Surgical Mullarney cruises to five-shot Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy win
Winner Ronan Mullarney (Galway) with the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Winner Ronan Mullarney (Galway) with the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

There’s more than one way to skin a cat and Ronan Mullarney proved that precision can still trump power when he cruised to an impressive five-stroke victory in the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy.

The 20-year old Paddy Harrington Scholarship student from Salthill had a three-stroke lead heading into the final 36 holes at the James Braid gem.

And while he rarely took the aggressive route, his brilliant short game and precision putting helped him win with ease on 10 under par 278 from Hermitage international Rowan Lester and Portmarnock’s Jack Pierse.

“I am not as long as these guys but I found a way to get it done,” said Mullarney, a Connacht interprovincial for the past two years. “And I just love the place. Along with Portrush, it is one that just suits my eye off the tee and around the greens. I couldn’t wait to get back here.

Ronan Mullarney (Galway) driving at the 17th tee during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Ronan Mullarney (Galway) driving at the 17th tee during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this but coming down the last couple of holes I was thinking that everyone who is anyone in Irish golf —McIlroy, Harrington, McGinley, Lowry— they have all won this. So there could be no better trophy to put your name on but alongside those lads on the Mullingar Scratch Cup.

“Hopefully now I can push now I have two events left this year, the Irish Youths in my home club, Galway Golf Club, and the Irish Close in Ballyliffin. 

“I won the Senior Cup with Maynooth University last year but this is special. I am over the moon.”

Three ahead of Pierse overnight, he dropped just one shot in a two under 70 in the morning but saw his lead cut to two strokes over Mullingar’s Liam Grehan and to three over another Mullingar man in Gareth Carr.

The weight of history proved too much however, and in trying to become the first Mullingar victor in the event’s 54-year history, Grehan followed his superb morning 67 with a 77 to end up seventh as Carr added an 82 to his 68 to end up tied 14th.

Either way Mullarney never looked like being caught.

Playing well within himself all weekend, he relied on clever course management and a razor sharp short game to close with a one under 71 for his first major amateur win as an individual.

It wasn’t all plain sailing as he made a double bogey at the 13th to see his lead briefly cut to just three shots.

Rowan Lester (Hermitage) bunkered at the 18th green during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Rowan Lester (Hermitage) bunkered at the 18th green during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) driving at the 17th tee during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) driving at the 17th tee during the final day of the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

But he used his wedge play to get up and down for birdie fours at the 14th and 16th to restore his five shot cushion before easing over the line by following a bogey at the 17th with a facile, two putt par at the last.

Mullarney’s goal is to win an Irish cap and as he prepares to return to Maynooth for the third year of his degree in Business and Management, he believes that playing with great players has made all the difference.

Dreaming of one day playing on tour, he said: “Playing with those lads every day — the likes of Stuart Grehan, Robin Dawson, Sean Flanagan, Alan Lowry, Jordan Hood, Eugene Smith… Kevin LeBlanc is coming— that makes a huge difference to your game.”

Gerry Austin (Captain, Mullingar Golf Club) presenting Ronan Mullarney (Galway) with the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy after his victory at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Also in the picture are Kevin McIntyre (President, Golfing Union of Ireland), Ann Marie Conlon (sponsor) and Marcus Conroy (Captain, Galway Golf Club).Picture by Pat Cashman

Gerry Austin (Captain, Mullingar Golf Club) presenting Ronan Mullarney (Galway) with the 2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy after his victory at Mullingar Golf Club ( 01/08/2016). Also in the picture are Kevin McIntyre (President, Golfing Union of Ireland), Ann Marie Conlon (sponsor) and Marcus Conroy (Captain, Galway Golf Club).Picture by Pat Cashman

2016 Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy, Mullingar GC (par 72) 

Prize Winners

  1. Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 278
  2. Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 283 (last 54)
  3. Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 283    
  4. Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) 285 (last 54)
  5. Gerard Dunne (Co Louth) 285 (last 54)
  6. Jake Whelan (Newlands) 285

CSS: Round 1: 73; Round 2: 74; Round 3: 72; Round 4: 72

Detailed scores

278 Ronan Mullarney (Galway) 69 68 70 71

283 Rowan Lester (Hermitage) 71 70 71 71, Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 68 72 73 70

285 Jordan Hood (Galgorm Castle) 74 69 71 71, Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth) 71 75 69 70, Jake Whelan (Newlands) 69 74 71 71

286 Liam Grehan (Mullingar) 70 72 67 77

288 Devin Morley (Oughterard) 70 75 71 72, Rob Brazill (Naas) 69 76 72 71

289 Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) 76 68 71 74

290 Karl McCormack (Portarlington) 78 68 73 71, Robin Dawson (Tramore) 73 73 73 71

291 Stephen Watts (Cairndhu) 77 75 69 70

292 Robbie Pierse (Grange) 75 73 72 72, Gareth Carr (Mullingar) 68 74 68 82

293 Nicholas Grant (Shandon Park) 77 75 71 70

294 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) 72 76 73 73, Jack Walsh (Castle) 72 73 73 76, Quentin Carew (Edenderry Golf Club) 70 76 73 75

295 Keith Egan (Royal Curragh) 77 73 72 73, Keith Murphy (Charlesland) 75 68 77 75, Joe Lyons (Galway) 74 74 73 74

296 Shane Hogan (Nenagh) 75 79 70 72, Matthew Grehan (Tullamore) 75 77 67 77

297 Brian Doran (Baltinglass) 73 76 74 74, David Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 73 73 75 76, Shane McDermott (Co. Cavan) 72 76 76 73, Cian Healy (Ballyneety Golf Club) 71 75 77 74

298 Des Morgan (New Forest) 78 73 69 78, David Brady (Co. Sligo) 73 77 76 72, John Hickey (Cork) 72 75 71 80, Andrew McCormack (Castletroy) 70 76 74 78

299 Jack Mc Donnell (Forrest Little.) 77 73 75 74, TJ Ford (Co. Sligo) 76 75 75 73

300 Anthony Mcdaid (Palmerstown Stud) 79 73 76 72, Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock) 77 76 76 71, Peter Kerr (Royal Portrush) 76 78 72 74

302 Paul Carey (Nenagh) 78 75 74 75, Richard Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 77 76 74 75, Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 77 75 80 70

303 Cathal Nolan (Galway) 75 76 75 77

304 Declan King (Tramore) 76 76 76 76

305 Declan Reidy (Co. Sligo) 77 77 73 78, Robert Moran (Castle) 76 76 74 79

308 Gary Ward (Kinsale) 81 74 78 75

310 Ian Lynch (Rosslare) 81 73 78 78, Stephen Walsh (Portmarnock) 80 75 78 77, Jamie Knipe (Royal Portrush) 76 76 82 76, Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock) 72 79 80 79

312 Thomas O'Connor (Athlone) 79 76 77 80

Non qualifiers

155 C Hughes (Galway) 77 78, D Lowry (Corballis Links) 76 79, G Nugent (Kilkenny) 76 79, C Purcell (Portmarnock) 73 82 

156 P Burke (Mullingar) 81 75, P O’Sullivan (Bray) 79 77, T Collins (Dun Laoghaire) 77 79, D McDonald (Old Conna) 77 79, J Sabir (Moate) 74 82 

157 J McVicker (Knock) 81 76, C Woodroofe (Blainroe) 79 78, S Greenberg (Tandragee) 74 83 

158 R Kenny (Millicent) 83 75, S Sweeney (USA) 80 78, S O'Connor (Luttrellstown Castle) 79 79, B McGarry (Nenagh) 78 80, H Foley (The Royal Dublin) 77 81, J Conroy (Portmarnock) 76 82, C Cunningham (Carton House) 76 82, E Long (Monkstown) 75 83 

159 S Brady (Galway) 85 74, S O’Hara (Co. Sligo) 81 78, S Kearney (Esker Hills) 80 79 

160 C Butler (Kinsale) 81 79 

161 J Monaghan (The Royal Dublin) 79 82 

163 K Dunne (Rosslare) 82 81 

165 G Flanagan (Mullingar) 83 82, G Mann (Tullamore) 82 83, R McKinley (Mullingar) 80 85 

166 N Steedman (European) 84 82, D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) 80 86 

167 N Pratt (USA) 80 87 

168 C Moloney (Fota Island) 87 81, C Byrne (USA) 85 83 

WD A Grant (Dundalk) 74 WD, S Kinch (Hollystown) 82 WD, C Crowley (Woodbrook) 75 77, C Fairweather (Knock) 68 80

DQ M Buggy (Castlecomer) 75 DQ