A report on how it all panned out in Rocklodge is contained below. Click on the above scoreboard to see how everyone else fared this weekend.
The final day of the fifth Irish Open started on time at a sun-drenched Rocklodge course. Apart from one heavy shower the weather gods were good and the course was in excellent condition despite all of the rain.
John Frederick Evans was the top foreign competitor when holding off a strong challenge from Maurits Rangkouw and a strong finishing Remon de Groot. In the Ladies event Mary Murray shot a +1 to match the score of Breda Lonergan but Breda’s lead from yesterday was enough for her to finish on a level par total to win the event. The Gents Senior event was an extremely close affair with Skinner Malone shooting -4 to challenge strongly tying with Sean Minogue for second place behind the winner Pacelli Darcy from Bruff.
Following the finale of these events the attention turned to the Gents championship. Ray Murphy and Eamon Gibney were a little too far behind before play started and an excellent return of -7 for Ray and -4 for Eamon were just too little to challenge. So then there were five that could win the Gents event. Shane Murphy was fast from the blocks and when he sank a 16ft putt on the 7th hole he had moved to -20 for the tournament and was close to the leaders. He sank brilliant putts on the 8th and 9th both for pars to keep him strongly in the hunt.
Frank Dineen sank a eighth footer for par on the 2nd and then while Shane sank his putts on 8 and 9 Frank sank a great 12ft putt on 8 and a 3ft putt on 9 to shoot -5 for the Front Nine to turn for home on -21. Liam Donovan suffered from an excess of spin all weekend. However with the shower of rain and the slicker greens his challenge regained momentum somewhat and with nine to play he also was well in the mix on -19.
Damien Fleming started excellently with 2’s on 1 and 3 but a 4 on the 9th hole briefly halted his charge for his 3rd Irish Open. He turned for home holding a score of -21. Bryan Delaney was unlucky with some of his shots but also had some excellent play and lead at this stage with -22. Bryan birdied the 10th and 11th and when pitching close on 12 he looked to have the initiative but a putt that horseshoed the hole from three feet halted briefly his momentum.
Dineen also missed a short putt on 12 but pitched to 3ft on 13 and then sank a good putt on 14 from 7ft to move to -24. Damien who later said he was just trying to catch Bryan pitched an excellent ball to 12 and with another stroke to the good also stood on the 15th tee-box -24. Shane Murphy’s 20 foot putt on 15 shaved the hole and may have aided Frank Dineen who from just 2ft inside him sank a 18ft putt that slammed into the middle of the hole.
Dineen then pitched to 8ft on 16 and as he said himself he hit the best putt of the day to roll into the middle of the hole to take a slender lead walking to 17. Damien Fleming sank a nice putt on 15 from 10ft to keep the pressure up but then missed a putt on 16, as did Bryan. Dineen pitched long on 17 leaving himself a decidedly difficult chip and his suspect chipping stroke was going to be put to the test – he chipped the ball delicately into the fringe and it trickled down the hill and into the hole leaving him 2 ahead with the last to play.
Damien pitched well into the 17th and held a great putt and also birdied the last hole, as did Bryan. However Frank Dineen has never been outside the top three in the Irish Opens he has played in, had the 18th hole to play. A super pitch landed four feet from the pin and he rolled in the putt to complete an exciting victory.
Dineen had birdied the last 6 holes in a row to pip Irish Open specialist Fleming by one shot with Delaney a further shot behind.
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