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Curtis Cup 2016, Dun Laoghaire Golf Club

Brendan Mcdaid

DLCURTIS_CUP_2016_Logo

The Great Britain and Ireland team to challenge the United States of America, at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club, from June 10 to 12, will warm up for the international contest with a “friendly” match against a members’ men’s team from Castle Golf Club on the south side of Dublin.

The GB and I team of eight players will be finalised immediately after the Helen Holm Scottish Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Troon and will be announced on Thursday 28th April at 2pm.

Six of the home line-up will earn automatic selection – the leading four eligible players in the Women’s World Amateur Rankings at the designated cut-off point and also the leading two players on the Ladies’ Golf Union Order of Merit not selected through the World Rankings.

The remaining places in the team will go to two players selected by the LGU Selection Panel.

Elaine Farquharson-Black (Deeside), the first Scot to captain the GB and I Curtis Cup team since Belle Robertson in 1976, played in two Curtis Cup and two Vagliano Trophy matches during her playing career. She was also a member of the winning line-up when the match was played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 1992.

Elaine said “It is very kind of the Castle Golf Club to allow the GB & I team to use their marvelLous facilities to prepare for the Curtis Cup match. I know they have a wonderful short game facility and course and I thank the members for allowing us to visit. “

Elaine and team manager Helen Hewlett, also a past Curtis Cup player and a former British champion, will arrive with the GB and I squad at Castle Golf Club on Wednesday, June 1 and get straight down to practice in the afternoon.

The four-ball match against the Castle GC team will tee off at 1pm on Friday 3rd June.

They will have a further practice session at Castle Golf Club on the morning of Saturday 4th June before being given an organised tour of Dublin in the afternoon.

Castle Golf Club general manager John McCormack said,
“Our captains Bernadette Murray and Paul Williams, and all our members, are honoured to welcome the GB & I Curtis Cup team to our club in advance of the match against the United States and we will do everything possible to assist”

Castle Golf Club is a magnificent 18-hole parkland course in South Dublin. Nestled between Churchtown and Rathfarnham, the club offers its members and guests exceptional playing conditions and facilities. The club celebrated its centenary in 2013 and the course is a fine example of golf course design, originally by Harry Colt.

This will be only the second Curtis Cup match to be played in Ireland.

The first, in 1996, was at Killarney and was won by GB and I. Four years ago, at Nairn Golf Club, GB and I came from behind to win the trophy after an excellent match, watched by big galleries.

Great Britain & Ireland  v USA

Dun Laoghaire Golf Club

 


Power in McDaid Name

Brendan Mcdaid

mark-power-peter-mcevoyIn 1986 my sister knocked on my teaching bay in Frankfield Driving Range following a Pro-am event in Ennsicorthy where she had played in a group that included Darren Clarke. It was that same day she received sufficient encouragement to take the game more seriously.

 “No doubt Eileen Rose was a gifted player,” explained her brother Brendan, “and was so consistent off the tee and rarely wavered. With some deft skills around the greens.”

“It was no surprise in time she gathered all sorts of titles,” continued McDaid

“Growing up Eileen Rose would have played with the family and done so off the men’s tees on most occasions, just as a matter of course playing casually with the family. Hardworking and committed her” said Brendan, “Her game was constantly improving as I watched her develop

A member of the Douglas Senior Cup team in 1990 Eileen Rose Power also represented Ireland from 1987 to 1995, also playing Curtis Cup in 1994 and in the Vagliano Trophy in 1995. However, the first staging of the Curtis Cup in Ireland saw Eileen Rose and fellow international Hazel Kavanagh in the running. However, it was Power that was once again named as first reserve.

“I’m sorry for Eileen Rose and Hazel and indeed for all of the players who didn’t make it,” said Captain Ita Butler at the time. “I have been given a well-balanced team with tremendous talent and though the Americans are never easy to beat. I feel confident about our prospects.”

Although Power had been a strong contender she suffered loss of form in preceding weeks despite remaining Irish champion at the time.

In 1998 Power won the prestigious Mercedes sponsored Hermitage Scratch Cup for a second time having first clinched it in 1987. Her two round total of 149 (74 and 75) was three over par and three ahead of her nearest rival Deirdre Smith from County Louth, also an international player,

In 1990 Power won the first of her three Irish titles at The Island during the club’s centenary year.

“A gifted player and very focused on swing thoughts. So consistent off the tee it was almost boring,” concluded Brendan who travelled to Chattanooga for the 1994 Curtis Cup.

“I felt captain Mickey Walker didn’t seem to give her a chance, “said Brendan “and she played in one losing game in the match in Tennessee.”

Eileen’s involvement limited to the second day’s foursomes in which she and Myra McKinlay were beaten but Europe retained the trophy when the match ended in a draw.

Brendan over that time not only coached his sister but also number of other Irish Ladies champions; Suzie O’Brien, Eavan Higgins, Barbara Hackett, Trish Mangan and Lillian Behan. All in his roles as Munster Ladies Coach from 1989-99 and as Leinster Ladies coach 1992-1995.

As for sister, Eileen she played all the early golf at Douglas Golf Club and established a strong reputation while also holding down a job at the local Bank of Ireland. As a result, she never really had thoughts of turning professional.

In later years through marriage to Eddie Power Eileen moved to Kilkenny from her native Skibbereen and continued working with the bank. It was in those years that she added more success at Kilkenny Golf club

For the McDaid family there is added pedigree as in the previous generation our Mother, Eileen Rose Snr, was  a home international and a representative for Connacht, Munster and Ulster. Also winning the Senior Cup in 1967 at Douglas Golf Club.

She also played for Ireland before getting married under maiden name, Eileen O’Grady.

The next generation has now also announced itself with Eileen Rose and Eddie Power’s son winning the Peter McEvoy Trophy last week at CoptHeath Golf Club in England.

In doing so Mark Power became just the second Irish winner since Gavin Moynihan in 2012 with the Kilkenny golfer carding a 3-under-par 68.

 

 


Sunny Final Day at Valderrama Office

Brendan Mcdaid , , , , ,

_81024921_peter_lawrie_gettyPeter Lawrie was close to signing for under par round on Sunday until a few stray putts undid some of his good work at the San Roque course. A great recovery after a wayward drive on the 17th hit out of bounds showed a return of confidence that bodes well for the season.

A loss of momentum could result though from a lack of events following Lawrie’s loss of European Tour playing rights which leave him with an unwanted three week break until the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco next month.

However, in the first full four rounds of the year – having missed the cut at the Tshwane Open in February and withdrawn from the Alfred Dunhill Links before Christmas – Peter Lawrie should be satisfied with his weekends’ work. The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club the next biggest event on the horizon.

As a former winner of the Open de España Lawrie was automatically exempt this weekend and his hard work during the close season was rewarded in the toughest and most demanding of conditions at Valderrama. Reuniting for the Spain trip with his swing coach Brendan McDaid, who also was on the bag, clearly delivered some additional impetus at key moments.

The weekend though belonged to Andrew Johnston who won his first European Tour title as he held off the challenge of Joost Luiten to claim the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

The Englishman came into the final day alongside Luiten at two over and signed for a one under par 70 to take the title by one shot and become the first man to win a European Tour event with an over par score since Justin Rose won the US Open at Merion in 2013.

It had been 20 years since a regular event had been won over par, Ian Woosnam shooting the same score to win the Scottish Open at Carnoustie in 1996, showing just how difficult a test Valderrama had been over the four days.
“I drove the ball well all week, chipped and putted well all week, I struggled a bit with my irons the first three days but I just kept going and kept digging in and then on the fourth I found something,” he said.

“I came off the course and I just started crying with the emotion of it. It’s just very surreal and I don’t think it will hit me for a few days.

“You see them winning these tournaments, and the history of it and all these names, so to put mine on there feels pretty ridiculous, really. It really does.

“Hopefully I can be one of those guys who has an incredible career like that and people are sitting here in the future going, ‘oh, Beef’s on there’. It’s pretty incredible.”

Tournament host Sergio Garcia made six birdies in his round of 67 to finish at three over, a shot ahead of defending champion James Morrison and Søren Kjeldsen.

The win completes a long journey for 27-year-old Johnston, who first made it onto The European Tour via the Challenge Tour in 2012 before a loss of form and fitness saw him lose his card.

Two wins on the Challenge Tour in 2014 saw him win the Road to Oman and now, after finishing 70th on The Race to Dubai last season, he has his breakthrough.

For Dutchman Luiten, the result is the continuation of a brilliant start to the season and hands him his fifth top ten in eight events so far this term.

Johnston bogeyed the first as those around him jostled for position, with Martin Kaymer opening up a two-shot lead over the field with a birdie on the third.

Luiten and Kaymer continued to battle it out but when Johnston hit a sensational approach to the seventh for birdie and made another gain on the next, a dropped shot from the German on the seventh meant Johnston and Luiten shared the lead at the turn.

Morrison had also turned in 34 and bogeys on the 11th from Luiten and 14th from Johnston meant there was a three-way tie for the lead. That became a four-way tie when Garcia birdied the 16th and 17th to surge into contention.
A bogey on the last saw Garcia set the clubhouse target at three over but Johnston holed a 20-footer on the 16th to move ahead and Luiten could not reel him in as he finished with seven straight pars.

Kjeldsen’s 68 handed the Dane a second straight top ten after his excellent performance at the Masters Tournament last week, while Morrison finished with a 72.  Ross Fisher, Kaymer, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Alex Noren were then at five over, a shot clear of Craig Lee.

Last season Lawrie spoke about the fears of losing his automatic playing rights for 2016:

“I thought it was going to be the end of the world if I didn’t do well and it seriously effected the way I played. This year, I realise it’s not actually the end of the world. There is life somewhere, after losing your tour card.”

“You come out here (on tour) and you feel that you’re not worthy to be out here sometimes. You’re trying as hard as you can to feel that you should be here. I know I should be here. My golf game is good enough,”

At Valderrama Lawrie’s was good enough carding rounds of 77-74-77-73 and receiving a cheque for €7,400 for a share of 53rd place.

*Peter Lawrie is sponsored by NewstalkFM

 


Another Tough Day at Valderrama Office

Brendan Mcdaid , , , ,

P Lawrie 03On another day of tough scoring conditions at the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation, only Joost Luiten and Alex Noren recorded under par rounds.

With Valderrama now threatening to produce the first over par winner of a European Tour event since Justin Rose won the US Open Championship in 2013.

Paul Dunne and Peter Lawrie suffered no differently in round three with both Irishmen signing for over par rounds on Saturday.

The Greystones rookie came home in three over par after dropping three shots before the turn and just a single birdie – at the par five fourth – to complete nine holes in two over. With one more birdie on the par four 14th Dunne carded two more bogeys ending his day with a round of 74.

Lawrie was amongst the first group on Saturday morning and battled through the early stretch carding four bogeys by the halfway stage. Then five straight pars maintained some momentum from the tenth before the Dubliner dropped a shot on the par three 16th. Unable to do better than par on 16 and 17.

On the eighteenth a good drive went unrewarded when it clipped a tree to leave him unsighted and unable to better a bogey five on the last hole – for a round of 77 and share of 59th place.

“Conditions were far from easy again today, “said caddie Brendan McDaid walking off the final green “The leaderboard showed all day how tough the scoring was for the field today.”

“We left a few putts out there today which might have fallen our way,” continued McDaid, “But Valderrama was not in that kind of forgiving mood once more and gave up nothing.”

“It’s an exacting course in these type of conditions,” McDaid concluded, “But Peter is striking the ball well and with some luck we might have been a couple of strokes better on the day.”

Leader Mike Lorenzo-Vera will take a take a one-shot advantage into the final day as he goes in search of a first European Tour title. The Frenchman’s level par round of 71 saw him stay at one over par and lead ahead of Luiten, two-time Major Championship winner Martin Kaymer and England’s Andrew Johnston.

The highlight of Lorenzo-Vera’s day was his approach to the par five 17th for an eagle to spark a wild celebration and move him two ahead, before a bogey on the last cut the gap.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m going to have a big nap tonight because it takes so much energy to stay patient here. I’m just going to try to relax and enjoy it as much as I can tomorrow.

“I’m just trying to look at the pace of the leader board and accept that you’re going to have a lot of bogeys here. A bogey on the hole is never really a bad score so you just try to accept it. Take the bogey and get out of there.”

The 31-year-old was number one on The Challenge Tour in 2007 and enjoyed his best ever European Tour season last term, finishing 78th on The Race to Dubai, but he will face a tough challenge on Sunday.

Dutchman Luiten is the only player in the field with two under par rounds this week and already has four top tens to his name this season, while Kaymer is an 11-time winner on The European Tour.

Johnston has held the lead on several occasions this week and will be brimming with confidence as he goes in search of a first European Tour win.

Defending champion James Morrison signed for a 74 to sit at three over alongside fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, with Spanish duo Pablo Larrazábal and Pep Angles a further shot back.

Lorenzo-Vera reached the turn in 35 before a birdie on the 12th thanks to a stunning flop-shot got him to level par and, when Johnston bogeyed the same hole, he found himself in a share of the lead for the first time.

All those at the top of the leader board were falling back and Lorenzo-Vera did the same with bogeys on the 15th and 16th, but his spectacular hole-out on the 17th catapulted him ahead before his disappointing finish.

Johnston had been battling for top spot with overnight leader Larrazábal in the early stages and held the lead on his own after birdies on the fifth and 11th but three bogeys in a row from the 12th saw him fall back.

Kaymer twice got to level par with back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth, and tenth and 11th, but both times gave the advantage back, while Luiten registered five birdies and four bogeys.

Fisher overcame a double-bogey on the 12th in his 72, while Morrison also fought back well after turning in 38.

Larrazábal endured a frustrating afternoon as he carded a 78, with Angles’ 74 enough to get him a shot ahead of Thomas Bjørn, Richard Bland, Alejandro Cañizares and Noren.

Peter Lawrie tees off on Sunday at 10:10hrs with Seve Benson and Alvaro Quiros.

Paul Dunne is off the first tee at 08:35hrs with Thomas Linard and Graeme Storm.


Dunne and Lawrie Survive Spanish Inquisition

Brendan Mcdaid
Peter+Lawrie+Tshwane+Open+Previews+vft0ZKwngqyl

Paul Dunne and Peter Lawrie battled the strong winds at Real Club Valderrama Open de España to survive the cut on Friday

Dunne, who went out in the morning, reached the clubhouse with 76 on the card after two double bogeys, four bogeys and three birdies for +7 – which looked like a missed cut when the leaders were -7.

But as the testing conditions took their toll the projected cut moved four strokes in the afternoon and reduced the field to 61 players and included Dunne.

Peter Lawrie teed off late in the afternoon and reached the turn one over par after two bogeys wiped out the birdie on the the par 3 third hole.

On the run for home Lawrie was focused on the cut line and four pars, a birdie on the eleventh helped him on his way. Even consecutive dropped shots on the 13th and 14th saw the Dubliner looking safe.

However on the last a bogey five almost ended some good work in the tricky conditions with the round 2 74 proving enough to ensure weekend play.

Leader Pablo Larrazábal recorded a level par round of 71 to open up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the event Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation.

After 15 players broke par in perfect, benign conditions on day one, the wind played its part in the second round, with only Peter Hanson and Mike Lorenzo-Vera able to get round in 70 as Valderrama showed just why it is regarded as one of the ultimate tests in world golf.

That made the round of home favourite Larrazábal all the more impressive as he stayed at three under and held off the challenge of England’s Andrew Johnston.

Defending champion James Morrison, Alejandro Cañizares and first round leader Alexander Levy were then at level par, with Pep Angles, Richard Bland, Craig Lee and Lorenzo-Vera a further shot back.

Larrazábal came into Friday two shots behind Levy but got to seven under after ten holes to open up a two-shot lead.

A bogey on the second and bunker trouble on the third dropped him back to his starting position, but that was enough to give the four-time European Tour winner the advantage heading into the weekend.

“To shoot level in these conditions is a great feeling and to have a chance on the last to go into the red figures is something really special,” he said.

“I said to my playing partners that I only missed one shot today really bad, and I made triple-bogey. I made so many great saves – like the 17th, the putt I made from the back of there was great.

“I didn’t play my best golf, but on another golf course I would have gone six, seven under par because of the way I fought, so I’m very pleased.

If the wind blows like this a level par or more total will win this. If I shoot level par over the weekend I will be in the fight – Pablo Larrazábal

As the vast bulk of the field struggled, Larrazábal looked like he was playing a different course in the early stages, making birdies on the 11th, 12th, 17th and first.

An errant tee-shot on the second led to a bogey and, after taking two attempts to get out of a bunker and three putts on the par three next, an impressive recovery saw the Spaniard par his way home.

Johnston had held the lead following birdies on the tenth and second but eventually signed for a 74 with three birdies, three bogeys and a double on the third.

Englishman Morrison and Spaniard Cañizares both signed for rounds of 75 in the morning, which became increasingly valuable as the day went on, while Frenchman Levy recovered well from five bogeys in his first eight holes to record a 76.

Young Spaniard Angles was one of just four players to get round in level par 71, with Englishman Bland and Scot Lee both recording rounds of 72.

Two-time Major Championship winner Martin Kaymer was then at two over alongside France’s Grégory Bourdy, England’s Ross Fisher and another home favourite in Jordi Garcia Pinto.

Finn Roope Kakko recorded the 18th hole-in-one in Open de España history when he holed a seven iron from 200 yards on the 12th.


Mark Power Wins Peter McEvoy Trophy

Brendan Mcdaid

CgBL_73W4AAE2htMark Power became just the second Irish winner of the Peter McEvoy Trophy, since Gavin Moynihan in 2012, when he returned a closing 3-under-par 68 at Copt Heath Golf Club in Solihull, West Midlands.

Rounds of 70, 68 and 71 gave the 15-year-old Kilkenny golfer a 7-under-par total of 277 to earn a two-shot victory over England’s Jack Ainscough.

“Oh my god, I can’t believe it,” Power said when he came off the 18th green.

“I don’t really have much experience playing in big events like this, so I’m a bit shocked,” Power said. “I was hitting the ball well before I came here, but my goal was really just to make the cut and see if I could do well.”

Mark is the son of Irish champions Eddie Power and Eileen Rose Power (nee McDaid).

Peter McEvoy OBE is one of the finest British amateur golfers of all time. He was born in 1953 and joined Copt Heath aged 13. He remains an Honorary Member to this day, regularly playing in Club competitions.

Peter won the the Amateur Championship in both 1977 (Ganton) and 1978 (Royal Troon) and the English Stroke Play title in 1980. In 1978 he played all four rounds at The Masters and remains the last British Amateur to make the cut in this famous Major.

He was also the leading amateur, winning the Silver Medal, in both the 1978 (Canoustie, 39th) and 1979 (Royal Lytham & St. Annes, 17th) Open Championships. He is England’s most capped amateur golfer.

He also represented Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I) five times in both the Walker Cup (1977-79-81-85-89) and Eisenhower Trophy (1978-80-84-86-88). In 1988 GB&I won the World Amateur Team Championship and Peter was the Individual Champion.

Peter subsequently enjoyed huge success as a Team Captain, leading GB&I to famous wins in both the Eisenhower Trophy (Santiago, Chile, 1998) and Walker Cup (Nairn, 1999 and Sea Island, Georgia, 2001 – both by a 15-9 scoreline). He continues to work closely with the R&A as Chairman of the GB&I Boys Selectors and also manages the GB&I Jacques Léglise Trophy team.

In 1978 he received the Association of Golf Writers’ Trophy for his contribution to European golf. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE by HM Queen Elizabeth II for services to golf. In 2009 he received the Association of Golf Writers’ Award for his outstanding services to the game.

History Of The Peter McEvoy Trophy

Following his Amateur Championship victories the Club invited Peter to suggest a way in which we may commemorate his achievements. He suggested a 72 hole competition for Under 18 junior boy golfers, to be held annually at Copt Heath.

Starting in 1981, the competition was originally held in August but in 1985, at the request of the English Golfing Union (EGU), it was moved to April. This was to assist them with the selection of the England Boys’ team ahead of the various National and European Championships held later in the season.

The McEvoy has become the traditional curtain raiser to the boy’s golf season and is now viewed as one of the “must enter” junior major competitions. The best junior players from across GB&I can therefore be guaranteed to be seen in Solihull every year. Annually, there are far more entrants than we are able to accommodate and thus there is a ballot based on handicap. Since 2000, the cut-off handicap has reduced annually from 1.7 (2001) to 0.1 (2014), which illustrates the excellence of the players now coming through, many of whom have handicaps of between +2 and +4.

In 2013 Justin Rose became the first McEvoy Trophy winner to go on and secure a Major Championship – the US Open at Merion GC.

Notable Past Winners:

1983 Peter Baker – Walker Cup, Ryder Cup, European Tour
1991 Lee Westwood – Ryder Cup, Winner European Tour Order of Merit
1992 Brian Davis – Walker Cup, USPGA Tour
1993 Steve Webster – European Tour
1998 Justin Rose – Ryder Cup, 2013 US Open Champion
2004 John Parry – Walker Cup, European Tour
2006 Luke Goddard – Walker Cup
2008 Stiggy Hodgson – Walker Cup
2011 Nathan Kimsey – Walker Cup
2012 Gavin Moynihan – Irish Amateur Champion 2012, Walker Cup

 


Possible Links for 2017 Irish Open

Brendan Mcdaid

LGU-Ladies-British-Open-Amateur-1st-tee-PortstewartThe European Tour has confirmed that the 2017 staging of the Irish Open – originally pencilled in for Lough Erne resort, outside Enniskillen – will not take place at the venue. Three years ago it was decided that the K Club would host this year’s event before it was due to go to Lough Erne 12 months later.

It is expected that Portstewart Golf Club in Derry could emerge as a viable, alternative option.

European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “During a recent visit to the Lough Erne Resort, I was delighted to meet with the owners and to learn more about their significant investment plans for the golf course and hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an outstanding championship golf course designed by Nick Faldo.

“While the 2017 Irish Open will not be staged there, the European Tour looks forward to working with the new ownership consortium, and I am confident that the Lough Erne Resort will host an event with the European Tour in the future.

“Details of the 2017 venue will be announced in due course,” he said.
“In the meantime we are solely focused on ensuring that the 2016 tournament, which will be staged at The K Club in County Kildare in six weeks’ time, is a great success.”

In reponse to the decision Lough Erne released the following statement on Monday night:

“We are extremely disappointed that the European Tour has announced a change in its decision to hold the 2017 Irish Open Championship at Lough Erne Resort. From the day we acquired the Resort, we have been excited and committed to hosting the event, and we have never waivered from that commitment. We have in fact continued to make additional investments in the course and the Resort facilities, both of which are in superior condition to when the 2014 announcement was made.

“But, over the last several months, senior tour officials began telling us that European Tour management was considering a ‘traditional links course strategy’ for future Irish Opens, and because of that new strategy there had been indications that the 2017 date at Lough Erne might be in jeopardy.

“From the beginning of those conversations, we have remained steadfast in our position not to accept this change from the Tour, and we have spent the last few months trying to work with Tour officials at the highest level to persuade them to keep their commitment to Lough Erne Resort and the region.

“However, despite our willingness to work with the Tour in every way to convince them to maintain their commitment, they have made the decision to change the venue to a traditional links course in 2017 and at this point we have no choice but to accept it. We are disappointed not only for the Resort, but also for our staff and the good people of County Fermanagh.

“We have to accept the decision that the Tour has made, with its strategic commitment to links golf in the Irish Open for the near future, and we do welcome the decision to keep the Open in Northern Ireland next year. If and when that strategy changes, Lough Erne Resort looks forward to being first in line to host the next Irish Open that is not on a links course.

“We would like to thank all of those that worked so hard on initially obtaining this event for Lough Erne Resort. We would especially like to thank officials of the Northern Ireland Government for their unwavering support for Lough Erne Resort and for doing everything possible to avoid this outcome.
“While we are clearly disappointed with the European Tour’s decision, the Resort’s ownership group remains committed to working with Tour officials towards bringing a future Irish Open or an equivalent event to Lough Erne Resort.”

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation, May 19th – 22nd, 2016, The K Club


Valderrama offers Lawrie reasons to be cheerful

Brendan Mcdaid ,

Peter+Lawrie+Alfred+Dunhill+Links+Championship+GsKYqGckXJFlPeter Lawrie returns to Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio García Foundation to play the 90th edition of one of the oldest national opens in Europe. Its origin linked to the appearance of those first Spanish professionals and a reflection on the development of golf in Spain during that time. Appropriately one of those prodigies, Sergio Garcia now Host of the event.

It was 2008 when Lawrie won Open de España – after a playoff with Ignacio Garrido – at Real Club Golf de Sevilla. A victory that formed an important part of the Dubliners success on the European Tour during the past decade. With Lawrie almost repeating the feat the following year at PGA Catalunya when he finished in a share of third place of the Open de España with Thomas Bjorn – both behind Fabrizio Zanotti and winner Thomas Levet

That win also consolidated a partnership with swing coach Brendan McDaid which saw the former UCD Sports Scholarship qualify for the 2012 US Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Doing so through a crowded and competitive qualifier at Walton Health to earn the right. Although a frequent visitor to Andalucía Lawrie returns to Valderrama for the first time since the Andalucía Masters in 2011 where he finished in 15th place

For this year’s Open de España Lawrie will join forces with McDaid once again with the role of caddy added to the weekend’s chores for the experienced golf coach. Both men keen to rediscover some tournament form in the south of Spain, following a number of months working together off the course.

“Most of our work has been focussed on impact improvement” explained McDaid, “and getting Peter to compress the ball more at point of impact.”

“Being on the bag will allow me see the progress through the rounds and help keep building on the good work done through the winter,” concluded McDaid

In availing of his winner’s exemption the Open de España is very timely in what will be a challenging season for Lawrie given his reliance on invites and favours this season. All a result of having dropped out of the automatic places in the Race to Dubai two seasons ago. In 2015 Peter missed the cut 17 times, including the Open de España at El Prat in Barcelona. Although he finished 37th at the Challenge de Madrid some weeks later.
The previous year the former event winner missed the weekend play at NH Collection Open de España at La Reserva. However, in 2013 at El Saler in Valencia Lawrie finished 13th and on his return to the Real Golf Club de Sevilla he signed for a 16th place finish. A share of 15th place on his last outing at Valderrama might stir the memory bank for his trip this year.

Such history will prove a bonus for the Lawrie McDaid combination as they battle the 1997 Ryder Cup course, which has seen significant work done recently. Both on the bunkers and tees in order to bring them up to the same high standard as the fairways and greens.

Many of the cork trees lining the course have also been pruned, allowing more aggressive play from the rough, and a brand new high-tech pumping system has improved the playing conditions.

In terms of the Open de España the first event hosted in Andalucía was in 1966 at the neighbouring – and newly opened at the time RCG Sotogrande – where Argentina’s Roberto de Vicenzo stole the show. Four years later it was RCG Las Brisas in Marbella, another Robert Trent Jones layout, which saw a home winner, Angel Gallardo, the current Vice-Chairman of the European Tour.

That year Gallardo won by two shots over England’s Neil Coles and Christy O’Connor Sr. “I had always dreamt of winning my national Open; that was the most thrilling moment of my career” recalls Gallardo.

Nine years passed before the event returned in 1979 to southern Spain at Torrequebrada in Benalmádena, near Málaga, where South African Dale Hayes triumphed. In an event that for the first time had a title sponsor – Benson&Hedges.

In 1983 Eamonn Darcy prevailed over home favourites Manuel Piñero, José María Cañizares and Manuel Montes on a thrilling final day. Sir Nick Faldo’s 1987 carded a two-shot victory over Seve Ballesteros and South Africa’s Hugh Baiocchi.

Faldo later saying the win was a “major turning point”, which restored his confidence as two months later he claimed the first of his six Major titles at The Open Championship.

The event was held consecutively in 2005 and 2006 at The San Roque Club where Sweden’s Peter Hanson and Niclas Fasth, earned playoff victories over Peter Gustafsson and John Bickerton respectively. Then Seville hosted the 2008, 2010 and 2012 editions at Real Club de Golf de Sevilla. A José María Olazábal layout that proved so favourable for Peter Lawrie.

At Valderrama Lawrie goes in search of his own turning point following his failure to regain a playing card at Q School in PGA Catalunya last year. But with renewed confidence, and a friend on the bag there are reasons to be cheerful for this 90th Edition of the Open de Espana.

Lawrie will be joined at the San Roque course by fellow Irish players Paul McGinley and Paul Dunne.

The Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio García Foundation runs from April 14 – 17th 2016


Masters Preview – Rickie Fowler’s Year

Brendan Mcdaid , , , , , ,

Rickie+Fowler+Shell+Houston+Open+Preview+Day+aZJi37bNHQulThis could be Rickie Fowler’s year at Augusta National.

Just fancy his chances even though he has not done anything special so far this year. He can hit it, pitch and putt it. So he has a very good chance this year.

Jason Day obviously can’t be ruled out after being a nearly man for so many events he is now stringing together wins. Last week in Austin at the WGC Dell Match Play and before that at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

So that current form makes him a firm favourite. Although his back seems to be an issue at the moment.

Rory McIlroy is the leading Irish contender no doubt and the Dell Match Play might have sharpened him up somewhat and helped his confidence. A few unexpected cuts this season did not help his momentum and so I wish him a lot of luck this year.

McIlroy just needs to hold it together and tame any tendency to lose control at key times. Or make an unneeded aggressive strokes which get severely punished at the Masters. It’s a time to remain patient throughout.

Shane Lowry hasn’t done enough to suggest this could be his year. But he will have tremendous confidence after the WGC Bridgestone title win from last year. He has the game to do it though Augusta tests it for any weaknesses over 72 holes. The match play in Austin hinted that he is not in the same rich vein of form as of yet.

GMAC has a few demons gathered over the years at The Masters and distance seems to be main challenge for him at Augusta. His win in December at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba can do him no harm though.

Bubba Watson will be hard to beat as will Phil Mickelson. The latter travelling to Georgia slightly under the radar but showing some consistency in recent weeks.

Watson carding wins at hero World Challenge and the Northern Trust Open so will loom large as a possible contender on the Sunday afternoon

Adam Scott is up there too after his two wins this season – The Honda classic and WGC Cadillac Championship.

Outside chances include Brandt Snedeker who has shown some form this season. Or maybe Swede Henrik Stenson – always a firm favourite of mine. But again they need some consistency over the four days to be winners of a Green Jacket.

Another fancy is Louis Oosthuizen. He’s a tough, steady and competitive player with all the skills in his armoury to make the Masters his on this occasion. After coming so close in 2012.

Clearly he can manage his way around the Augusta course quite well   And has that that big easy swing that made Ernie Els such a success and hides the real power he gets on impact.

Jordan Spieth may arrive too exhausted after a Champion’s Year filled with lots of victories, commercial commitments and global travel. Recent weeks suggest it might have just taken its toll – as it does with every Masters Champion – and so the pressure might tell.

Then again Spieth might react positively to driving back down Magnolia Drive and the memory muscles help him just make it back to back titles.

No matter my money is still on Rickie Fowler


SNAG – Start New at Golf

Brendan Mcdaid

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Our popular junior golf lessons are ideal for kids who fall into the following categories: Love the game and want to get better; just want to have fun at golf or try out golf for the first time,

Times Junior golf lessons are available in are:
Limerick on Fridays @ 4pm
Naas on Saturdays @ 3pm

All junior golf lessons are conducted in a group format. The cost for junior golf lessons is €10 per lesson plus the price of a bucket of balls. Individual junior golf lessons are also available on request.

All you have to do is register your child’s name by ringing in advance of class start time in each Academy. We can also organise suitable clubs for those of you that don’t have any with them.

The Brendan McDaid Golf Academy offer a 6 week, SNAG (Start New at Golf) Program for all school children.