Sport Golf

Sunday 18 February 2018

In brief: The early riser

SPEED merchant -- that's Maarten Lafeber, who played a solo game as first man out in yesterday's fourth round at Killarney.

The tall Dutchman -- accompanied by caddie for the week Paul Byrne of the famed Wicklow family of caddies -- started at 7.15am.

They completed the 18 holes in two hours, seven minutes, with Lafeber scoring 73 for an eight-over-par total.

"Is that a record?" he smiled. "I played quite nicely, just hit two bad shots."

Paul Byrne quipped: "He said if he had a caddie with longer legs we would have finished earlier!"

g-mac's TIME LAPSE

RORY McIlroy and Darren Clarke should savour their status as British and US Open champions respectively as it goes by very quickly.

If they have any doubts, they can ask Graeme McDowell. On the first tee on Saturday, his 32nd birthday, he was announced as "former US Open champion".

Saying it that way implied it was years ago instead of just 13 months since McDowell became the first European golfer to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970. At least they gave him a surprise birthday cake to mark the day.

garrido relief

GOLF is a pain game for many players, and most of the pros at Killarney have had issues with neck, wrist and back at some stage.

Spain's Ignacio Garrido is grateful that after more than a year struggling with a back problem, it's getting easier to practise and play.

Physio Dale Richardson, who has worked with Padraig Harrington and many other players, has been working on Garrido for the last month. So far, so good.

Garrido was delighted to finished tied for fifth at the end of the Irish Open at Killarney yesterday for his highest finish of the season to date.

Wakefield'S WOES

GIMME a break!

That's the plea of England's Simon Wakefield to the golfing gods.

Since 2009 he has suffered from pleurisy, irritable bowel syndrome and swine flu which caused an infection in his right lung -- and he lost his Tour card at the end of '09.

He traces his run of bad luck to the Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008 when a lost ball on 17 in round four cost him an eight.

A par, par finish at that tournament would have been good enough for fifth place, a big jump up the rankings and a decent platform to build on.

hand it to eoin

FORMER Irish soccer manager Eoin Hand made the ultimate sacrifice yesterday by giving up the chance to play in the captain's prize at Ballybunion to support South African Keith Horne.

Hand, who lives in Kerry, has family connections in Durban and he hosted Horne at his home on Saturday night.

The two then travelled up to Killarney yesterday and Hand was set to walk the fairways with the 40-year-old pro instead of taking up his previous engagement and playing in BallyB. On Saturday, Horne helped raise €2,000 for Barnardos in the Genworth Putts4Charity Challenge.


JOHN Kelly (39), the only PGA Irish region pro to make the cut, hasn't played four rounds in a tournament since the IPGA Championship a year ago.

That, plus his workload of lessons combined with playing on the Irish Region pro-am circuit, makes his performance very creditable indeed.

The St Margaret's pro shot level-par 71 yesterday for a two-over 286 total.

"It's been great and Brendan McGovern who caddied for me was brilliant," said Kelly. The pair will tee it up in the IPGA this week.


PAUL Cutler, the 22- year-old GUI amateur who performed so well this week, travels to Sweden today for the European Men's Individual Championship from Wednesday to Friday.

It's been a testing but memorable adventure in Killarney but Cutler hopes to heed the lessons he learned for the future.

"If the pros hit bad shots they don't really react," he said.

"They always hit a nice shot straight after a bad one. I'd often be a bit hard on myself instead of looking forward to the next one."

figures adding up

ATTENDANCE figures for the tournament broke last year's by more than 3,000.

The final-day figure was 23,958, with a total of 85,179 overall. Last year a total of 81,738 paying patrons attended the event.

The number of English winners of the Irish Open is now six -- the same as the number of Irishmen who have taken this title.

Simon Dyson joins Mark James (1979 and '80), Nick Faldo ('91, '92, '93), David Carter (1998), Richard Finch (2008), and Ross Fisher (2010) on the tournament's roll of honour.


IF Dublin beat Tyrone and play Donegal in the All-Ireland football semi-final, the McGinley house will be divided.

Mick McGinley played for Donegal, and is still involved in the county's football scene.

Son Paul -- who briefly led the Irish Open field at lunchtime on the first day -- once played for Dublin's junior team and said: "I've togged out in the Dublin colours so yeah, I'm Dublin through and through.

"I always love to see Donegal doing well too, but if push came to shove if the two teams meet in the semi-final -- it would be Dublin for me."

Irish Independent

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