Sport Golf

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Moynihan boost as Irish six-shooters outgun French

Gavin Moynihan and Paul Dunne celebrate their Golf Sixes triumph. Photo: Steven Paston/PA
Gavin Moynihan and Paul Dunne celebrate their Golf Sixes triumph. Photo: Steven Paston/PA

Brian Keogh

Gavin Moynihan got a massive shot of confidence and a career-best €100,000 payday when he partnered Ryder Cup hopeful Paul Dunne to a stunning 2-0 win over France in the GolfSixes in St Albans.

While Dunne (25) has won over €3 million worldwide since he turned professional in 2015 and last year captured his maiden win in the British Masters, his former Walker Cup and Ireland team-mate Moynihan (23) has missed ten cuts - including two on the Challenge Tour - since he claimed his European Tour card at last November's Q-School.

But he's looking to the future with confidence now after they dovetailed brilliantly, making birdie or better on 12 of the 17 holes they played yesterday.

In the final, the had conceded eagle and three birdies in their five-hole demolition of Frenchmen Mike Lorenzo Vera and Romain Wattel in the final at Centurion Club and it could be the result both need to go on to greater things this year.

"We know each other's games so well and we're comfortable with each other," said Moynihan, clicking pints of Guinness with Dunne as they promised to celebrate "with a few more of these".

"We had a game-plan coming in and the course set up well for us, I think. We had fun. Honestly it was the best fun I've had on the golf course since I've turned pro. It was obviously a great few days."

While the money does not count towards the Race to Dubai, Moynihan was understandably upbeat about a result that could give him the confidence he needs to push on. "My game has been a lot better this week," he said. "I've struggled a bit this year, but it's been more mentally than with my game."

After a 2-0 win over the England Women duo of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull in the quarter-finals, Moynihan sensationally chipped in for a birdie on the play-off hole to give Ireland victory over South Korea's Jeunghun Wang and Soomin Lee after their high-quality semi-final ended 1-1.

"We just played really solid all week," said Dunne, who joked during the broadcast that it wasn't about the money but "the flag".

"Gavin was hitting some amazing iron shots, and obviously the pivotal moment for us was him chipping in on the play-off against the South Koreans. But I'm not surprised, anybody who knows Gavin through amateur golf knows he chips in at least once a round. He was due one."

Playing over six holes in a greensomes match-play format, Dunne got Ireland off to a flier in the final, firing his opening tee-shot to the three feet at the par-three first to give Ireland a 1-0 lead.

Lorenzo-Vera holed a 25-footer on the second for a French birdie but Dunne hit back from 12 feet to halve the hole.

But Moynihan then rifled a 215-yard five-iron to 12 feet at the par-five third after Lorenzo-Vera put France's second into gorse.

The French needed two more blows to get on the green and conceded to go 2-0 down and while Wattel made a clutch 20-footer for par at the fourth, Moynihan's incredible chip set up Dunne to match them. While the French star did the same on the fifth hole, this time for a birdie two, Dunne followed him in from nine feet for the half to put Ireland an unassailable 2-0 up and seal victory.

"I am just fractionally longer than Gavin off the tee so it was perfect for him to go ahead and hit driver and if he got one in play, I could go just after one and hit it as well as I could," Dunne said of their plan to try and birdie every hole.

"Gavin hit his irons so well, I had a lot of looks inside 15 feet and I've been putting well for a while. So on greens this pure I was bound to hole a few and it was nice if we could have a chip-in here and there."

On the Challenge Tour, Michael Hoey closed with a 68 to finish tied for fifth in the Challenge de España, six shots behind winner Oskar Lengden.

The Swede fired a five-under 67, racing home in 31, to win by four shots from England's Ross McGowan and Dutchman Will Besseling on 15-under par.

Cormac Sharvin tied for 15th on five-under with Ruaidhri McGee a shot further back in 23rd.

Irish Independent

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