Portmarnock’s Geoff Lenehan and Jack Pierse made a little history in Bangkok on Friday when they became only the second Irish pair to win 12th biannual World Club Championship — seeing off Royal Melbourne in a playoff.
While Matt McAlpin and Chris Hughes won the 2005 edition for Royal Portrush, Portmarnock is the first club from the Republic of Ireland to win a title that is contested by teams from the GOLF Magazines’s Top 100 World List.
The club champion (or a recent past champion) picks their partner of choice providing he is off three or less and Pierse (a nephew of Arthur Pierse) and Lenehan formed a formidable duo, jointly leading the qualifiers for the matchplay stages.
With four teams to qualify for the semi-finals, they fired rounds of 65 and 68 at Ayodhya Links in Ayutthaya to share top spot with Royal Melbourne before going on to beat the Australians on the 19th in the final.
Lenehan and Pierse eased to a 4 and 3 win over Los Angeles Country Club’s John Callaghan and Sandy Horacek in their semi-final as Royal Melbourne’s Will Heffernan and Matias Sanchez beat Royal St George’s Karl Gilbert and Richard Osterdahl by one hole.
In the decider, Portmarnock won the third in birdie to go ahead but lost the sixth to a par and the seventh to a birdie before Lenehan birdied the ninth to level affairs.
Back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th saw the Australians go two up but Portmarnock won three of the next four holes to square the match again.
They then snatched the lead for the first time since the sixth when they eagled the ninth to Royal Melbourne’s birdie four.
But they dramatically lost a ball and lost the 18th, sending the final into a sudden-death playoff.
Displaying the kind of nerve that helped Lenehan won the Mullingar Scratch Cup and Pierse contend for the East of Ireland title this year, they held on to win and become the first European winners since Sunningdale in 2007.
The Portmarnock pair weren't the only Irish golfers in action in Thailand.
Dublin businessman Nick Mullen —a globetrotting agent for Chubby Chandler's ISM— teed it up for Baltusrol and helped the New York club tie for 10th on three under par.