There was anger and frustration from many players at venerable County Sligo Golf Club when high winds forced officials to abandon the second round of strokeplay qualifying for the West of Ireland Amateur Open.
Rather than resume play on Sunday after the afternoon wave of 66 were unable to play on as winds gusting up to 47 mph made the course unplayable, the Championship Committee opted to scrap all second rounds scores completely.
As a result, Friday’s leading 64 first round scores were declared as the qualifiers for Sunday’s first round of matchplay combat with a two over 73 by Co Sligo’s Sean Flanagan giving him the silver medal awarded to the leading qualifier for the second year running.
Those who had played in the tougher afternoon conditions on day one felt they had been done a disservice, while those who were going well in the afternoon wave in round two were also peeved.
The matchplay draw shows that just 19 of the 64 qualifiers came through from the tougher Friday afternoon conditions.
“Terrible decision,” lamented Co Sligo’s Gary McDermott, who had followed a windblown, Friday afternoon 84 with a Saturday morning 77 to be in with a chance of making a 36-hole cut had the afternoon play been continued.
He felt play should have been resumed on Sunday morning in the interest of fairness to both sides of the draw but with officials fearing mass no-shows by extending into Sunday morning, a drastic decision was taken.
Joe Lyons, the 2007 champion, disagreed with those who felt a tough course set was to blame for the balls moving on greens and the slow rate of play.
“This afternoon wouldn’t have been playable no matter where the flags were,” Lyons said. “In 2007 I shot 80-66 in the Brabazon Trophy. Half an hour after I shot 66, round two was abandoned. That’s the way it goes sometimes."
Caddie Jude O’Reilly, who has worked for Christy O’Connor Jnr, Shigeki Maruyama and Henrik Stenson, found conditions extreme as he caddied for The Island’s Kevin LeBlanc, tweeting on the initial suspension of play: “I didn’t caddy in The West before ’78 . . . so based on my limited experience this is RIDICULOUS.”
Championship committee chairman Jim McGovern explained: ”The situation was that there could be no more play this evening as the forecast was for no let up until after 8 o’clock. The agreement was that this was the best idea.”
The Committee also fearing many players who were out of contention would not show up on Sunday and as a result, Friday’s first round scores were used to decide the 64 qualifiers for matchplay.
Conveniently for the organisers, exactly 64 players had taken 82 blows or better, saving them from implementing a new condition of competition that required playoffs in the event of ties rather than the traditional count-back method.
Winds had also gusted up to 48 mph on Friday though balls did not move to the same extent as in round two, when players were delayed by up to 10 minutes on exposed greens because the ball would not sit still.
“I had a five iron into the 12th from 80 yards,” said Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly, who then three putted the exposed par-five for a quadruple bogey nine. “It was crazy stuff.”
"I'm probably in around 20th," lamented Geoff Lenehan, who was going superbly in round two but later missed the cut by one shot after an opening 83.
Others such as Eugene Smith, who had followed an 85 with a 70 for certain qualification on 155, also had reason to be upset. So to did Michael Sinclair, after rounds of 83-75 left him on 158.
Kevin LeBlanc was one under for the round and leading on the course at two over for the tournament after eight holes (26 holes overall) when he tripled the ninth, just before play was abandoned.
The course was barely playable at times, depending on the hole and the time, on Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t just the tough Saturday set up that irritate many, it was the delay in suspending play.
Palmerstown Stud's Niall Gorey who qualified thanks to his opening 78, was one of the more vocal critics of the scrapping of scores, insisting that situation might have been avoided with a more lenient set up given officials knew the weather would be poor in the afternoon.
He took to Facebook to explain his thinking:
The problem was it was unplayable for 2hrs before they made a call, balls blew off the 11th green our 5th, yet we played 6 more holes with the same happening before any thing was done. The wind was playable, every tee at the very back, with pins on slopes and greens cut and ironed was what made it unplayable. Yet again.
WEST OF IRELAND AMATEUR OPEN, Co Sligo GC
- (0745) S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) v S Barry (Fota Island),
- (0755) S Grehan (Tullamore) v T McLarnon (Massereene),
- (0805) S Ryan (The Royal Dublin) v R Knightly (The Royal Dublin),
- (0815) J Greene (Portmarnock) v N McKinstry (Cairndhu),
- (0825) S Coulter (Warrenpoint) v R Mullarney (Galway),
- (0835) C Campbell (Warrenpoint) v B Kelly (Esp),
- (0845) L Grehan (Mullingar) v S O’Connor (Castlebar),
- (0855) D Morgan (New Forest) v A Gaynor (Co. Sligo),
- (0905) S Carter (The Royal Dublin) v E Griffin (Waterford),
- (0915) A Lowry (Esker Hills) v T Coffey (Slieve Russell),
- (0925) G Dunne (Co. Louth) v C Feeney (Co. Sligo),
- (0935) G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) v B Anderson (The Royal Dublin),
- (0945) D Holland (Castle) v M Wylie (Por),
- (0955) B Daly (Edmondstown) v C Crowley (Woodbrook),
- (1005) A Grant (Dundalk) v A Morris (Belvoir Park),
- (1015) W Russell (Clandeboye) v P Coughlan (Moate),
- (1025) K Le Blanc (Island) v S Kinch (Hollystown),
- (1035) I O’Rourke (The Royal Dublin) v A Gleeson (Castle),
- (1045) B Best (Rathmore) v M Shanahan (Castlemartyr),
- (1055) S Brady (Co. Sligo) v JR Galbraith (Whitehead),
- (1105) G Collins (Rosslare) v D Mallon (Dungannon),
- (1115) D McElroy (Ballymena) v S Healy (Carton House),
- (1125) J Fletcher (Warrenpoint) v C Butler (Kinsale),
- (1135) C O’Rourke (Naas) v W Hanna (Kilkeel),
- (1145) J Yates (Naas) v D Reidy (Co. Sligo),
- (1155) T Hackett (The Royal Dublin) v S Cullen (Slieve Russell),
- (1205) H Duggan (Kilkenny) v C O’Donnell (Castletroy),
- (1215) N Gorey (Palmerstown Stud) v R Connolly (Carton House),
- (1225) J Fox (Portmarnock) v T Cleary (Woodstock),
- (1235) C Rafferty (Dundalk) v J Pierse (Portmarnock),
- (1245) S Bleakley (Shandon Park) v K Stack (Dungarvan),
- (1255) E McCormack (Galway Bay) v M Kane (Whitehead)
73 S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) leading qualifier;
74 K Le Blanc (Island);
75 J Yates (Naas), S Carter (The Royal Dublin);
76 D Holland (Castle), J Fox (Portmarnock), G Collins (Rosslare), S Coulter (Warrenpoint), L Grehan (Mullingar), J Fletcher (Warrenpoint), S Bleakley (Shandon Park);
77 A Grant (Dundalk), G Dunne (Co. Louth), H Duggan (Kilkenny), B Best (Rathmore), S Ryan (The Royal Dublin), J Greene (Portmarnock), S Brady (Co. Sligo);
78 N Gorey (Palmerstown Stud), G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick), W Russell (Clandeboye), E McCormack (Galway Bay), C O'Rourke (Naas), D Morgan (New Forest);
79 C Campbell (Warrenpoint), D McElroy (Ballymena), C Rafferty (Dundalk), B Daly (Edmondstown), A Lowry (Esker Hills), T Hackett (The Royal Dublin), I O'Rourke (The Royal Dublin);
80 S Grehan (Tullamore), T McLarnon (Massereene), A Gleeson (Castle), S Cullen (Slieve Russell), T Coffey (Slieve Russell), C Crowley (Woodbrook), J Pierse (Portmarnock), S Healy (Carton House);
81 B Kelly (Esp), A Gaynor (Co. Sligo), W Hanna (Kilkeel), M Kane (Whitehead), P Coughlan (Moate), B Anderson (The Royal Dublin), R Connolly (Carton House), JR Galbraith (Whitehead), N McKinstry (Cairndhu), R Knightly (The Royal Dublin), M Shanahan (Castlemartyr), C O'Donnell (Castletroy);
82 C Feeney (Co. Sligo), A Morris (Belvoir Park), K Stack (Dungarvan), C Butler (Kinsale), S O'Connor (Castlebar), R Mullarney (Galway), D Mallon (Dungannon), T Cleary (Woodstock), M Wylie (Por), E Griffin (Waterford), D Reidy (Co. Sligo), S Kinch (Hollystown), S Barry (Fota Island).
83 M Sinclair (Knock), G Lenehan (Portmarnock), C Geraghty (Laytown & Bettystown), C Dullaghan (Greenore), G McKenna (Fortwilliam), A McCormack (Newcastle West), P Murray (Limerick), M McKinstry (Cairndhu), R Dutton (Tandragee), R Brazill (Naas), B Murray (Waterford Castle), A Myles (Newlands), E O'Donovan (Craddockstown), P Kerr (Royal Portrush), D Reddan (Nenagh), C Purcell (Portmarnock), K McCarron (North West), D Brophy (Castleknock);
84 G McDermott (Carton House), F Kennedy (Island), P McCarthy (Mallow), E Stack (Ballybunion), A Fahy (Bray), D Lowry (Corballis Links), R Dawson (Tramore), K McCormack (Portarlington), S Hogan (Nenagh), J Conroy (Bray), R Williamson (Holywood), S O'Hara (Co. Sligo), J Hickey (Cork), T O'Connor (Athlone), J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle), D Brady (Co. Sligo);
85 C Consul (Ger), D Morley (Oughterard), R Hynes (The Royal Dublin), E Smith (Ardee), J Lyons (Galway)
86 P Sheehan (Ballybunion), D Murphy (Portarlington), P Kane (Ashbourne), M Morrissey (Mount Wolseley), J O'Leary (Dromoland), C Hughes (Galway);
87 J McCarthy (Stackstown), S McGlynn (Portmarnock), M Dallat (Ballycastle), R Neville (The Links Portmarnock), N Crawford (Mourne);
88 T Collins (Dun Laoghaire), J Whelan (Newlands), C Woodroofe (Blainroe), D Coghlan (Portmarnock), M Reid (Galgorm Castle);
89 J McDonnell (Forrest Little.), M Power (Kilkenny);
90 D Flynn (Carton House), P Neville (Bearna);
91 G Young (Nenagh), C McCaughey (Dungannon), P McCarville (Clones), T Mulligan (Co. Louth);
92 D O'Neill (Carton House), M Reddan (Limerick);
94 B Doran (Palmerstown Stud);
96 J Hadnett (Castletroy), Ross Steedman (Courtown)
THE ABANDONED SCORES 36 HOLE TOTALS
ROUND TWO - FIRST WAVE
149 Conor O'Rourke (Naas Golf Club) 78 71
150 Stuart Grehan (Tullamore Golf Club) 80 70, Dermot McElroy (Ballymena Golf Club) 79 71, Sean Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 77 73, Jonathan Yates (Naas Golf Club) 75 75
151 Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene Golf Club) 80 71, Des Morgan (New Forest) 78 73
154 Conor Purcell (Portmarnock) 83 71, Declan Reidy (Co. Sligo Golf Club) 82 72, Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) 81 73, Eddie McCormack (Galway Bay Golf Club) 78 76
155 Eugene Smith (Ardee) 85 70, Ronan Mullarney (Galway Golf Club) 82 73, Andrew Morris (Belvoir Park Golf Club) 82 73, Brian Kelly () 81 74, Jack Pierse (Portmarnock) 80 75, Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk Golf Club) 79 76, Ian O'Rourke (The Royal Dublin) 79 76, William Russell (Clandeboye) 78 77
156 Fergal Kennedy (Island) 84 72
157 Paul McCarthy (Mallow Golf Club) 84 73, Barry Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 81 76
158 Ben Murray (Waterford Castle Golf Club) 83 75, Michael Sinclair (Knock) 83 75
159 Karl McCormack (Portarlington Golf Club) 84 75
160 Rory Williamson (Holywood Golf Club) 84 76, Steffan O'Hara (Co. Sligo Golf Club) 84 76, Andrew McCormack (Newcastle West Golf Club) 83 77, Kevin Stack (Dungarvan Golf Club) 82 78, Matt Wylie () 82 78
161 Gary McDermott (Carton House Golf Club) 84 77, Gavin McKenna (Fortwilliam Golf Club) 83 78, David Reddan (Nenagh Golf Club) 83 78, Pat Murray (Limerick Golf Club) 83 78, Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu Golf Club) 83 78
162 Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little.) 89 73, Mark Morrissey (Mount Wolseley Golf Club) 86 76, Devin Morley (Oughterard Golf Club) 85 77, Claudio Consul () 85 77, Edward Stack (Ballybunion Golf Club) 84 78, Neil McKinstry (Cairndhu Golf Club) 81 81
163 Michael Dallat (Ballycastle Golf Club) 87 76, Dave Lowry (Corballis Links Golf Club) 84 79, Jamie Sutherland (Galgorm Castle Golf Club) 84 79
164 Mark Power (Kilkenny Golf Club) 89 75, Michael Reid (Galgorm Castle Golf Club) 88 76, Daniel Murphy (Portarlington Golf Club) 86 78, Alec Myles (Newlands) 83 81
165 Darragh Flynn (Carton House Golf Club) 90 75, Colin Woodroofe (Blainroe Golf Club) 88 77
166 Jake Whelan (Newlands) 88 78, Thomas O'Connor (Athlone Golf Club) 84 82, Shane O'Connor (Castlebar Golf Club) 82 84
167 Robert Neville (The Links Portmarnock) 87 80, Jason O'Leary (Dromoland Golf Club) 86 81
168 Conor McCaughey (Dungannon Golf Club) 91 77, Shane McGlynn (Portmarnock) 87 81
169 Thomas Mulligan (Co. Louth Golf Club) 91 78, Peter Sheehan (Ballybunion Golf Club) 86 83
170 Declan O'Neill (Carton House Golf Club) 92 78
171 John McCarthy (Stackstown Golf Club) 87 84
172 Gavin Young (Nenagh Golf Club) 91 81
173 Brian Doran (Palmerstown Stud) 94 79
178 Michael Reddan (Limerick Golf Club) 92 86, Patrick Neville (Bearna Golf Club) 90 88
182 Ross Steedman (Courtown Golf Club) 96 86