Peter O’Keeffe wins Mallow Scratch Cup thanks to great second round

Peter O’Keeffe wins Mallow Scratch Cup thanks to great second round

Peter O'Keeffe (Douglas) in action in the MAllow Scratch Cup, sponsored by Hegarty Building & Civil Engineering. Picture: Niall O'Shea

PETER O'KEEFFE was the winner in Mallow last Sunday, pipping local James Sugrue to win the Mallow Scratch Cup. 

A four under par second round helped O’Keeffe claim his second scratch cup of 2020, winning the Mallow Scratch Cup for the first time. 

A solid second round, comprising of four birdies and fourteen pars was just enough as the Irish international went on to win by one. 

Birdies on the sixth and ninth saw him turn on three under overall, and he added further birdies on the two par fives on the back nine to sign for a 68.

The winner found himself three off the lead at the halfway stage. 

Cork’s Paul Buckley was in the lead with a 68, and he was followed by James Sugrue, Jonathon O’Sullivan and Mel Deasy who all shot 69. 

Buckley’s challenge faded in the afternoon, but Sugrue was going well until bogies on the 10th and 11th paused his challenge. 

It was still all to play for in the closing stages with the two leaders tied on -4. The par five 17th was the difference, Sugrue parred it while O’Keeffe playing in the group behind birdied it. 

Both had pars on the closing par three meaning O’Keeffe was the champion. O’Keeffe was naturally delighted to finish on top of a competitive field. 

“I love the course, there’s a real premium on driving and that’s what I’m doing well at the moment,” said the Douglas golfer. 

"I’ve done lots of speed work over the past six months and I’m hitting the ball a lot further than last year which is great.” 

Limited to practicing in his back garden during the three months of lockdown, Peter was delighted to get back to competitive golf. 

“It’s great to be back playing championship golf, I’ve missed it a lot. Mallow was a great competitive tune-up for the Munster Strokeplay next week.” 

With Sugrue taking the runners up spot, Greg O’Mahony (Fota Island) finished in third place on -2, he beat Mel Deasy (Lee Valley) on the countback while Keith Crowley (Fota Island) took fifth place with 143 (-1).

This was the second staging of the Mallow Scratch Cup. After several years without an event, Mallow duo Conor Dowling and Brian Attridge put plans in place for a 36 hole event last year. 

The event attracted a superb line-up with Waterford’s Ben Murray pipping James Sugrue for the title.

With sponsors Hegarty Building & Civil Engineering back on board for 2020, the pair set about organising the 2020 staging once competitive golf recommenced. 

Again they attracted a strong field with several golfers travelling from Leinster and Connacht in search of competitive golf.

The win for O’Keeffe means that he’ll be one to watch at the Munster Strokeplay in Cork next week. 

The Douglas golfer has been in good form, in addition to winning the Macroom Scratch Cup a few weeks ago he has also helped Douglas to the area final in the AIG Senior Cup. 

O’Keeffe has won each of his three matches and has been their anchor man away from home.

Douglas overcame Kinsale in a close match on Saturday evening, O’Keeffe along with Karl Bornemann and teenager Jack Murphy racked up three wins and Paul Tobin added a fourth for good measure. 

The trio of O’Keeffe, Murphy and Bornemann have won their matches in all three rounds. Douglas now go on to face Muskerry who saw off a challenge from Fota Island in their area semi-final. 

The Junior Cup is also at area final stage with East Cork set to face Bandon.

A field of top class golfers from all over the country will assemble in Cork Golf Club this weekend for the Munster Strokeplay. 

The Bridgestone Order of merit event moves from its usual May date after the postponement earlier this year. 

Holder Joe Lyons will be back to defend his title, Lyons had a play-off win last year to add his name to the famous Cork Scratch Cup trophy which has been played for in Cork since 1923. 

Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty lead’s the entrants, with a handicap of +4.7 he is one of over twenty golfers playing off +3 or better.

Rafferty is currently in the WAGR top twenty and this will be his first time competing in the event in five years. 

The traditional May date clashed with the Lytham Trophy meaning several Irish golfers including Rafferty missed the event. 

The Dundalk man is joined by Irish International panelists Peter O’Keeffe, Eanna Griffin, Colm Campbell, Keith Egan, Sean Flanagan, and Tiarnan McLarnon. 

They will be joined by Mullingar Scratch Cup winner Jason Rackard who will be hoping to maintain his place on top of the Bridgestone Order of Merit. 

Previous winners in the field include Alan Fahy (Dun Laoghaire), Cathal Butler (Kinsale) and Shaun Carter (Royal Dublin).

2019 Amateur Championship winner James Sugrue is a notable absentee, the Mallow man will be travelling to the US to compete in the US Open having received his invitation to the USGA event. 

The cut for entries fell at +1.1 and a full reserve list is in place. Ryans SuperValu are again the sponsors of the Munster Strokeplay, underlining their commitment and support for the local community. 

All 75 golfers will complete 36 holes on Saturday with the top 39 (plus ties) going forward for the final 36 on Sunday. 

Live hole by hole scoring will be available on Golfnet.

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