Douglas golfer Sara Byrne hitting form in the US

Douglas golfer Sara Byrne hitting form in the US

Sara Byrne in action at the Irish Womens Close in Ballybunion. Picture: Niall O'Shea

SARA BYRNE continued her strong form in the US this week with another top ten finish. 

The Douglas golfer was in action in the Bahamas at the White Sands Invitational, and after a slow start to the event she produced one of her best finishes in tournament golf. 

 Byrne produced a stunning back nine which included six birdies and that meant she jumped into the top 10 and helped her Miami Hurricanes team enter third place for the tournament.

That final round 68 was Sara's lowest score so far this season and the top ten finish has seen her move into the top 20 in the individual rankings in the ACC conference. 

Miami have also moved into second place which will help them when tournament golf resumes in February.

This was Sara’s final event in the NCAA fall series. Sarah now travels to Whispering Pines in Texas for the Spirit International where she will represent Ireland. 

Byrne will partner Lahinch’s Aine Donegan who is based in Indiana and Paul Conroy and Sam Murphy are the mens players on the Irish team. 

This is Byrne’s second time to represent Ireland at senior level having competed in the European Championships earlier this year. 

There are 20 countries competing in the 54 hole event which starts on Thursday next.

John Murphy signed off on a very successful debut professional season last week. 

The Kinsale golfer was in action in Spain at the final event of the Challenge Tour regular season. Murphy entered the final event of the season on a high. 

He was third the previous week and made the cut on two European Tour events in October. 

He also had the target of making the Challenge Tour final if he could finish in the top five. Unfortunately Murphy finally ran out of steam in Spain and missed the cut by one shot.

The 23 year-old has had a busy year. 

His spring season with Louisville brought enough good results to secure his place at the Walker Cup. Murphy was one of the GB&I leaders in Seminole in May, and soon after he announced he was turning professional. After winning his first mini-tour event in Northern Ireland he went on to compete in 16 events in a whirlwind summer of golf. It was a pretty impressive start for the 23 year old, and the highlight was a top ten finish the European Tour’s Dunhill Links at St Andrew’s. The result meant that Murphy win €81,500 in prize money, and helped his total purse for the season reach €125,000. Murphy also moved inside the top 500 in the world rankings and more importantly he finished in the top 70 to secure a full Challenge Tour card for next year.

Four Cork golfers were selected on the Golf Ireland High Performance squads for 2022. In total just over 100 junior golfers were selected for the national regional training panels with a dozen of those coming from Cork clubs. The impact of the junior golf programmes in Douglas was evident with three of the four golfers coming from the southside club. Jack Murphy and James Walsh were selected on the Under 18 boys squad and Sean Reddy was selected on the Under 16 panel. Fota Island’s John Doyle was also selected on the U16 squad. There was a very strong Cork representation on the Under 17 boys performance development squad. Eoghan Cassidy (Kinsale), Sean Deasy (Douglas), Sean Healy (Kinsale), Matthew Kelleher (Fota Island), Ryan Lyons (Blarney) and Paddy Quill (Cork) all made the training panel while Barry O’Connell from Douglas made the Under 15 squad.

Douglas golfer Peter O'Keeffe has been crowned the 2021 Bridgestone Men's Order of Merit winner. Following wins at the AIG Irish Men's Amateur Close Championship, Munster Stroke Play Championship and the Flogas Irish Men's Amateur Open Championship, the Cork golfer unsurprisingly ended the season at the top of the standings. There were twelve golfers in the mix before the final event of the season, and at one stage on the final day Hugh Foley was withing a two shots of the series win. O’Keeffe went on to win and take the order of merit honours. An excellent third place finish at the Flogas Irish Men's Amateur Open Championship saw West of Ireland Men's Open champion Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin) leap into second place in the standings behind O'Keeffe. South of Ireland Amateur Open champion TJ Ford completed the top-three, after an excellent 2021 for the Co. Sligo golfer. Long-time leader Alex Maguire who is now in Florida finished the season in fourth place. Unfortunately there was no other Cork golfer in the top 50.

Pat Lyons was confirmed as the winner of the Seniors Order of Merit. The Leinster Seniors winner was the most consistent performer across the five qualifying events. In addition to his win in Rosslare, he was runner-up in Ulster and secured a top ten finish at the Irish Seniors Close in Waterford. Karl Bornemann finished second, his absence from the Munster Seniors due to quarantine restrictions when he returned from the European Seniors in June ultimately meant he could only play in three events. There were two other Cork golfers in the top five. Munster Seniors winner John O’Brien finished in fourth place while Kinsale’s Kieran McCarthy took fifth place in his first seniors season. McCarthy had three top ten finishes in the four events he competed in. The order of merit places in the for boys will be finalised after the last of the events are completed this week. Jack Murphy and James Walsh are in action in Athlone in the final Under 16 event of the season and both will be hoping to win and claim the order of merit title.

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