O'Neill denies teenager Murphy in TaylorMade Winter Series
Sam Murphy (Portumna) watching the flight of his ball on the 11th tee in the AIG Junior Cup Final at Thurles Golf Club. (07/10/2018). Picture by  Pat Cashman

Sam Murphy (Portumna) watching the flight of his ball on the 11th tee in the AIG Junior Cup Final at Thurles Golf Club. (07/10/2018). Picture by Pat Cashman

Home player Declan O'Neill edged out Portumna teenager Sam Murphy to claim the first nett in the TaylorMade Winter Series at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links.

The scratch man from The Links at Portmarnock had three birdies and two bogeys in a one-under 70, beating 16-year-old Murphy after a count back as 88 players took advantage of clear skies to play the links in a steady, southerly breeze.

Out in level par after following a bogey at the third with a birdie at the eighth, O'Neill birdied the 11th and 14th before following another bogey at the 15th with three closing pars.

Murphy, who helped Portumna win the AIG Junior Cup in Thurles last year and is a member of the Connacht U18 panel, followed birdies at the second and seventh with a dropped shot a the ninth to turn in one-under.

The reigning Connacht U16 champion then came home in one-over par, mixing bogeys at the 12th, 15th and 16th with an eagle three at the 13th.

Another Portmarnock Links man, Colin Rogan, claimed the third nett with a tidy 72 off five as Roganstown professional Brendan Walton won the gross with a level par 71.

He edged out Clontarf's Eoin O'Brien and former East of Ireland champion Reece Black by one stroke as he mixed five birdies (2nd, 6th, 11th, 12th and 17th) with a double bogey on the ninth and three bogeys.

O’Brien was out in three-over before coming home in two-under for the best back nine of the day to sneak past Black, who was home in one-under.

There was also some good luck for Concra Wood's Gary Morgan, playing off five, as he aced the 156-metre ninth.

TaylorMade Winter Series, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links (Par 71 SSS 74, CSS 74)

Nett

1, Declan O’Neill (0) The Links Portmarnock 70;

2, Sam Murphy (1) Portumna GC 70;

3, Colin Rogan (5) The Links Portmarnock 72.

Gross:

1, Brendan Walton (Pro) Roganstown GC 71;

2, Eoin O’Brien (Scr) Clontarf GC 72;

3, Reece Black (+2) Hilton, Templepatrick 72.