Short game


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Lyons leads them home in Galway Bay Pro-Am

FOR the third year in succession the first prize at the Galway Bay Golf Pro-Am has been claimed by an amateur.

On an extremely difficult day with winds of 25mph gusting to 40mph amateur international Joe Lyons managed to hole some putts early on which gave him something to hold on to as the weather deteriorated.

A score of 31 points (+5) may not seem all that noteworthy but it was good enough to take the spoils. Lyons was playing with the runner-up, Leaving Certificate student Ronan Mullarney who had 29 points (+7). Mullarney beat PGA professionals Hugh O’Neill and Raymond Ryan by virtue of a better back nine.

Indeed he may well have won the overall event were it not for a slice of good luck for the winner on the 18th. After pulling his drive left of the fairway Lyons was fortunate to find his ball perched between two sets of gorse bushes. Had that ball been lost it would probably have been curtains for Lyons and Mullarney would have been victorious. Mullarney played the back nine in level par which was a truly remarkable effort given the worsening conditions on the day.

R&A offer a helping  hand in Cambodia

A series of junior golf clinics which are believed to be the first of their kind in Cambodia were held recently with the support of the RA.

The coaching clinics ran from July to December and proved very popular with more than 40 children, many of whom had never played golf before, taking part at the Golf Village Driving Range in Phnom Penh. The clinics are scheduled to resume this month.

The sessions were organised by the Cambodian Golf Federation and delivered by Roger Hunt, the former Australian Amateur team captain, who has been advising the body for the last five years.

The courses this month will be open to newcomers but returning students will receive slightly more advanced coaching to further develop their skills and understanding of the rules and etiquette of the game.

Busy year  beckons for the Grays in Howth

IT IS sure to be a memorable year in the Gray household in 2013. Not only will there be one captain under the one family roof for the next 12 months . . . there will actually be two.

For this coming year Michael Gray and his wife, Therese, will be captain and lady captain of Howth Golf Club. It is the first time in the history of the club that a husband and wife have held the honour of being captains in the same year. Last Saturday they held their drive-in following a four person team event.

Bird ready to take flight again in Sligo

YOUNG County Sligo golfer Paddy Bird had a mixed year in 2012.

On the golf course the 12-year-old had an incredible start to the year.

He started the golfing season playing off a handicap of 25 and very quickly made tremendous strides on the links of Rosses Point.

By July, just three and a half months later, he was playing off 13 – having reduced his handicap by an incredible 12 shots.

Sadly, the youngster from Ballicar – who has worked hard under the tutelage of assistant club pro Martin McTiernan – then fractured his hip which effectively terminated his golf for the rest of the 2012 season.

Now 13 years of age, he is back to full fitness and ready to hit the fairways once again and no doubt start reducing his handicap even further once again.

Reid knocking on the door in Knightsbrook

THERE was no early-year luck for Seán Reid on the fairways of of Knightsbrook over the weekend.

Looking to start off 2013 on a good note he twice had to settle for runners-up spot in the club’s 13-hole singles competitions, this despite matching the winner’s score.

On Saturday, the nine handicapper shot 29 points only to lose out to Brendan Green, also playing off nine, on a countback.

Then on Sunday, he did even better firing 31 points only to miss out to Joseph Smith (14) who also recorded 31 points.

Maybe it’ll be third time lucky next weekend.

Kelly cruises to Orange Bowl win

England’s Patrick Kelly is the new Junior Orange Bowl champion, going wire-to-wire for a stunning 13-stroke victory at the Biltmore Golf Course in Miami, USA.

Kelly began the final round with a seven-stroke advantage and was never in trouble. Even when USA’s Cory Pereira holed out from greenside sand at the sixth to get within five, Kelly responded with a birdie at the seventh. He unleashed one of his many fine long iron shots of the tournament which flew through a 25mph crosswind to rest within six feet of the hole.

Kelly concluded his final round with a birdie on the 17th and then a chip- in eagle-three at the final hole.

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