Damien McGrane led home the winning team as the inaugural Team Ireland Golf Pro-Am raised in excess of €50,000 for Ireland's up-and-coming tour stars.
McGrane and the team sponsored by Philip Lynch had 97 points to claim victory at Luttrellstown Castle where Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Paul McGinley were among the 14 professionals to play in teams sponsored by many of Ireland’s leading business people.
Des Smyth, Team Leader for Team Ireland Golf and the driving force behind efforts to support a Sport Ireland funded programme that awarded €94,500 to 12 aspiring tour players this year, was thrilled with the inaugural Pro-Am.
“We made upwards of €50,000 today, which is great and were talking about putting different structures in so we can have a proper flow of revenue that will sustain Team Ireland Golf,” said Smyth.
“Sponsorship is not so easily available as it might have been before and these kids need the support.”
Smyth was appointed to his current position by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) last February and has spearheaded this fundraising Pro-Am. All funds generated from today's event will benefit Team Ireland players in 2018.
"By the time next year's funding comes around, we hope to have extra in the kitty to spread around more and more players," said Smyth.
Several Team Ireland Golf professionals teed it up, including Mount Wolseley’s Gavin Moynihan, who shot 64 and finished as the leading Irishman in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Sunday.
Smyth said: "Gavin is a fine young player and there are other guys no far behind him and they might slip through the net if they are not given some financial support and the invitations that we get by our financial backing of the two Challenge Tour events.
"That costs us €100,000 but it is worth it. Gavin got a Challenge Tour invitation a few weeks ago and finished second and it has guaranteed his place on the Challenge Tour this year and next year.
"That was really the stepping stone to get the invite for the Irish Open. Just look at his showing at Portstewart yesterday. You never know where it will lead."
Team Ireland Golf provides financial and coaching support for emerging Irish talent on professional tours across the globe.
Funded by Sport Ireland, Team Ireland Golf is administered by the CGI. Since the inception of Team Ireland Golf in 1999, the scheme has allocated grants totalling €3.3m. To date, 92 golfers have been supported by Team Ireland Golf including McGrane and former Irish Open champion Lowry.
Team Ireland Golf Pro-Am Results, Luttrellstown Castle Golf Club, 10th July 2017
- 97pts Damien McGrane, Philip Lynch, Judith Whelan, Philippa Lynch
- 91pts Padraig Harrington, Michael Smurfit Jnr, Conor Smurfit, Sharon Smurfit
- 90pts Peter Lawrie, John Gleeson, Imelda Gleeson, Donal Bolger
- 89pts Gary Hurley, Dermot Desmond, Albert Sharps, Derry Desmond
- 88pts Gavin Moynihan, Greg Smyth, Brian Matthews, Shane Smyth