Holland bids for a second successful Mullingar title
Daniel Holland of Castle GC returns to defend his title in the Mullingar Scratch Trophy this weekend.
The 72-hole stroke-play event starts tomorrow with 36 holes, with the leading 51 players qualifying for the second 36 holes on Monday.
Holland and Kelan McDonagh (Athlone), who won in 2010, are the only former winners in the field – they are bidding to join an elite group to have achieved more than one win in the Trophy since it was instituted in 1963.
That distinction belongs to five golfers: Peter Townsend (1965, '66), Bryan Malone ('67, '74), Mark Gannon ('73, '81), his brother Frank Gannon ('79, '87) and Colm Moriarty ('01, '03).
Indeed, to win just once, as the song goes, is something to savour, as victory in Mullingar has been a badge of honour for so many top Irish players: Des Smyth, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, Philip Walton, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy all got their hands on the Trophy.
Recently crowned Irish champion John Ross Galbraith of Whitehead GC is in the field, which also includes two of the South of Ireland championship semi-finalists, Eanna Griffin (Waterford) and Richard Knightly of Royal Dublin.
Galbraith is enjoying a fine season, and was named as one of four new caps on the Irish team for the Home Internationals in Wales, from August 13-15.
Colm Campbell, the East of Ireland champion, and Richard Bridges of Stackstown will join Galbraith in making their Irish debut in Wales, and have entered for Mullingar.
Meanwhile, Michael McGeady was €6,266 the richer after a superb final-round 66 propelled him into second place on 10-under, two shots behind English winner Stuart Archibald, in the 54-hole Walk In My Shoes Open at Mt Wolseley.
It was a splendid display by the 36-year-old Derry native as he landed an eagle and six birdies, plus there was a fighting share of fourth (worth €1,942) by Banbridge's Richard Kilpatrick (72).
They were overshadowed however by Kerryman Mark Murphy as he played the hottest nine holes on the EuroPro Tour this year.
Murphy shot eight birdies on the front nine on Christy O'Connor Jnr's Co Carlow classic plus a solitary par (at six) as he went out in a staggering 28 strokes – then made double-bogey seven at 10 and bogey four at 11.
Still, Murphy signed for a memorable 66 that left him tied sixth (€1,191) on seven-under. Colm Moriarty shared 12th on five-under after a closing 70.