Paddy holds nerve to win Captain’s prize

THE June Bank Holiday Weekend was the designated time for Sean Walzer’s Captain’s Prize at Callan GC but fate conspired to flood the course that Sunday morning, forcing the cancellation of the competition.

THE June Bank Holiday Weekend was the designated time for Sean Walzer’s Captain’s Prize at Callan GC but fate conspired to flood the course that Sunday morning, forcing the cancellation of the competition.

Paddy Donovan had never played in a Captain’s Prize playoff after over 20 attempts to qualify. When he played poorly on that first Saturday in June he presumed that he would have to wait another year to break his qualifying duck - but when the rains came Paddy’s luck changed.

Paddy qualified on Sunday last with a fine nett 70 score to join 18 others in the finale on a cold August evening. He was three shots behind the leading qualifier Jeff Lynch, who produced five birdies in his final eight holes to card a wonderful 67 in a difficult wind. Jeff played in the final group with Pat ‘Busty’ Hickey and Tommy Leahy, who both had 68s.

It was a dramatic conclusion with many of the 19 finalists having claims for victory at different time throughout the nine holes. It looked like Jeff and Tommy might have it between them, but the innocuous-looking 17th was to prove the decisive hole, both putting their tee shots out of bounds which cost them dearly.

With both Tommy and Jeff playing supporting roles it came down to Mick Fitzpatrick and Paddy Donovan to play out the crucial blows. Mick had played so solidly all day and had putted brilliantly only to three-putt the 17th while Paddy made an incredible par on 17 after looking set to make six or even a seven.

On the final hole Paddy had a difficult shot from the greenside bunker, leaving himself a 10 foot putt in order to beat Mick and then wait while Busty, Jeff and Tommy finished the final hole. Paddy held his nerve to slot home the putt and was thrilled when it was made official that he had held off the other challengers to win his first major competition.

There was a wonderful atmosphere at the presentation, with secretary Derek Delaney hosting the ceremony. Sean Walzer enjoyed the celebrations and was thrilled with the level of competition and the efforts of all those who took part.

More than 170 golfers played over the weekend and with the highest ever total of qualifiers for the playoff the course was put through it paces but had been set up magnificently with the greens in terrific shape. The social went on well into the night with the Walzers joined by family, friends, neighbours and club members to make it a weekend to remember.

Paddy won a beautiful set of irons. More importantly he had his name etched on the Minauns Cup, a solid silver trophy dating back to the 1940s which will be the perpetual cup played for in all future Captain’s Prizes.

CLUB CLASSIC - The annual club fund-raising classic will be held from Thursday, August 23 until Sunday, August 26.

The 2012 event, which features top quality golf equipment prizes for the team competition, will also give golfers an opportunity to play in a Pro Am. Incorporated in the entry fee (E100 for a team of four) for the team competition there is an individual competition in which the top scores will result in three golfers going forward to play in a Pro Am this Autumn.

The Classic will also have a hole-in-one competition, with the winner driving away in a brand new car worth E10,000 and a nearest the pin competition with the winner pocketing E100.

SINGLES - Murt O’Halloran produced a solid 39 points in very difficult conditions to ease into the Autumn final of the men’s open singles competition. Murt was a point ahead of Adrian Cunningham with Brian Doheny securing the gross. Denis Murphy from Kilkenny was the leading visitor who also receives a berth in the final. The competition continues every Wednesday until the Autumnal final.

SHIELD - Murt Duggan’s President’s Shield will be the main focus of competition at the club on Saturday and Sunday. The President’s Shield is open to men and women with an overall prize and men’s and women’s categories.

LADIES - The ladies competition was again threatened with cancellation due to very poor weather conditions on Tuesday last, but 30 players donned their wet gear and braved the elements for the three-person rumble. Winners were Margaret Comerford, Teresa Phelan and Marie O’Riordan with 74pts. Linda Adair, Catherine Davis and Marie Gorey were second with 64pts.

There will be a general information/rules night on Monday for all members. New members and beginners are especially asked to attend. Any rules or queries you would like discussed on the night please place them in the suggestion box in the hallway.

RESULTS - Results, Sean Walzer’s Captain’s Prize, August 3-5: 1 Paddy Donovan, 104pts; 2 Mick Fitzpatrick, 104.5pts; gross Jeff Lynch, 72pts; 3 Tommy Leahy, 104.5pts; 4 John O’Dwyer, 105.5pts; 5 Tommy Minogue, 106pts. Second gross: Brian Doheny. Leading qualifier: Pat Hickey. Senior: Michael Phelan. Past Captain: Jim Kirby.

Results, men’s open singles, August 1: 1 Murt O’Halloran, 39pts; 2 Adrian Cunningham, 38pts; gross Brian Doheny, visitor Denis Murphy.

Results, RGA scramble, July 30: 1 Willie Gilbert, Pat Foley, Denis Barry & Dan Sullivan, 47.8pts; 2 Paddy Grace, Phil Cody, Tony Drennan & Kevin O’Connor, 48.2pts.

DIARY - Today (Wednesday): Men’s Open Singles. Tomorrow (Thursday): Ladies 55 Club, 10am to 12 noon. Friday: Tee times available.

Saturday: President’s Shield. Societies, 10am to 1pm. Sunday: President’s Shield.

Monday: Juniors, 8.30 to 10am. RGA, 11am to 1pm. Tuesday: Ladies day.