and George Johnston, of Dublin, came from nowhere this week to fill second and third places on the overall leaderboard, but the identity of our fourth place manager remains a mystery because he/she forgot to leave a name or contact number.

If you recognise the team number, ring the registration line again and let us know who you are. An impressive all-round team performance at this week's Portuguese Open and Bay Hill Invitational might even move our mystery manager to first place overall.