Congratulations to our very own Sean Desmond on winning the 36 hole Douglas senior scratch cup – also well done to Eoghan Long on finishing 3rd
Source: Irish Times, May 16th, Philip Read
Peter Kilcullen, chief customer advocate Allianz, with Allianz Irish Times Officers’ Challenge regional winners Monkstown Golf Club officers Colm Ó Riain, president, Martin Walsh, captain, Triona O’Loghlin, lady captain, and Philip Reid, golf correspondent of The Irish Times. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
On the 11th hole of the wonderfully natural parkland terrain of Cork Golf Club, there’s a plaque beside what is known as “Seve’s Tree” – a Spanish chestnut. The words engraved on the blue plate recall a prodigious drive executed on that hole in an exhibition match in August of 1983 when Seve Ballesteros used a persimmon driver to belt a ball which only came to rest – almost out of sight – some 332 metres down the fairway.
Those playing in the regional qualifier of the Allianz Irish Times Officers’ Challenge on the pristine course – designed by Alastair MacKenzie, the surgeon-turned-golf course architect who numbers Augusta National among his creations – made sure to cast an eye in the direction of the plaque, perhaps seeking to gain inspiration from those old endeavours of the late, great Spanish maestro.
As it transpired, on a beautifully sunny day down by the mouth of the River Lee, it was Monkstown Golf Club – featuring a well-balanced team of captain Martin Walsh off six, lady captain Triona O’Loghlin off 27 and president Colm Ó Riain off 22 – who triumphed with a fine score of 82 points, although host club Cork fought the good fight to also qualify along with near-neighbours Fota Island and Limerick as they progress to the national final at The K Club in August.
O’Loghlin proved to be Monkstown’s secret weapon, as it were. The lady captain – back enjoying her golf after a knee replacement – contributed two birdies (nett eagles) which were like winning lotto tickets. On the third, a Par 4 of 253 metres off the red stakes, O’Loghlin hit a drive followed by a wedge approach to three feet and sank the putt; then, on the Par 3 13th, she hit a five-iron to six feet and sank the downhill putt.
“I was a bit anxious at the start,” admitted O’Loghlin, although she attributed her good performance to a club committee outing to Killarney the previous weekend which enabled her to get some tournament sharpness in.
Walsh, a six-handicapper who won an All-Ireland Jimmy Bruen Shield medal with the club at Portstewart in 1995, was a solid influence – including a birdie at the Par 5 11th, on the hole where Seve’s plaque is a feature – while Ó Riain also contributed with four pars (nett birdies) on the card in the two players to count three-player team format.
In ensuring local knowledge played its part, Cork – featuring captain Rob Reardon off eight, lady captain Nuala Lyden off 12 and 78-year-old president Pat Tuttle off 22 – finished with 80 points to claim the runner-up position on the day and ensure progression to the national final at The K Club. It’s a course Reardon is looking forward to getting reacquainted with having played off the Ryder Cup tees oat the Palmer Course on the Monday following that magnificent showpiece of matchplay back in 2006.
Although there was some fine dovetailing in compiling the team score, Lyden was especially valuable on the back nine where she contributed on every hole including six pars on that stretch back to the clubhouse.
Fota Island – captain Michael O’Driscoll playing off five, president Joe Hayden (14) and lady captain Noreen Corbett (29) – came in with 74 points to claim the third qualifying position with the team’s play of the Par 3 seventh hole particularly impressive. There, O’Driscoll and Corbett each hit their tee shots inside three feet which produced a seven pointer that would stand them in good stead.
In a battle for fourth place, Limerick edged out Adare Manor only on countback. Limerick – captain Noel Sexton (22), lady captain Ailish Dilliger (11) and president Dee O’Malley (29) – played solidly throughout. However, O’Malley’s late contribution, scoring on each of the closing six holes, would prove decisive in giving them a ticket to the finals in Straffan.
Peter Kilcullen, the Chief Customer Officer for Allianz, hosted the qualifying tournament and paid tribute to Matt Sands, the general manager of Cork Golf Club, and the staff for the marvellous course set-up with the dry spell up to the event ensuring fiery fairways and fast greens which provided an excellent test.
The remaining regional qualifiers will take place at Malone Golf Club in Belfast (June), Mount Juliet in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny ( July), Galway Bay (August) with the national final scheduled to be played at The K Club on August 28th.
Results (Munster region qualifier at Cork Golf Club)
84pts – Monkstown Golf Club (Martin Walsh, Triona O’Loghlin, Colm Ó Riain).
82pts – Cork Golf Club (Rob Reardon, Nuala Lyden, Pat Tuttle).
74pts – Fota Island Golf Club (Michael O’Driscoll, Noreen Corbett, Joe Hayden).
72pts (on countback) – Limerick Golf Club (Noel Sexton, Ailish Dilliger, Dee O’Malley).