Hughes breaks American grip on Seniors title
England’s Bryan Hughes of Hesketh Golf Club in Southport has broken the streak of American winners of the British Senior Amateur, coming from seven shots behind to win by two shots at Sunningdale Golf Club. Ireland’s Adrian Morrow finished in a tie for 13th place, seven shots behind Hughes.
Americans have enjoyed a long run of success at the British Seniors, winning the last seven championships (including three by defending champion Chip Lutz) and 17 of the last 21 dating back to Joel Hirsch of Chicago in 1996.
And once again players from the USA dominated the leaderboard, taking nine of the top 12 places. But Hughes put one on the board for the Home Nations, becoming the first Englishman to win since Roy Smethurst in 2003.
Hughes shot rounds of 74, 73 and a final round of three-under 67 which tied for the low round of the tournament for a total of 214. After an early bogey, Hughes played flawlessly, recording birdies at five, 12, 15, and 18, allowing him to post a clubhouse number that no one in the three groups behind him were able to match.
Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Georgia – the number one ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings – was looking for his first British Seniors win. Playing in the group immediately behind Hughes’, Hanzel needed a final-hole birdie to tie but instead made bogey, finishing with a round of even-par 70 to go with earlier rounds of 77 and 69 which put him in a second place tie at six-over 216 with Gene Elliott (77, 69, 70) and Steven Williams.
Williams of South Africa had the last chance to tie Hughes but he met a similar fate, needing birdie to tie only to make bogey and finish in a tie for second. Williams closed with a 73 after carding 71 and 72 in the first two rounds.
Morrow, from Portmarnock, recovered from a disappointing opening round of 79 with rounds of 72 and 70 for 221.
Chip Lutz, the defending champion and three-time winner, closed with a three-over-par 73 to finish eight-over-par overall and was tied with the 2014 champion Brady Exber in joint seventh.
Hughes also earns an exemption into the 2018 Senior Open Presented by Rolex being staged at the Old Course, St Andrews from July 26th – 29th, while the 2018 Seniors Amateur Championship will take place at Royal Porthcawl from August 1st-3rd.
Limerick edge Ballybunion in Senior Cup final
Limerick took the AIG Senior Cup Munster Final at Tralee with a dramatic win over Ballybunion, after overcoming Mallow in the semis thanks to Justin Kehoe’s heroics in the the 19th.
Owen O’Brien and Ciaran Vaughan won their matches to give Limerick a 2-0 lead but David O’Driscoll and Senan Carroll balanced the card for Ballybunion. Kehoe was he hero again as he won the battle of endurance on the 17th agains Peter Sheehan.
Tralee won the AIG Barton Shield Munster Final with a great display of golf against Castletroy. The hosts defeated holders Cork in the semi-final by four holes. They took an early lead in the final with the first pairing of Darren O’Sullivan and Eoghan O’Donnell starting well and holding a two holes lead at the turn.
Fergal O’Sullivan was partnered by Ger Deegan who came in for Graham Spring in the final in the second Tralee pairing, and they birdied the first and second to get off to the perfect start. The pair were three under at the turn and six up on their opponents. Tralee extended their lead slightly and although Castletroy mounted a comeback the deficit was too great and Tralee eventually won by eight holes.
Connacht double for Galway
After an absorbing Connacht Senior Cup final that had numerous swings it was experience blended with some outstanding youth that saw Galway squeeze over the line in a third tie hole against hosts Galway Bay.
Joe Lyons got Galway’s opening point with a 2 and 1 win over Damien Glynn which was canelled out by Michael Joseph Kennelly beating Liam Nolan 3 and 1. One each became two each when Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay) beat Ronan Mullarney (Galway) on the 18th and Luke O’Neill (Galway) holed from 30feet for a birdie three also on 18 to claim a come from behind win against Michael Shiel.
While that drama came to a conclusion the top match was now on the third tee – their 21st hole – and unfortunately a lost tee shot led to a double bogey six for Galway Bay’s Jack Tuohy allowing Liam Power, his Interprovincial colleague, to seal the win with a bogey five.
The senior cup win made it a double for the Galway team as they also won the Barton Shield on Saturday beating Co Sligo In the final.
Having overcome a nervous encounter with host club Galway Bay in their semi-final, where they eventually won at the first tie-hole, they simply outplayed Co Sligo from start to finish to run out emphatic nine holes winners in the final.
First victory of the season for Dillon
Joe Dillon from Headfort GC edged out Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny) to win the Fred Daly Memorial Pro-Am at Balmoral GC. Dillon carded a two under par 67 to beat Bolger by a shot at the Holiday Inn Belfast sponsored event.
“It’s a course I feel that I should have won at before,” said Dillon who is finally returning to full health following recent bout of food poisoning. Starting his round at the 10th, Dillon played his opening nine holes in one over par 35 but he clicked into gear at the turn, firing a four birdie salvo that set him on course for his first win of the season.
Lurgan pair win Ulster Foursomes
The Lurgan pair of Steven Kelly and David Sutton shot 70 and 74 for a 144 total to win the Ulster Scratch Foursomes Championship at Malone GC by one shot from Nicholas McClay and Neil McKinstry (Cairndhu), who followed their 73 in the first round with 72 in the second round for 145.
Third place went to the Warrenpoint pair of Paul Reavey and James Fletcher who carded a best of the tournament 69 but flowed with a disappointing 79 for 148. William and James Russell from Clandeboye with 73 and 77 and Peter Kerr and Jamie Knipe from Royal Portrush with 73 and 77 tied for fourth place on 150.
Leinster Boys’ title for Kennedy
Max Kennedy added a 75 to his course record 67 to win the Multi Cargo Ltd sponsored Leinster Boys Under-16 Amateur Open Championship by four shots at Beaverstown.
The Royal Dublin player started the day six shots ahead and turned in level par before bogeying three holes on the back nine as Beaverstown gave up just three sub-par scores over the 36 holes
His two under par total was still good enough for a comfortable win over Holywood’s Tom McKibbin, who closed with a four-under 68 in windy conditions to finish second on two-under 146.
After bogeying the first hole, McKibben birdied the second and fifth to turn in one under and finished well with birdies at the 15th, 17th and 18th.
Laytown and Bettystown’s Alex Maguire shot a second successive 73 to finish third behind McKibbin on countback with Muskerry’s Jack Egan fourth on four over after a 72.
Moran best of the under-13s
Castle’s Alan Moran won the Titleist FootJoy Leinster Boys Under-13 Series final with an excellent 32 gross points at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club. The 14-handicapper was cut two shots to 12 after he finished two points better than Powerscourt’s Aiden O’Carroll as Ardee’s Ben Caffrey claimed third, two points further behind.
Dun Laoghaire’s Ethan Sutton (27) was fourth with Carton House’s Calum Ward, Baltinglass’ Robert McHugh and Malahide’s Gavin O’Neill tied fifth with 26.
Castle Barna 27-handicapper Adam Kelly won the best nett with 45 points, edging out Elm Park’s Shane Cowhey, who was playing off 26, on a countback. Waterford’s Ben O’Neill took the ‘Longest Drive honours’ as Kilkenny’s Sean Keenan won ‘Nearest the Pin’.
In the putting contest, Dun Laoghaire’s Ethan Sutton put his local knowledge to good use as he had 16 putts to edge out Royal Curragh’s Calum Duane.