National Gents Strokeplay Championships, Ryston, July 24-25 2010
Ending the decade where it began in Ryston, John Manning takes a look back to the 2010 event at the Newbridge which produced a fairly memorable conclusion to the Senior event on the Sunday.
There was no denying Eddie Carey’s pedigree as a Pitch & Putt player of enduring quality. There had been Scratch Cup wins by the sackful and a Leinster Strokeplay success at St. Bridget’s in 2008. Kildare Championship victories had become almost routine and Eddie was awarded his international cap at Sant Cebria in the 2002 International Challenge. National Inter-County gold medals were secured with his beloved Kildare at Tralee in 1988 and at McDonagh in Millennium year.
But the lack of an individual National Championship win still rankled – his closest call in the Strokeplay had been fourth behind John Cahill at Stackallen in 2001. 13 years after Jason Hannon beat Eddie in the 1997 National Matchplay decider at McDonagh, redemption was at hand. Eddie carded a fantastic 42 final round to tie John Walsh after the regulation 54 holes in the 2010 National Strokeplay at Ryston. Pitching superbly, Carey then won the play-off, 23 to 24, to finally get his hands on the Holy Grail.
Scoring was definitely better during the second session on that July Sunday nine years ago, with thirteen of the top 20 coming from the afternoon groups. Playing alongside Fermoy’s Robbie Donovan in the final two ball of the day, John Walsh (Collins) opened with a sizzling 42 and added a 44 to take the 36 hole lead on 86 (still the joint best 36 hole tally in National Strokeplay history). That was one ahead of Sean Goggin (Cement) who had scored 43 and 44 in the morning wave. Loughlinstown’s JR Crangle lurked on 88; having added 46 to a 42 that matched Walsh’s twelve under opener.
The cut at the 2010 National Gent’s Strokeplay at Ryston fell at 93. Of the 20 players who qualified, six were National Strokeplay champions, four held National Matchplay titles and another was an Over 55s victor. Confirming the depth of quality on show,the final 18 would also feature a former two-time National Juvenile Strokeplay runner-up and three more players who would go on to become National Matchplay and/or National Strokeplay kingpin in the future.
Although more closely associated with Athgarvan, Eddie Carey was playing out of St. Bridgets in 2010. One can only speculate on the benefit Eddie enjoyed from being paired with St. Bridget’s club-mate Frank Ryan in that crucial third round. The Kildare pair were a cumulative 21 under par for that final round, with 2007 National Over 55s senior grade Strokeplay champion Frank going round in 45. Carey jumped up from fifth spot into the joint top slot with his 12 under salvo.
Carey and Walsh were both two under par after four of the nine holes play-off. Carey skipped into the lead with a birdie from three feet at the 5th only for Walsh (who missed a few greens during the extra holes) to chip-in for birdie from over the back of the 6th. John was unlucky to lip out with his putt for a two at the 7th and Eddie made the crucial move with a five-footer for birdie at the 8th. The Corkman saved par with a chip and putt after pitching short of the 9th to leave Eddie with two putts for the Championship.
These he executed with a minimum of fuss to spark emotional scenes of celebration in Newbridge as Eddie Carey was finally crowned National Gents Strokeplay champion. With his company (Cooney’s Home Bakery) closely associated with the event that year as sponsor, current P.P.U.I. President Mervyn Cooney made the presentation alongside then President Myles McMorrow (Lakeside).
The 132 totals posted by Eddie and John that Sunday constituted a new 54-hole scoring record for the National Gent’s Strokeplay Championship. That mark stood until Liam O’Donovan’s heroics at Tullamore three years ago in 2016. Eddie’s 42 third round tied the record lowest by a Champion. William Buckley fired 42 at Tullamore in as did Sean Downes at Royal Meath two years later. That feat has since been replicated by Anthony O’Loughlin at Douglas in 2012. Jonathan Goodall (Tralee) also scored 42 in the Ryston final round to finish just a single shot outside the Carey/Walsh play-off and pip Sean Goggin for third spot.
Ironically, John Walsh and Eddie Carey had tied near the top end of the National Strokeplay before. Walsh denied Carey a medal at Stackallen nine years earlier when the Corkman’s 46 final round earned third spot on the tiebreaker.
Declan McCarron (then Tralee) who is now prominent on the Dutch circuit, dominated the 2010 Intermediate Championship. Three strokes clear after 36 with a 15 under par 93, the Kerryman fired a final round 48 for a 54-hole aggregate of 141 and a two stroke victory over Ciaran Boland of Tullamore (47, 49, 47). Four players tied on 144 with Sean Galvin (Tullamore) shooting a phenomenal 45 in the play-off to secure the bronze medal on countback from Denis O'Sullivan (Douglas), Brian Cahill (Lakeside) and Liam Myers (St. Annes).
Four players were tied at the top of the Junior leaderboard heading into the final round. Ferbane’s Aengus Coughlan scored a fine first round 48 and added a 53 to post 101 – the same mark as Kevin Doyle (St. Patricks) whose second round was an impressive 47, Glenville’s Dean Gray (50+51) Collinstown’s Stuart Tarleton (49+52). Daniel Clinton (Cement) was in joint seventh place after 36 holes but a superb 48 final round catapulted the Co. Louth man into top spot on 151, two clear of Aengus Coughlan with Kevin Doyle another shot back in third. Daniel would subsequently go on to capture the intermediate championship at RGSC in 2012.
The Gents Strokeplay returns to Ryston nine years after it was last played there in 2010. This is a relatively short gap but by no means the shortest in history. Rocklodge (1962, 1964, 1966, and 1968) holds the record. Ierne hosted the event in 1968 and in 1972 for a four year interval. It was five for both RGSC (2007-12) and Tullamore (2003-08) and eight for St. Annes (1976-84).
John Walsh has qualified for this year’s Championship and will be joined at Ryston by nine more of the players that featured in the 2010 senior final round – Sean Goggin, John Cahill, John Ross Crangle, Damien Fleming, Bryan Delaney, Ian Dillon, Anthony Malone, Thomas Lynch and Kieran Dunscombe.
Thanks to Pat Tinsley for supplying the photo accompanying this article.
Tomorrow: We will preview the Intermediate and Junior events on Saturday.
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