Communications & Press Officer Jason O’Connor reports on Day One at the Provincial Strokeplay Championships in both St Bridgets and ESB.
A great closing round of seven under par was the key to victory in the Leinster Intermediate Strokeplay Championships for St Patricks Ruairi Fortune as his 54 hole total of 10 under par gave him a three stroke victory over his nearest challengers. Fortune had trailed 36 hole leader Paul Griffin from Old County by four strokes in advance of the playoff on three under par but moved his moved through the field for victory with his great final round.
Griffin eventually finished the tournament on four under par as a closing round of two under for Portmarnock’s Thomas Judd gave him second on countback after he finished level with Ryston’s Francis O’Connor on seven under par after the 54 holes. There was a Kildare success in the earlier Junior Gents event however as McDonagh’s Aidan Thomas led from start-to-finish in bringing home a winning score of one over par. Thomas was the only player to shoot under par in the first 36 with 105 but despite a closing round of four over par he held off another Kildare player in Ryston’s Phillip Cairn Duff on two over par for the title.
Third went to another St Patricks player in John Tyrell on three over to complete a memorable day for the Enniscorthy club.
FERMOY certainly had a day to remember in ESB as they claimed two of the titles on offer in Munster today namely the Junior Gents in the form of a convincing victory for Keith Flynn while in the Senior Ladies Eleanor Walsh had three shots to spare in retaining her title.
Flynn led pretty much from start to finish, a great second round of six under par giving him the 36 hole lead by five strokes from Tralee’s David Hobbert with eight under par. Although he only improved his score by one stroke in the playoff it was good enough for an eight shot victory as a closing round of one under par gave Raffeen Creek’s Mark Jordan second place overall on countback from Hobbert with a shared score of one under par.
Walsh meanwhile shot six under to retain the Senior Ladies aided in no small part by an opening round of five under where she shared the lead with Collins’ Vera McCarthy after 18. However it was Martha O’Brien of Lakeside who was the player to finish second on three under with Breda White of Tipperary Hills third on level par. The Intermediate Ladies proved to be the most dramatic event as it needed an extra nine holes (for the second successive year) to decide the outcome. Pauline Lucey of Hillview eventually got the better of another Tipperary player in Frances Ryan of Lakeside to come out on top after both players finished the first 36 holes level on five over par (113). Both traded the lead in the playoff but a par on the last hole for Lucey as opposed to a bogey for Ryan gave her the win in the end.
18 hole leader Sarah O’Neill of Collins had to be content with third place in the finish on 115. The other title on offer today went to Tipperary as well, this time Riverdale as a second 18 of level par proved crucial to Margaret Forde getting the better of another Lakeside player in Elaine Quinn by two strokes with a winning score of 114. Quinn had two rounds of 58 as a strong closing round of 55 gave Ballinlough’s Karen Aherne third on 117.
Click on the links above to see how all players fared today in both provinces.