Brian Keogh at Lahinch
Just over a week after falling into an emotional embrace with his former Walker Cup partner Padraig Harrington at a post-Open Championship welcome home party, Milltown’s Jody Fanagan could only look on and smile as Ireland’s up-and-coming champion Shane Lowry sent him packing in the fourth round of the McNamara sponsored South of Ireland Championship at rain-sodden Lahinch.
On a day which ended with the suspension of play due to lightning with five matches still to be completed, the 43-year-old Dubliner bowed out to the reigning West and North of Ireland champion, who clattered the flagstick with his recovery pitch on the 17th and gratefully watched the ball disappear for a winning birdie three and a hard-fought 3 and 1 victory.
It was a sad end to Fanagan’s holiday visit to the County Clare links where he beat Harrington by one hole to lift the title in 1995 and stretched his unbeaten run as far as the following year’s decider, when he was defeated by Portmarnock’s Adrian Morrow.
But he did not go out without showing some of his old class, holing from long range to beat Edenderry’s Greg Carew at the 20th in the third round, before forcing Esker Hills man Lowry to fight tooth and claw to keep his victory hopes alive in the afternoon.
Indeed, it was a day for the older man at a wet and windless Lahinch as 43-year-old Kilkenny man Eddie Power rolled back the years to cruise into the last 16 and 37-year-old Kieran Canty of Douglas caused the shock of the championship so far when he beat the defending champion, Dunmurry’s Darren Crowe, 3 and 1.
Three times the Irish Close champion, Power holed a 37-yard bunker shot for an eagle at the 18th to beat Irish Youths champion Seamus Power by one hole in the morning. In the afternoon, he beat David Ryan of Grange by 4 and 3 and learned at the finish that it had been a good day all round for the family as his eight-year-old son Mark had just won the Young Masters Golf title at Forrest Little.
Retired from representative golf since 1999, Power is not getting ahead of himself in a championship where he has yet to better his quarter-final appearance against Sean McTernan in 2002.
“Funnily enough I have had better results in the South since they changed the course. But it is the only championship I play these days,” Power said. “I only play club golf with Kilkenny and I have another few rounds to play yet before I can think of winning. The younger guys are so fit and hit the ball so far.”
After two days of windless golf, Power hopes it blows hard today when he takes on Corkman Canty in the fifth round. The Douglas player has been competing at Lahinch “for about 15 years” but never managed to make it past Monday afternoon.
Against the defending champion Crowe, he was one down after six holes but birdied the eighth and ninth to go one up, claimed the 10th in par and then eagled the 12th to go three up and never looked back.
"When I got ahead I wasn't going to hand him anything,” said Canty, who lost to current European Tour professional Gary Murphy on his last appearance in the fourth round. “If he made birdies well and good. Thankfully he didn't throw any at me.”
Another 37-year-old, fouyr-time semi-finalst Pat Murray of Limerik, came back from five down after nine to beat Westmanstown’s David Reilly by one hole in the morning before surviving another 18th hole battle with Portmarnock’s James Fox.
South of Ireland Amateur Open Championship, Lahinch GC
P Murray (Limerick) bt D Reilly (Westmanstown) 1 hole;
J Fox (Portmarnock) bt G Nugent (Kilkenny) 2/1;
C Daly (Castletroy) bt D Glynn (Galway) 1 up;
K McDonagh(Athlone/NUIM) bt C O’Malley (Westport) 2/1;
N Gorey (Lee Valley) bt M Ryan (Grange) 2/1;
D O’Donovan (Muskerry) bt G McDermott (Co Sligo) 3/2;
J Fanagan (Milltown) bt G Carew (Edenderry) 20th;
S Lowry (Esker) bt C Cunningham (Carton House) 3/2;
E Power (Kilkenny) bt S Power (West Waterford) 1 hole;
D Ryan (Grange) bt K Kennedy (Thurles) 4/3;
K Canty (Douglas) bt G McGrane (The Royal Dublin) 2/1;
D Crowe (Dunmurry) bt S Doherty (Malone) 5/4;
A Hogan (Newlands) bt P Sheehan (Ballybunion) 3/2;
D Morgan (Mullingar) bt D Finn (Mallow) 1 hole;
D Byrne (Douglas) bt D O’Driscoll (Ballybunion) 1 up;
P O’Hanlon (The Curragh) bt D Keating (Kinsale) 3/2;
E O’Connor (Ballybunion) bt D Conway (Portmarnock) 2/1;
A Condren (Greystones) bt B V Reddan (Co Louth) 4/3;
N Grant (Knock) bt S Moloney (Castletroy) 4/3;
F Rafferty (Dungannon ) bt J McNally (Stoke Park) 4/3;
E Haugh (Castletroy) bt E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 2/1;
G Dunne (Seapoint) bt P Sheehy (Lahinch) 4/3;
S Crowe (Dunmurry) bt G O’Flaherty (Cork) 1 hole;
N Kearney (The Royal Dublin) bt D Rawluk (The Island) 5/4;
S Ward (Co Louth) bt D Downie (Sutton) 19th;
R McNamara (Headfort) bt D O’Donovan (Bandon) 3/2;
A Graham (Pacific G & C Club) bt T Cleary (East Clare) 3/2;
D McInerney (Lahinch) bt C Curley (Newlands) 5/4;
J D Guiney (Ballybunion) bt B Tracy (National Golf Links) 2/1;
A O’Callaghan (Douglas) bt S Kenneally (Kinsale) 6/5;
F Deasy (Cork) bt K McCarthy (Kinsale) 5/4;
T Neenan (Lahinch) bt J O’Neill (Lee Valley) 4/3.
P Murray bt J Fox 1 hole;
K McDonagh bt C Daly 1 up;
N Gorey bt D O’Donovan 2/1;
S Lowry bt J Fanagan 3/1;
E Power bt D Ryan 4/3;
K Canty bt D Crowe 3/1;
A Hogan bt D Morgan 2 holes;
P O'Hanlon bt D Byrne 4/3;
A Condren bt E O'Connor 6/5;
N Grant bt F Rafferty 3/2;
E Haugh 2 up v G Dunne after 13;
N Kearney bt S Crowe 5/4;
S Ward 3 up v R McNamara after 12;
A Graham 1 up v D McInerney after 12;
A O'Callaghan 5 up v JD Guiney after 12;
F Deasy 1 up v T Neenan after 11.
5th rd (8.0)
Murray v McDonagh; Gorey v Lowry; Power v Canty; Hogan v O'Hanlon; Condren v Grant or Rafferty; Hugh or Dunne v Kearney; Ward or McNamara v Graham or McInerney; O'Callaghan or Guiney v Deasy or Neenan.