IT'S been a fruitful summer for Peter O’Keeffe.
Since mid-August he’s been reaping the rewards from some great golf.
Three individual wins and Home Internationals title with Ireland has made him the form golfer, and he also leads the Bridgestone Irish Order of Merit.
O’Keeffe secured his fourth win of the season last weekend, he produced another great performance to retain his Munster Stroke Play title at Cork Golf Club.
The holder entered the championship knowing how to get the better of the Little Island course, and a bit of patience along with some great golf secured his second Cork Scratch Cup.
The Irish Close winner has been on a roll since the middle of August and put together four impressive rounds to win the title by three shots. Including the Home Internationals this was Peter’s fourth win in six weeks and the Douglas golfer was delighted to get the job done.
“Every win in different but I found this one quite difficult for some reason,” said O’Keeffe after the 72 hole championship.
“It was a tricky afternoon with some hard holes coming in, but I love this golf course and it suits me down to the ground.
"I have a great feel for the greens here and I don’t mind leading from the front so I had a bit of a cushion.”
O’Keeffe really has taken a shine to the course in Little Island.
Seven of his last eight rounds in the Munster Stroke Play have been in the red and his scoring to par is 26 under.
His final round on Sunday was his only over par round, but given the deteriorating weather and his lead, O’Keeffe played through the conditions and took his chances when they came.
In the end he had a three-shot cushion over Robert Moran with Co Sligo’s TJ Ford two shots back in third place.
Douglas teenager Jack Murphy took fourth place and Cork’s Ian O’Rourke finished in the top ten.
O’Keeffe was the wire-to-wire leader. His impressive display saw his record an eagle in each of the four rounds and he had an impressive haul of 16 birdies over the two days.
An opening 66 (-6) gave him top spot and a second round 71 meant he had a three-shot lead at the halfway stage.
Another 66 followed on Sunday morning giving O’Keeffe to maintain his lead.
O’Keeffe had a colourful card for the final round. His front nine comprised of pars, birdies, bogies and an eagle and a double.
He was still one under, and importantly four clear of the field. Although he dropped a few shots on the back nine he knew he was still on top of the leaderboard and with nobody closing the gap he managed his way home.
There was a familiar feel to the 72nd hole this year as Peter’s daughter Alice ran over to him to start the celebrations.
Peter’s wife Mary-Claire and nine month old baby Billy were also on hand to complete the family celebration.
While Peter is hoping to build on the number of Irish Majors he has won, retaining the Munster Strokeplay title must have been another important achievement.
Now a multiple winner, he joins the likes of Jimmy Bruen, George Crosbie and Denis O’Sullivan and others who have their name of the famous Cork Scratch Cup. First played for in 1923, the Cork Scratch Cup is the oldest scratch cup in Ireland.
It was incorporated into the Munster Strokeplay in 2006 when the event gained championship status.
Peter was in good company for his two rounds on Sunday. 2020 Irish Close winner Hugh Foley played in the group and the third player was 15 year old Jack Murphy who’s also plays out of Douglas.
The teenager was just one shot off the lead at the halfway stage and booked a spot in the final group on Sunday alongside O’Keeffe.
A third round 73 meant that a win was unlikely but he did finish tied for fourth place after the four rounds.
O’Keeffe was delighted to have Jack in the final group and he’s one of the large group of Douglas juniors that represent the next generation.
“I get just as much a kick from Jack doing well as I do from winning today, had he gone on and won I would have loved that as well. He’s an absolutely fantastic player and for a 15 year old his attitude is unbelievably mature.
"I love working with the kids in the club, we have a great culture there and it’s important to keep driving it on from the front.”
A busy home life and a growing golf fitness business has meant that Peter doesn’t have much time on his hands for practicing, but the former professional has adjusted and the changes haven’t impacted his game.
“I’ve a much more relaxed approach to golf I suppose. My life is a lot busier now and I don’t get as much time to practice.
"My expectations are high when I show up and my confidence is high. I’m more relaxed but I’m still committing 100% to what I’m doing.”
Although it’s October, 39 year old O’Keeffe is hoping for another win before the championship season closes.
He will now set his sights on the European Club which hosts the Flogas Irish Amateur Open starting on Friday 15th of October.
He’ll have an opportunity to win a rare Open & Close double, the only Cork man to win the double was Jimmy Bruen in 1938 and the only other golfer to complete the calendar double was Padraig Harrington.
O’Keeffe is looking forward to the challenge next week.
“The European Club is a tough course but I’ve done well there in the past. I’m at the part of my life now where I just want to keep winning as many titles as I can.
"I won the Open in Royal County Down in 2017 so I’m hoping it’s windy, the windier the better.”