2018 National Ladies Strokeplay Preview: Collins in Focus

A look at Sunday's host club

2018 National Ladies Strokeplay Preview: Collins in Focus image

Just a short note to let Waterford know that the Qualifying for the National Strokeplay on Saturday takes place in Cunnigar @ 9.30.

There is no Qualifying for the Leinster and Munster Under 16 Matchplay and Strokeplay.

Ahead of this Sunday’s National Ladies Strokeplay Championships in Collins, John Manning looks back at previous National Championships held at the Cork City club and also some of the leading players to come from the club.

The Collins club is one of the world's oldest Pitch and Putt courses. The Collins course was laid out in the Irish Army's Camp Field (on the Northside of Cork city) in the mid-1940s and opened in September 1945. The club has always had a strong link with the Army through the neighbouring Collins Barracks. This short course, with small greens, affords panoramic views of the city of Cork.

A 9-hole course originally, Collins was extended to an 18 hole layout within a year of opening. Many top class greenkeepers have maintained Collins as a fine test of Pitch & Putt down the decades. MJ O'Brien (Collins) was one of the top Pitch & Putt players of his generation. O’Brien won seven National Matchplay (confined to the Munster clubs) titles in the pre P.P.U.I days of the 1940s and 1950s.

Cork nowadays boasts 22 wins in the National Gent’s Inter-County championship. The Leesiders’ first win came in Collins’ first ever national championship back in 1964 (on 26th July 1964 to be precise). Cork (Michael O’Riordan, Michael Crowley, Mattie McDonnell and TJ O’Riordan) scored 797 in the 72 hole event to finish 27 strokes clear of Dublin (Gerry Howard, Johnny Crean, Tom Cooney, Tony McEwan) on 824.

10 counties competed in that far-off Gents Inter-County championship of 54 years ago. Mattie McDonnell came in as a late replacement for Cork and scored 198 (-18) in the marathon 72 holes singles Strokeplay format - all scores to count. Tom Murphy (Ballincollig) was originally selected but he was unable to take his place. Reigning National Matchplay champion T.J. O'Riordan fired 194 while Michael O'Riordan and Michael Crowley each returned 202.

31 years were to elapse before another national championship was held in Collins. To celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary, the Carrolls Gents National Strokeplay Championships, were played at Collins, on July 8th/9th 1995. Marking Collins’ Golden Jubilee was a new (54 hole) format for the National Gents Strokeplay championship. Home favourite Chris Scannell (Collins) shot 140 for 54 holes (including a stellar final round of 44) to clinch the senior championship by five shots from 36 hole leader, Sean Harkins (Shandon). Ray Murphy (Templebreedy) finished third on 146.

Mark Reynolds from Ballykilty Manor returned 162 to become the new Junior Champion while the Intermediate Championship went to Cork and E.S.B.'s Michael Herlihy (148). Lakewood’s Trevor White (Lakewood) carded 150 to finish Intermediate Runner-Up whereas Gary Roche of the host club scored 153 for third place. Sean Buttimer (Brinny) returned 164 to clinch the Junior silver medal (on the last 18 from Stackallen’s Kevin Colfer).

Six over 55 National Strokeplay Championships were decided at Collins in 6th/7th October 2012. Sheelagh Elmes (Portmarnock) was round in 106 to take the Ladies Senior crown by one shot from Mairead O'Toole (Poulaphouca) on 107. The Intermediate Grade resulted in a triumph for Mary Sherry (St. Bridget's) on 113 ahead of Collins’ own Margaret Twomey with 116. There was a play-off in the Ladies Junior Grade and Margaret Forde (Riverdale) beat Noreen Ryan (Skyrne) in extra holes after a tie on 121 following the regulation two rounds.

Loughlinstown players dominated the All Ireland Gent’s Senior (Over 55) Strokeplay Championships, at Collins on Sunday 7th October 2012. Paddy Kelly (Loughlinstown) fired 95 to pip club colleague Tommy Mason by a single stroke. It was exceptionally close in the Gent’s Intermediate championship. Weeshie Murphy (24) of Pfizer beat Templebreedy’s Sean O'Brien (26) and Anto Grendon (28) from Rathfeigh in a nine hole play-off after all three scored 101 for the regulation 36 holes. Current PPUI President Mervyn Cooney (St. Patrick's) finished on 103. Finbarr Looney ensured one of the titles stayed at home when the Collins player recorded 105 in the Gent’s Junior Grade to beat Dan O'Connor (Bruff) by three.

Mother and son Mary Daly & Alan Daly (St. Stephen's) fired +15 to win the National Mixed Foursomes at Collins on Sunday October 4th 2015. 2014 Munster champions Lisa O'Connor & Tony Blake (Tralee) were the runners-up with +12. Linda Murphy (Collins) and Ray Murphy (St. Anne's) secured Best Gross on +8 – their third Best Gross victory in the event. Top 1st 18 was returned by Elaine Quinn & Mick Fennell (Lakeside) with +7 while Niamh O'Donovan & Jerry O'Donovan (Collins) and Dina Carton & Mick Cunningham (Kilbeggan) were joint winners of leading 2nd 18 on +6.

Five-time individual national champion John Walsh is the top Gents player at Collins in the modern era. A European championship and World Cup winner with Ireland, Walsh has amassed 14 National Inter-County winners’ medals with Cork in two decades of dominance at the pinnacle of competitive Pitch & Putt. Cork Inter-County stars Vera McCarthy, Patsy O’Donovan, Linda Murphy and two-time National Championship runner-up Siobhan Scannell are among Collins’ leading lady players.

Tomorrow: We preview the three Ladies events this weekend themselves.