Dundalk Golf Club host their final event this weekend in the race to crown their 2021 Golfer of the Year
The IJM sponsored Golfer of the Year competition will go right to the wire this weekend when the final counting event, the Jubilee Cup, takes place.
The Golfer of the Year is awarded to the golfer with the highest cumulative points tally from five of the eight counting events, the format displaying his tremendous consistency while seeing his handicap reduce during the season.
At present just six points separate the top 10 and there is an opportunity for several players to claim the title if they can produce a good score on Sunday.
Denis Cunningham, who began the year playing off 9.9 and is now down to 5.9, leads the competition by one point having amassed 185pts from his five counting events. His low score is 34pts so anything above that this weekend will make the task of catching him even harder for the closing pack.
They are led by Gerry McDermott, who is on 184pts, and has seen his handicap tumble from 17.4 to 13.0. His low score is 36pts so he will have to shoot a minimum of 38pts off his current handicap to have any chance to overtaking Cunningham.
Laurence Hanratty and Ray Pepper, on 183pts, are probably the two players with the best chance of catching and passing Cunningham. Hanratty's lowest score is 33pts while Pepper’s is 30pts and both have posted big scores in recent weeks.
Hanratty finished second in the Cochrane Cup at the beginning of September when he shot 42pts while Pepper shot 43pts in finishing second in the Knights of Malta Cup. Hanratty is now down to 22.9 from 25 while Pepper’s handicap has dropped from 20.9 to 18.0.
Last year’s winner, Clem Walshe (1.9), is on 182, alongside Fearghal Duffy (14.3). Walshe’s lowest score is 35pts while Duffy’s is 34pts so they will need to shoot 39pts and 38pts respectively to get to 186pts and hope Cunningham doesn’t shoot better than 34pts.
As well as the battle for Golfer of the Year, there will also be a scrap to qualify for the IJM Scratch Matchplay which will take place on Saturday, October 2nd. Based on the Golfer of the Year points accumulated, the top four in each category – Senior, Junior, Intermediate and Minor – will qualify for the morning semi-finals with the finals being held in the afternoon.
At present Clem Walshe (182pts), Zak Alderdice (176pts) and Neal McKell (175pts) fill the three top spots in the Senior category with Garrett Duffy, Shane Hession and Peter Rogers on 174pts and Conall Murdock and Billy Cairns a point further back.
In the Junior Section, John Conlon and Sean Hession are both on 179pts with Stephen Lynch and Ciaran Traynor on 178pts. Gregory McCaughey lies fifth on 177pts, three points ahead of Austin Shaw and Terry Conlon.
In the Intermediate category, Dennis Cunningham leads on 185pts from Gerry McDermott on 184pts with Fearghal Duffy on 182pts and Michael O’Sullivan on 181pts. Martin McEnteggart is next on 180pts. Ronan Farrelly on 178pts and Conor Rafferty on 177pts are still in with a chance of making the matchplay stages.
Finally, Laurence Hanratty and Ray Pepper lead the Minor Section on 183pts and are six ahead of Brian Crombie and Michael Byrne with John McEneaney and Gavin McDonnell a shot further back on 176pts.
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