PRESIDENT John O’Dwyer’s prize attracted a massive field to Callan GC over the long weekend.
More than 200 golfers played over Saturday and Sunday in weather that ranged from bright and breezy to wet and overcast.
The course played magnificently, with many struggling on greens that were lightening fast. Scoring was very difficult for most, with only five golfers reaching 40 points or better.
The winner was Marty Parker, who produced an incredible total of 44 points. Marty, a native of Kilkenny city, joined Callan back in 1982 and will celebrate his 30th anniversary with the club next year. A popular member down through the years, Marty was just two over turning having reeled off six pars in a row from the fourth tee.
The 24 points which Marty had accrued to this point was a fantastic start but a bogey, followed by a double bogey at the difficult 11th hole meant that Marty had to really get his game back for the last seven holes. Playing off 14, he bogeyed the (index one) 12th hole but then produced a run of scores which ultimately saw him claim first prize.
Marty covered the final six holes in just two over par, including a brilliant birdie on the 14th, to give him a final total of 44 points, enough to secure the beautiful Kilkenny Crystal Lamp which John had chosen to be his prize. Marty was thrilled with the way he played and, in his acceptance speech, had some very kind words for John, the course committee and all those who made the weekend such a success. Before Marty’s speech club secretary Pauline O’Brien gave some great insight into John’s hurling and golf careers, outlining all the wonderful work the president has undertaken in the name of the club since joining as a full member in the 1980s. Club captain Robert Woodcock and Paul Cashin also gave great accounts of stories involving John which the large crowd, who had turned up for the presentation, really enjoyed.
The other prize winners had to play very well in order to feature. Ted Walsh, playing off 16, had a great round of golf turning with 22 points and having a back nine of 20 points. Ted held off Niall Brett from Kilkenny for second place while former captain Jim Kirby was fourth, beating another ex captain and current junior officer Joe Cuddihy on countback.
The best gross round of the weekend by some way was shot by last year’s player of the year Nigel O’Donovan. Nigel played extremely solid golf and despite a double bogey on the 18th had 33 points gross. In the junior section promising golfers Michael Rafter and Conor Murphy produced superb totals of 39 points, Michael pipping Conor to first place on a count-back. Current Junior Captain Stephen Walsh took third place.
The social, which followed the presentation, lasted into small hours and marked a wonderful end to an excellent competition. Margaret, John’s wife and their sons Ryan and Robbie were present with John’s father Joe returning to the club where he was so popular when he worked in the pro shop. John’s brothers and sisters were also present, along with his extended family.
JUNIOR CUP - The Junior Cup side, managed by Paul Madigan, ran subsequent sectional winners Castlecomer very close in a tight encounter.
The team comprised of Jeff Lynch, Mark Shortall, John O’Dwyer, Niall O’Sullivan and Murt O’Halloran qualified on the Saturday in very difficult conditions. On Sunday morning they were edged out narrowly by ’Comer, who went on to easily beat The Curragh on Sunday afternoon.
GOLFER OF YEAR - The race for this year’s Golfer of the Year award is hotting up. Following his great victory over the weekend Marty Parker has moved into a tie for second place. On 57 points Marty joined John Glendon and Seamus Cuddihy, who are all just two points behind the outright leader John Grace.
Nicky Walsh is the other golfer to have accumulated more than 50 points (54) but the competition is really starting to take shape with 70 golfers having made their way on to the leaderboard, which is posted in the clubhouse.
The next round of the competition is on the weekend of July 16 & 17, with Captain Robert Woodcock’s Prize.
OPEN SINGLES - The latest open singles competition was won by Michael Comerford. Playing solidly in blustery conditions Michael now qualifies for the final in Autumn where he will be joined by Martin Buggy from Castlecomer, while local member Brian Doheny took the gross prize.
The series continues every Wednesday throughout the season, with an early bird option available for non members before noon.
RESULTS - Results, President John O’Dwyer’s Prize: 1 Martin Parker (15), 44pts; 2 Ted Walsh (16), 42pts; gross Nigel O’Donovan, 33pts; 3 Niall Brett, 41pts; 4 Jim Kirby, 40pts; second gross Denis Carey; 5 Joe Cuddihy, 40pts. Front nine: Alan Brett, 22pts. Back nine: Ian Fitzpatrick, 25pts. Past President: Michael Grace. Long Handicap: Simon McCarthy. Senior: Larry O’Shea. Juniors: 1 Michael Rafter, 2 Conor Murphy, 3 Stephen Walsh.
Results, Ladies 55 Club, June 2: 1 Teresa Phelan, 2 Ailish Carey, 3 Margaret Comerford, 4 Monica Leydon.
Results, Open Singles June 1: 1 Michael Comerford (11), 41pts; 2 Martin Buggy (Castlecomer, 11), 38pts; gross Brian Doheny, 31pts.
Results, Ladies Singles Stroke, May 31: 1 Noelle Cody, 65 nett; 2 Ellen O’Shea, 71 nett; gross Rita O’Neill, 79 gross; 3 Margaret O’Shea 72 nett; 4 Breda Ryan, 74 nett (c/b); 5 Helena McCormack, 74 nett (c/b).
DIARY - Today (Wednesday): Men’s Open Singles. Thursday: 55 Club, 10.30am to 12 noon. Friday: Course availability.
Saturday: Course availability. Sunday: Men’s Fourball Stableford (sponsored by Fintan Fennelly Auctioneer).
Monday: RGA, 11am to 1pm. Tuesday: Ladies Day.