Classy Edmondstown rise to Links challenge
A top team from Edmondstown Golf Club led the qualifiers home in the first event of the 2015 Allianz-Irish Independent Officer Golf Challenge at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links.
This ever-popular competition for club officers - teams consist of captain, lady captain and one other officer - is now in its 20th season and got off to another great start at the impressive Portmarnock Links.
Weather conditions were nicely testing. A strong blustery breeze plus the men playing off the white tees combined to ensure a strong but fair challenge for the participants on their day out by the seaside.
Credit to Edmondstown. Their team of captain Turlough O'Sullivan, lady captain Martina Torreggiani and honorary secretary Gerry Hiney left the rest of the field trailing in their wake as they won by four shots with an 82 points total.
Runners-up with a commendable 78 points were Greystones, represented by captain Michael Joyce, lady captain Jeanne Thorpe and honorary secretary Gerry Kenny.
The K Club trio - captain David Coyle, lady captain Liz Brady and vice-captain Tony Kelly - came third on 74 points, with a countback separating them from fourth-place qualifiers Beech Park (captain Gerry Doyle, lady captain Helen Nugent and vice captain Pearse Woods).
Turlough O'Sullivan, the captain of Edmondstown, is remembered as the former director general of IBEC, and is currently managing director of Resolve Ireland.
He knows all about leadership and delegation of responsibility, and good teamwork was evident as the team from the South Dublin parkland layout adjusted smoothly to the demands of the links terrain.
"We're delighted to win here today. It wasn't expected. We just went to have an enjoyable time and we certainly did that," said Turlough.
"Martina and Gerry are very good players and as it turned out, they did the business.
"I haven't been playing great golf recently, but I like links golf, and on the links I find that I can use my putter from well off the green. That worked very nicely today."
A two-tee start was in operation at the Bernhard Langer-designed venue, with groups divided between those who teed off on the par-four eighth hole, and those on the first hole.
Edmondstown claimed seven points on their first two holes, the eighth and the short ninth, and then got into their stride with 44 points garnered from holes 10-18.
Lady captain Martina produced an impressive birdie three on the par-four15th, the team's eighth hole.
She putted from off the green from 25 feet, and was delighted to see the ball drop into the hole for four points which, added to Turlough's bogey with a shot, gave the team a good six-pointer on that hole.
On the par-three third, Edmondstown's 14th hole, Turlough's par for three points and Gerry's birdie two yielded seven points to add momentum to the closing stages.
Meanwhile, Greystones played steady golf to amass 39 points on each nine for 78 points.
They started on the first tee and were fairly tightly handicapped, with captain Michael Joyce playing off 8, Gerry Kenny off 7, and Jeanne Thorpe off 18.
The lady captain went home with happy memories of a birdie two for four points on the elevated par-three 11th.
Greystones is hosting a Pro-Am in conjunction with the PGA Irish Region on May 1. Last year's event was a big success and the amateur golfers who each won a car for a hole in one on the 16th hole were particularly delighted.
"One was a local member, and the other was a member from Woodbrook," said captain Michael. "We will have two cars as prizes on that par-three again this year."
The K Club will host the final on September 3, and their representatives David Coyle (6), Liz Brady (30) and Tony Kelly (15) enjoyed the challenge of earning their qualifying place on merit.
Their 74 points (35, 39) was matched by fourth-place Beech Park (37,37), with the Straffan team's back nine the deciding factor.
Beech Park captain Gerry Doyle chipped in for a birdie two on the par-three ninth, and vice captain Pearse Woods enjoyed driving the par-four 18th en route to a birdie for four points.
The tee box was moved forward due to course renovations but it was still a fine tee shot by Pearse.
Portmarnock Links director of golf Moira Cassidy, ever-efficient and helpful, welcomed the guests on behalf of the host venue, and received their gratitude and appreciation for the high standards, on and off the course, from the participants and joint sponsors.
Sean McGrath, director of sales and operations sales of Allianz, welcomed the guests on behalf of the sponsors. He commended the captains, lady captains and honorary officers for their enthusiastic participation on the day, and for their commitment to the game and to their golf clubs.
"We, as co-sponsors with the Irish Independent, are delighted to host this day out for all of the club officers.
"It's our way of appreciating and recognising the efforts you all make to maintain standards and to keep the golf clubs operating in these difficult times for the game," he said.