Former cricketer aims to hit competition for six

Leonard Owens. Courtesy Stephen Pond/Getty Images

A former Ireland cricketer is set to tee up at Roganstown for the chance to earn a ticket to Turkey for the Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final.

Royal Dublin Golf Club captain Enda McDermott will play alongside PGA Professional Leonard Owens in the Irish regional qualifier over the Dublin course on September 8, where the winning pair will claim a place in the £25,000 final.

The 36-hole championship, which was last year shared by teams from Kedleston Park and Windermere, will return to Antalya Golf Club’s PGA Sultan course for the fifth year running on November 26-27.

For 14-handicapper McDermott, a place at the showpiece occasion would offer him the chance of his biggest day’s sporting competition since he played cricket for his country three decades ago.

In 1982 the then 36-year-old hit 18 runs during the highlight of his cricketing career, a first-class match against Scotland at Myreside, Edinburgh.

And while cricket is still a passion that runs through his veins, McDermott is focusing on his golf as he prepares for the regional event.

“Golf is in my family and for that reason I’ve played it for most of my life – over 30 years,” he explained. “I play a lot now, sometimes up to five times a week and I love it.

“Obviously I’m looking forward to playing alongside Leonard, he’s a really good club pro and is very steady – you can rely on him to hit a good score.

“I get on with him and the rest of the staff at the club really well, they’re always a pleasure to be around.”

McDermott also admitted he’s had the low-down on the venue for the final.

“I have heard a lot about Antalya Golf Club and people say nice things about it, but we have to play the qualifier first and do as well as we can before we think any further ahead,” he said.

“I am lucky in that I have had chance to get myself around and play a lot of different, and very nice, courses.

“I’m sure Antalya would be a good one to be able to add to that list.”

Other pairings playing in the Irish qualifier include last year’s finalists Killeen, represented by Brian Cosgrove and club captain Alan Murphy; Shane O’Grady and Jim Fagan (Black Bush), Brendan McGovern and Norman Ormiston (Headfort), Fintan Lacey and Liam Branigan (Newlands) and Liam Bowler and Denis Brennan (Wexford).

 Douglas Young, managing director of Golfplan, added: “We are delighted to once again to be supporting this event.  We have close associations with The PGA and in 2014 Golfplan celebrates 30 years of working together with PGA Professionals.

 “The PGA Pro-Captain Challenge has proved to be a popular event in the golfing calendar and we wish all the entrants the very best of luck.”

View the full list of entries and event information for the regional qualifier at Roganstown