July was a busy month as always for action, John Manning starts his look at this phase of the year with matters over in Scandinavia.
For a week in mid-July (until Mark Millar’s Hillview heroics), Liam O’Donovan was Irish Strokeplay champion, European Strokeplay champion and World Strokeplay champion. On Sunday 9th July, O’Donovan holed a lengthy birdie putt from the front of the first sudden death green to defeat reigning champion John Walsh and win the World Strokeplay at the Imjelt course in Norway.
Irish Matchplay champion John Ross Crangle carded 52 on Sunday to fill third slot on 200 while Ireland’s 2016 World Cup winning captain Eamon Gibney was fifth. O’Donovan had forced the play-off by scoring a final round 47, the lowest ever fourth round in championship history.
Eleanor Walsh was victorious in the accompanying ladies event maintaining Ireland’s 100% record in the ladies World Strokeplay. John Walsh’s outstanding record in the World Strokeplay continued. The event has been played three times and the Collins maestro was third (2009), winner (2013) and runner-up (2017). Earlier in the year, Liam O’Donovan and Pacelli Darcy were crowned inaugural World Pairs champions at Tambre in Galicia.
National Intermediate and Junior Strokeplay Championships
A 2014 National Juvenile Inter-County winner with Cork, Conor Irwin was the fourth Douglas player to clinch the National Intermediate Strokeplay Championship after his 147 around Hillview. Two strokes behind, Jimmy Quinn (Fermoy) became the first player in history to be second in the National Junior (2005) and in the National Intermediate (2017) Strokeplay. Deerpark’s Michael Cronin finished third in the National Inter Stroke on 150, four years after he was runner-up in the National Juvenile Inter-County with Kerry.
Keith Power is the first ever Fermoy winner of the National Gents Junior Strokeplay championship. His 149 in Clonmel included 95 for the opening two rounds, which equals the low 36 in the history of the National Gents Junior Stroke - Conor McCarthy in the rain shortened 2013 event. Runner-up Kyle Kennedy's 46 saw the Tipperary Hills man shoot the lowest third round in the National Gents Junior Stroke since champion Will Forristal scored 46 at ESB in 2002. Third placed Mark Jordan (152) narrowly failed to match the feat of his father Richard who won the National Gents Junior Strokeplay championship in 1986.
Cathy Richardson returned 161 at Cement to become the third National Ladies Intermediate Strokeplay champion in history from Co. Meath. Having finished three shots ahead of Lucan’s Philo Condron, Cathy Richardson is the first Bellewstown member to win the National Ladies Intermediate Stroke. Phil Condron fired 164 to be second in the National Ladies Inter Stroke eight years after she was National Over 55s senior champion and won the Inter County with Dublin. Mairead Manning (St. Stephen’s) shot 170 in her gallant attempt to match fellow Corkonians Susanne Venner and Elaine Hannon who won the inter and junior in successive seasons.
Margaret Forde carded 173 to add the National Ladies Junior Stroke to two previous national victories - the Over 55s Strokeplay championship and National Scramble. Margaret Forde is the first winner of the National Ladies Junior Strokeplay championship to represent the Riverdale club. Maureen Delahunty’s second on 180 is the best Royal Meath result in the National Ladies Junior Stroke since Phyllis Allen won at Irish Ropes in 1998. 36 hole leader Sive Shelley narrowly failed to emulate Riverdale club-mate Bridget Shelley, who won the championship in 1992.
Cloghogue's weekend haul of three titles and four seconds is the best-ever by a host club in the P.J. Bell National Ladies and Gents Over 55 Strokeplay championships.
Kathleen Geraghty topped a wonderful record in the National Ladies Over 55 senior grade Stroke - fourth in 2005, second in 2007 and in 2011 and now the champion. The Rathfeigh lady’s 105 beat 2010 National Strokeplay champion Bernie Somers by a couple of strokes and Kathleen is the first National Ladies Over 55 Strokeplay champion to represent a Co. Meath club. Marina O'Rourke finished third, twenty years after she won her first National Strokeplay title at DCBS.
Maree O’Toole won the National Ladies intermediate Over 55 Strokeplay championship on 107 a year after she was second in the senior grade equivalent. These feats add to two previous runner-up finishes (1983 and 2002) in the National Ladies Strokeplay championship. Cloghogue runner-up Valerie Rogers' 113 would have won or tied for the title in all but two of the 14 stagings of the National Ladies Over 55 inter Strokeplay. Patsy O'Donovan finished in the top three for the second time in three years.
It's the first year ever that the three runners-up in the National Ladies Over 55 Strokeplay championships have represented the same club. Nora O'Hare's eight shot winning margin (over Cloghogue club-mate Alice Rice) in the National Ladies Junior Over 55s Strokeplay championship is the highest since 2006. Riverdale’s Liz Forde, who came in third, is a sister of National Junior Strokeplay champion Margaret Forde.
Pat Greene's awesome record in the National Over 55 Senior Grade Strokeplay continues. He now has three wins (the most all-time) and three seconds. Pat’s 94 at Cloghogue was three clear of home player Michael Concannon, a National Matchplay qualifier in 2003. Barry Morrissey finished third 31 years after he was runner-up in the All-Ireland Stroke in Cement.
Former Down player Ronan Hollywood won the National Over 55 Intermediate Strokeplay seventeen years after he reached the National Intermediate Strokeplay final round. The former Cloghogue Club Captain defeated Sean Minogue (Riverdale) in a play-off after a tie on 99. Minogue thus became the first player to be runner-up in both the National Gents Over 55 Senior (2016) and Intermediate (2017) Strokeplay championships. Former Armagh player Denny McGuinness' third best score of 100 would won or tied in eight of the 14 stagings of the National Over 55 Inter Strokeplay.
85-year-old Matt McArdle became the fourth player to win the National Junior Over 55 Strokeplay championship over his home course. Matt’s 104 delivered a narrow win over reigning champion Martin Verbeek (Lough Owel) with another Dutch native Ed Janssen (Lough Owel) third.
Tomorrow: We look at the remaining events from 2017 with the Inter-County and U-16 events most prominent.
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