Friday, May 22, 2009

Results: Irish Women's Close Championship Results

You know, I would say that of all the 'big' parkland courses, Fota Island is one of the easier tracks. It's not designed to be really punishing (although the rough can change that easily enough) and that makes it a more enjoyable and relaxing round of golf. But anyone who can pick up 6 birdies in the first 8 holes is just embarrassing the course. I doubt it was done during the Irish Open years in Cork, and here's a 14 year old girl tearing the place to shreds and winning the final of the Irish Women's Close Championship Results, 5 & 4. Congratulations Lisa Maguire.

16 – 20 MAY 2009

20th May 2009

Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russell) defeated Mary Dowling (New Ross) by a 5&4 margin in this afternoon’s thrilling final of the Lancôme Irish Women’s Close in Fota Island Golf.
14 year old Lisa Maguire gave an exhibition of golf throughout the final and Mary Dowling could do little to halt her charge. Birdies on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th 7th and 8th saw Lisa play the opening eight holes in a phenomenal 6 under par. Mary produced birdies at the 8th and 9th but found herself 4 down at the turn despite being 2 under par for the first 9 holes. Lisa’s only fault of the day came at the 11th hole where she missed a 6 ft putt for par, however solid pars for the remaining holes saw her seal victory on the 14th hole, to lift the trophy for the first time in her career.
The opening hole of the Championship final was halved in regulation par 5s by both competitors. The short par 5 2nd, saw Lisa begin her run of birdies with a chip that threatened to drop for eagle but birdie proved enough to win the hole after Mary failed to get up and down from the front right of the green. Lisa then hit her tee shot to 8ft on the par 3, 3rd and was duly followed by Mary who was within 15ft. Mary’s downhill effort slid agonisingly past the hole, with Lisa holing to go 2 up.
The par 5, 4th was again won by Lisa thanks to a chip and putt for birdie which resulted in her storming into a 3up lead after just 4 holes. Dowling did well to half the long par 4 5th hole with a terrific chip and a well held 5ft putt for par. The 6th saw Mary miss the green left with her approach as did Lisa. A delicate chip, which looked like going in, resulted in par being conceded to Mary, before Lisa held her 30ft putt from the fringe of the green for birdie, to go 4 up. The 7th saw another blow dealt to Dowling’s title chances. Mary hit a magnificent approach shot to 8ft before Lisa played into 12 ft, however, the glimmer of hope was dashed when Lisa sank her downhill left to right putt and with Mary failing to hole out she found herself 5 down. Dowling remained composed in the face of what can only be described as breath-taking golf by Lisa and after Lisa hit her tee shot to 25 ft at a tight front left pin over water on the par 3 8th, Mary showed her bravery and determination to play a her tee shot to within 15 ft of the hole. Lisa once again held her putt but was followed in by Mary to half the hole, much to the delight of the gallery who were amazed to be witnessing such a display of golf. A downhill right to left putt for birdie on the 9th saw Mary win back her first hole of the morning and make the turn at 4 down. At this point Lisa was 6 under par and had hit just 11 putts on the front 9.
A bogey 5 on the 10th, after missing the green right and failing to get up and down from the green side bunker, saw Mary returning to 5 down, however this was cancelled out when Lisa made her only mistake of the day, missing a 5ft putt for par on the 11th. The par 3 12th was halved in pars before a 3 putt bogey on the par 5 13th by Mary, lead to Lisa going dormie 5 up. Mary continued to battle and played her pitch to 15ft on the par 5 14th, this gave her a chance to extend the match after Lisa made a solid regulation par. Mary’s effort failed to find the bottom of the cup and Lisa Maguire sealed victory by a 5&4 margin.

For further information contact;

Gillian O'Loughlin
T: +353 1 8558500
M: +353 87 9050287

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So, the two sisters are destined to battle it out again. I'm not excluding any of the other competitors - with golfers from the likes of Baltray and Enniscrone there will be a mighty tournament over one of Ireland's most glamorous parklands - but the Maguire sisters capture the imagination like nothing else. Their age, relationship and abilities make for a fascinating battle, and will do for years to come.

Imagine if women's golf was given the same TV coverage and hype as women's tennis (the Williams sisters...) - the Maguire sisters would be an even bigger phenomenon than they already are. If you're in the neighbourhood, why not drop in and enjoy some great golf and the superb facilities of Fota Island.

16 – 20 MAY 2009

Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell) defends her Lancôme Irish Womens Close Championship title when competitors tee off at Fota Island Golf Resort, Saturday 16 to Wednesday 20 May 2009.

As hot favourite to capture this year’s title, Leona has made a remarkable start to the 2009 season winning every event she has entered to date. In late March, she captured the inaugural Woodenbridge Scratch Cup, followed by the French Under 21 Championship at the start of April. A week later, the prestigious Helen Holm Scottish Strokeplay Championship title followed along with boosting Ulster to a fifth successive win in the Girls’ Interprovincials. The month ended with an emphatic victory in the Irish Schools Championships when she partnered her twin sister Lisa to glory for Loreto College, Cavan.

Lisa will be looking to stop her sister in her tracks and prevent a repeat of last year’s performance which saw her finish runner-up. She too has made a solid start to 2009 finishing third at the Helen Holm and will be looking to claim her first piece of silverware of the season when the Championship tees off on May 16th.

Other players keen to capture the coveted crown will be previous champions Deirdre Smith (Co. Louth) and Karen Delaney (Carlow), as well as internationals Niamh Kitching (Claremorris), Gillian O’Leary (Cork), Dawn Marie Conaty (Ashbourne) and Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor). There is also a host of junior internationals in the field, including the in- form Emma O’Driscoll (Ballybunion) and Laura McCarthy (Muskerry) with the talented Patrice Delaney (Birr) and Sarah Helly (Enniscrone) hot on their heels.

With valuable Order of Merit points on offer, all competitors will be looking to impress the Irish selectors ahead of next month’s announcement of the team of four to play in the Under-18 European Team Championships in Finland and the team of six to play in the Ladies European Team Championships in Slovenia, both 7-11 July.

The Championship begins Saturday May 16 with the first round of the Leitrim Cup, a 36-hole qualifying strokeplay event. Sunday sees the completion of round two after which the leading 32 players will go into the Championship Draw on Monday, concluding Wednesday morning. Those in position 33 thru 48 qualify for the Ita Wallace Trophy.

The Lancôme Irish Ladies’ Close was first played in 1894, just one year after the foundation of the Irish Ladies’ Golf Union, the oldest national union or association in ladies’ golf. 2009 sees another consecutive year’s hosting of the event, excluding the war years.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

Actually, it should be 'the great, the brilliant and the ugly'

The 'great' happened on Friday evening when I got a call from Liam Kelly at the Irish Independent, who says he'll try and squeeze in a piece on the book in the next couple of weeks. A 'few minutes of your time' turned into 40 minutes and I was buzzing for the rest of the evening and the following morning, until 8.48am.

The 'ugly' started at 8.48am when I knocked an eight inch par putt five feet past, on the 1st at Greystones, and sloped off after 18 with a mind-numbing 17 points.

The 'brilliant' happened on Saturday afternoon when I got home and found a thank you letter in my post box. Among other things was this:
"I can assure you that 'Hooked' will be on our coffee table for many years to come."
Who was the letter from? The mighty Colin Montgomerie. A friend of mine knows his wife and I sent him a book so he could see my review of his Carton House course - which I love.

An interesting 24 hours, that's for sure.