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Holland the clear winner in Mullingar

Daniel Holland (Castle) holes out on the final green to win the Mullingar Scratch Trophy. Picture by Pat CashmanCastle’s Daniel Holland broke the hearts of the huge home gallery when he left Des Morgan in his wake and cruised to a three-shot win with a brilliant final round performance in the Mullingar Scratch Trophy.

The 23-year old, who played a major role in the Dublin club’s  first All Ireland Senior Cup win in 99 years last season, closed with a four under 68 to claim his first major individual triumph with an eight under par total of 280.

“When I first came here in 2011 and saw the pictures of all the great players who have won this trophy, I realised that it really was a prestigious event and that I’d love to have my photo up on that wall some day,” said the winner after closing out the tournament with a 20 foot birdie putt on the final green.

Daniel Holland with the Mullingar Scratch Trophy. Picture: Thos Caffrey www.golffile.ie“I am a bit overwhelmed that it is going to be there as well. Winning the All Ireland Senior Cup with the Castle last year will still rank No 1, but this is a close second. It’s an honour to win here and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Morgan was the sentimental favourite to become the first Mullingar man to win the title in the event’s 50th anniversary staging having undergone a surgical intervention to replace a faulty heart defibrillator just 10 weeks ago.

The 32-year old Mullingar man struggled to a third round 74 but still led by a shot from Holland on five under par through 54 holes after the Dubliner took a triple bogey seven at the 17th en route to a 73.

There were 14 players within six shots of Morgan, who has suffered from SADS or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome since 2004, with a round to go.

Mullingar’s Des Morgan jumps the water hazard at the 18th green during the final round of the Mullingar Scratch Cup. Picture by Pat CashmanAnd while Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan (70), Dundalk’s Aaron Grant (68) and Warrenpoint’s William Hanna (70) posted the clubhouse target at five under par, it was always going to come down to Holland and Morgan on the back nine.

Morgan turned for home just a shot in front on six under after Holland, short of stature but powerfully built, pitched close at the ninth from under a tree on the left and made birdie from around eight feet.

The first big turning point came at the 10th, where Morgan went left into the trees and took out a fairway wood. Attempting an over ambitious shot, his attempt crashed into a tree and came down in the rough just 30 yards away. A double bogey followed and Holland rubbed it in by getting up and down from short of the green for par.

Suddenly Holland was one in front on five under and while reports of great deeds were filtering back from the earlier starters, the afternoon’s protagonists went about their business with great focus.

At the 11th, Morgan carved his tee shot into the trees on the right. But while he hit a fantastic second to 15 feet pin high, he burned the edge after Holland had drained an unlikely 30 footer for a birdie to go two clear on six under.

Daniel Holland (Castle) driving from the 8th tee in the final round. Picture by Pat Cashman In fairness to the Mullingar man, he is not lacking in courage and after watching Holland shave the hole from 25 feet at the par-three 12th, he allowed himself a small fist pump when he holed a 15 footer for a two there to close the gap to one shot.

The 13th was “halved” in pars but the golfing gods decided that it would not be Morgan’s year this year.

At the par-five 14th he hit two might blows to the upslope of the green but watched his ball trickle back into the sand. Holland went on to two putt easily from 35 feet for birdie to get to seven under but Morgan’s sand shot had no spin and he couldn’t make the 10 footer and fell two back.

After pars at the short 15th, the 16th and 17th would decide which of the two would take the title. Holland was unaware at that stage that the clubhouse target was five under. He smply knew he had to keep going.

As it turned out, neither could birdie the 16th with Morgan the more disappointed of the two after his chip from just left of the green failed to run out and he left himself a challenging birdie putt across the slope.

Liam Grehan had a great final day. Picture by Pat Cashman Still two ahead, Holland remained in a coocoon of concentrate in his wraparound shades. If he had be thinking of his seven from the morning round, it didn’t shot. After watching Morgan blast a big drive up the middle, he stuck with his game plan and hit a five wood short of the trap on the left.

He then put one hand on the trophy when he hit a gorgeous eight iron to nine feet. Morgan needed birdie just to give himself a chance going to the par-five 18th.

But he pushed his approach a hair and left himself a delicate chip from a soft lie. He caught it heavy with a wedge, came up 10 feet short and missed the putt, eventually carding a 73 to share fifth with Claremorris’ Stephen Healy (70) and Irish Amateur Open champion Robbie Cannon (67) from Balbriggan.

“I’m not too disappointed,” Morgan said. “I am just happy to be back playing golf after what happened 10 weeks ago. There are more important things than golf.”

Holland had a birdie putt to go four clear of Morgan and three ahead of the clubhouse leaders but missed low. It didn’t matter in the end.

For the first time all afternoon, he asked on the 18th tee what was leading and sensibly laid up when he hit his tee shot into the left rough. 

Morgan went for broke with a wood from just a few yards nearer the green but cut it and was fortunate to come up short of the stream. He would make par in the end and will have to wait and see if the Mullimgar Scratch Trophy is destined to be his one day.

This was Holland’s time.

After hitting an average third that just clambered over the hazard, he left himself 20 feet for birdie. With the luxury of three putts for victory,  the UCD graduate in Landscape Architecture needed only one.

After rolling in his birdie putt, he paid tribute to former Walker Cup star Eoghan O’Connell and others, having just returned from six month’s working under the Kerryman at the Fox Club in Florida.

“It was a great experience, I learnt a lot and it certainly stood to me today,” he said. “I was just nice to see the practice paying off.

“I was surrounded by a lot of good people and I played with a lot of pros like Carl Mason, and a man called John Traub took me under his arm.”

As for his first individual win, he said: “Winning the All Ireland Senior Cup with the Castle last year will still rank No 1 but this is a close No 2. I’m very proud to have won this great trophy”

Mullingar Scratch Trophy

(Sponsored by Barber Pole Putters and CopperFace Jacks), Mullingar GC (Par 72)

Final

280 D Holland (Castle) 68 71 73 68

283 G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 73 71 69 70, A Grant (Dundalk) 70 71 74 68, W Hanna (Warrenpoint) 70 71 72 70

284 S Healy (Claremorris) 73 74 67 70, R Cannon (Balbriggan) 71 75 71 67, D Morgan (Mullingar) 67 70 74 73

285 L Grehan (Mullingar) 75 70 68 72, A Kearney (Castlerock) 71 69 75 70, S Ward (Co Louth) 70 75 73 67

287 C Doran (Banbridge) 75 69 71 72, M Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 71 76 72 68, N Grant (Knock) 69 74 70 74

288 S Grehan (Tullamore) 72 73 68 75, J Galbraith (Whitehead) 71 74 71 72

289 J Lyons (Galway) 71 73 73 72

290 R Bridges (Stackstown) 74 71 75 70, C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown) 73 74 76 67, J Whelan (Newlands) 73 71 74 72

292 C Fairweather (Knock) 76 72 73 71

293 C Rafferty (Greenore) 74 69 76 74

294 S Hogan (Nenagh) 77 72 71 74

295 R Symington (Lisburn) 72 77 71 75, J Fox (Portmarnock) 72 71 78 74, S Cullen (Slieve Russell) 70 79 73 73

296 S Bryan (Delgany) 73 77 71 75, G Mungovan (Headfort) 73 75 73 75

297 C Purcell (Portmarnock) 74 73 74 76, A Thomas (Dungarvan) 73 77 76 71

298 S Maloney (Dunmurry Springs) 75 74 75 74

299 S Brady (Co Sligo) 72 78 73 76

300 S Ryan (Royal Dublin) 73 76 74 77

301 C McKenna (Mallow) 74 73 80 74

302 P Connolly (Clontarf) 77 74 74 77, B McSweeney (Royal Dublin) 76 74 72 80, P Coughlan (Moate) 74 75 73 80

303 J Pierse (Grange) 73 72 80 78, A Doran (Ardee) 72 76 77 78

304 S O’Connor (Luttrelstown) 75 72 79 78, C Kennedy (Forrest Little) 74 76 77 77, J Igoe (Longford) 73 75 79 77

309 B McCormack (Castle Barna) 73 76 75 85

310 M Murphy (Co Longford) 76 75 77 82

314 C McGrogan (Newbridge) 77 74 78 85

DQ C Tormey (Mullingar) 76 74 DQ

Non-qualifiers

151 D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 73 78, A Hogan (Newlands) 73 78, S McGlynn (Carton House) 71 80

152 J Rackard (Bunclody) 78 74, N McGlynn (Carton House) 77 75, L Hutchinson (Royal Dublin) 77 75, N Worth (The Island) 77 75

153 D McDonough (Galway) 80 73, G Lappin (Belvoir Park) 79 74, P Neville (Athenry) 77 76, A Kiernan (Forrest Little) 75 78, B McGarry (Birr) 74 79, M Kelly (Mullingar) 72 81

154 J Gourley (Hollywood) 79 75, G Bohill (Co Louth) 78 76, S Moran (Carton House) 76 78, J Walsh (Castle) 75 79, T O’Connor (Athlone) 75 79, M O’Rourke (Royal Tara) 74 80

155 C Stone (Carton House) 77 78, S Carter (Stackstown) 76 79, T McLarnon (Massereene) 76 79, R Walsh (Kilkenny) 75 80

156 P Burke (Mullingar) 81 75, J Timlin (Dungannon) 81 75, G Lawlor (Newbridge) 80 76, R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 80 76, E Farrell (Ardee) 79 77, D Shaw (Belvoir Park) 78 78, R Murray (Castle) 75 81

157 L McMillan (Carton House) 83 74, D Carey (Carton House) 83 74, A Hanley (Royal Dublin) 81 76, H Coyne (Carton House) 78 79, D Reidy (Co Sligo) 75 82

158 D Brady (Co Sligo) 80 78, M Richards (Roganstown) 78 80, R Pierse (Grange) 77 81

159 G O’Connor (Malahide) 82 77, A Purdy (Ballyclare) 80 79, B Fennelly (Royal Dublin) 79 80, C Dunphy (Killeen Castle) 78 81

161 P O’Leary (Lucan) 80 81, J Monaghan (Royal Dublin) 76 85

162 M McCusker (Holywood) 80 82

Selected final round cards