Josh Mackin after winning the recent Ulster Boys' Championship.
Josh Mackin’s rich vein of form continued on Saturday when he won the Club Championship and in the process moved his handicap to plus one for the first time in his career.
The 17-year-old, who recently won the Ulster Boys Championship, shot rounds of 70 and 71 to take the title by two shots from the defending champion, Araon Grant with Irish international and current holder of West of Ireland and South of Ireland Championships, Caolan Rafferty, in third place a shot further back.
Mackin started slowly and was three over after four holes and although he got one back with a birdie at the sixth he gave it back at the ninth as he turned in three over par 39. A birdie on the par five 10th got him back to two over before he produced a remarkable run of six consecutive threes to cover the final six holes in four under as he came home in five under par for 31.
That left him leading after the first round by three shots from Grant and Eoin Murphy who both shot 73 with Brendan Lawlor a shot further back. Caolan Rafferty found himself five off the lead after a three over par 75.
Rafferty, however, responded in the second round with a three under par 69, the only sub-70 round of the tournament while Grant shot a two under par 70 and Murphy and Lawlor botrh carded 71s as the chasing pack tried to put pressure on the teenage leader.
Mackin, however, held his nerve in the second round although he once again struggled on the front nine. Despite starting with four successive pars and birdieing the sixth, he dropped shots at the fifth, seventh and ninth to turn in 39. However, birdies at two par fives, the 10th and 12th, and an eagle two on short par four 14th got him under par for this round and although he birdied the 15th, he handed that back when he bogeyed 17.
He came home in 32 for a second round total of 71 and finished on three under with a total score of 141. That was enough to get his handicap below scratch as he becomes the fourth Dundalk player currently playing off a plus handicap. Brendan Lawlor (1) took the Best Nett prize with 143.
Six members of the Senior Panel took part in Sunday’s Warrenpoint Scratch Cup where Caolan Rafferty finished second after round 70 and 69. Rafferty has been named in the GUI Squad for the St. Andrews Links Trophy in Scotland from June 7 to 9.
The Pierce Purcell team failed to make it out of their regional qualifier at the weekend on Bellewstown.
Ten handicapper Donal Sheridan won the PGA Tankard and GUI Gold Medal Qualifier on Sunday with an excellent score of 41pts which was one better than Jimmy O’Connor (19). Sheridan, O’Connor and Mark Gorham (4) will now go forward to represent the club in the GUI Gold Medal competition.
Gorham shot 38pts to win Category One and his gross score of 34pts was the day’s best. Mark Browne (12) took Category Two with 39pts, while Joe Garvey (18) pipped Colm Cobun (18) for the Category Three prize on countback after both had shot 37pts. Lee Egan (24) won the Juvenile Prize.
Aidan Thornton (8) shot 40pts to win Wednesday’s Open Singles Stableford.
Sunday, May 12 - PGA Tankard & GUI Gold Medal Qualifier – Overall: Donal Sheridan (10) 41pts, Jimmy O’Connor (19) 40pts. Category One (0-9): Mark Gorham (4) 38pts, Neil Mulooly (6) 37pts/20. Category Two (10-17): Mark Browne (12) 39pts, Anthony O’Donoghue (13) 38pts/20. Category Three: (18+): Joe Garvey (18) 37pts/22, Colm Coburn (18) 37pts. Best Gross: Mark Gorham (4) 34pts/20. Best Juvenile: Lee Egan (24) 32pts. GUI Gold Medal Qualifiers: Mark Gorham. Donal Sheridan, Jimmy O’Connor. CSS: 36pts.
Saturday, May 11 – Club Championship: 141 – Josh Mackin (70, 71). 143 – Aaron Grant (73, 70). 144 – Caolan Rafferty (75, 69), Eoin Murphy (73, 71). 145 – Brendan Lawlor (74, 71). 149 – Neal MacKell (75, 74), Peter Rogers (75, 74). Best Nett: 143 - Brendan Lawlor (1, 73, 70).
Wednesday, May 8 – Open Singles Stableford – Overall: Aidan Thornton (8) 40pts, Aaron Hoey (11) 36/18pts, Brendan Cunningham (21) 36pts. Best Gross: Aidan Thornton (8) 32pts.