THERE'S a new name on the Cork Scratch Cup.
Castle’s Jake Whelan it the latest addition after he won the Munster Strokeplay in style last weekend.
The showpiece provincial championship returned to its usual position in the calendar this year, and that meant a full field of 75 golfers were in action last weekend. All were hoping to take the title and with it one of golf’s oldest trophies.
Whelan was very impressive over the two days, but he set the tone in Saturday’s first-round when he went around in eight under par. He followed that with a 69 in the second round to hold a five-shot lead at the halfway stage.
Whelan drove on again on Sunday, and with rounds of 68 and 71 he won by a margin of 6.
Gary O’Flaherty was also out on his own as runner-up. The home course golfer was three shots clear third place, thanks to shooting seven-under par in the final two rounds. That included a five-under-par 67 which was the low round of the second day.
Galgorm’s Josh Hill took third place on six under, and he also won the Carr Bruen Trophy as the best Under 25.
Paul Coughlan and Harry Gillivan rounded off the top five, and while both of them challenged at times, they weren’t going to catch the wire-to-wire winner. It was a particularly impressive performance from the Dubliner Whelan who won the Mullingar Scratch Cup last year.
He was under par for all four rounds in a performance that was similar to the winning performance that Peter O’Keeffe put in last year.
The holder from Douglas was in with a chance to win three in a row, a feat only achieved by the great Jimmy Bruen.
Unfortunately for Peter he couldn’t repeat his exploits of last September, and a recurrent back niggle meant that he wasn’t around for the second day after retiring during round two.
Ian O’Rourke, Robbie Walsh and Dean O’Riordan all finished in a tie for 13th, while Paul Buckley and Mel Deasy finished in the top twenty.
James Walsh also had a good weekend, he was taking part in the Fairhaven Trophy and recovered from an opening 77 to make the cut with a second-round 67. He went on to shoot rounds of 70 and 76 to finish in 12th place. Jack Murphy was also playing in Fairhaven but missed the cut after a disappointing opening round.
May promises to be a busy month for the top amateur golfers. While a few are involved in the Munster Seniors this week, there are a large number of Cork golfers heading for The Island the following week for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open. The Island is going to be a great links course for the most prestigious event. The holder is Peter O’Keeffe and while he hasn’t dominated so far in 2022, very few would bet against a big performance from the Douglas man as he aims for another senior national title.
In two weeks’ time, Douglas will host the Irish Seniors Open. Following the successful staging of the Munster Boys U16 last year it’s another opportunity for the city club to impress.
Muskerry will hold their senior scratch cup on Sunday week. The event is back on the calendar for the first time since Covid and the format this year is a 36-hole event. The Lee Valley senior scratch cup also returns, which takes place a week after Muskerry. The 54 format returns, with 36 holes on Saturday with the top 33 making it through to Sunday’s final round.
While the singles events have started, the inter-club competitions have also started with many of the preliminary and first-round matches taking place in April. Castlemartyr could be a team to watch after they clocked up three impressive results in the inter-clubs so far. They beat Monkstown in the Senior Cup and also had two wins in the Barton Shield. They beat Mallow in the preliminary round and last weekend they beat Fota Island. They will now face Cork in the next round after Cork beat Monkstown in their match.
Blarney have also put together a few wins and they are still involved in both competitions as are Cork, Lee Valley and Douglas. The next round in both events are a few weeks away but the matches will start this weekend as team managers try to navigate exams, holidays and the Golf Ireland calendar. There will be quite a few Junior Cup, Bruen and Purcell matches over the coming two weeks as the first round deadline approaches.