Portmarnock Links carnage: Cullen and Lenehan the lone survivors
Gary Cullen

Gary Cullen

Amateurs looking for some early practice for next year's West of Ireland Championship got it in spades in the weather-ravaged TaylorMade Winter Series outing a Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.

While there were 80 players on the timesheet for the regular Tuesday outing for low handicap amateurs and professionals, just 20 teed it up as rain, hail and gusts in excess of 70 hmph lashed the north Dublin links.

Plus three-handicapper Gary Cullen is a breed apart and wasn't unduly perturbed from the whites (a sensible option on the day), despite the vicious north-easterly crosswind.

And while he played his last four holes in five over for a 76, carding a 79 nett, he was the only player in the field to break 80, winning the main prize.

Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan, one of his club's AIG Senior Cup winning heroes this season, won the gross prize with an 80 and admitted that the crosswinds were so strong, he started a number of shots "40 or 50 yards left or right" of his target and allowed the wind to do the rest.

Putting was a challenge, but many players still travelled long distances to tee it up, including international Peter O'Keeffe, who made the 270 km trek from Douglas to Dublin.

TaylorMade Winter Series, Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links (Par 71)

Nett: Gary Cullen (+3) Portmarnock Links 79

Gross: Geoff Lenehan (+3) Portmarnock GC 80