Rhys Clarke defies tough conditions to win at Portmarnock Links
Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links

Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links

The Island's Rhys Clarke outdid the professionals to win the gross with a best of the day 72 in the TaylorMade Winter Series at a wind-lashed Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.

Just 50 players braved horizontal rain and a steady 25 mph southerly wind that gusted close to 40 mph but despite making three bogeys in his first five holes, plus one handicapper Clarke was not to be denied.

Accustomed to the wind, he eagled the par-five sixth, and while he bogeyed the ninth hole to go out in two-over, he made back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th and was only denied a level par round by a closing bogey.

His one-over 72 gave him the gross by two strokes from Galway professional Roy O'Neill, who had four bogeys (at the 2nd, 8th, 9th and 17th) and one birdie (6th) in a three-over 74.

Killeen Castle professional Andrew Gorman won the third gross with a 75, going out in three over and adding a triple bogey at the 10th before finishing well with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th.

Dundalk professional Leslie Walker took the top nett prize with a two-over 73 as Cork's John Hickey, now a professional, signed for a 74 to edge out Athlone professional Daniel O'Connor on a countback for the second nett.

Out in three over with back to back sixes at the par-five fourth and par-four fifth, Walker mixed a lone birdie at the 14th with eight pars on the way home.

Hickey was also out in three-over and back in level par after he bogeyed the 10th, birdied the 15th and then followed another bogey at the 17th with a birdie three to finish.

O’Connor got off to a hot start with two birdies in the first three holes, but after turning in level, he came home in three-over with a double-bogey at the 11th and a bogey six at the par-five 13th.

TaylorMade Winter Series, Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links (Par 71, SSS 74 CSS 75)


1, Leslie Walker (Pro) Dundalk GC 73;

2, John Hickey (Pro) Cork GC 74;

3, Daniel O’Connor (Pro) Athlone GC 74.


1, Rhys Clarke (+1) The Island GC 72;

2, Roy O’Neill (Pro) Galway GC 74;

3, Andrew Gorman (Pro) Killeen Castle GC 75