Tuesday 11 December 2018

Moynihan picks up tour baton as Darcy bows out

Gavin Moynihan in action at the Mauritius Open. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images
Gavin Moynihan in action at the Mauritius Open. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Eamonn Darcy called time on his career at the weekend but Gavin Moynihan is looking to pick up the tour baton after finishing tied 11th in the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open.

Twenty-four hours after the Delgany legend bowed out after 46 years on tour with an emotional, bogey-free 67 in the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters, Moynihan (24) reaffirmed his return to form on the paradisical Indian Ocean island.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Sign In

Eamonn Darcy (centre) with Brendan McGovern, Philip Walton, Paul McGinley and Des Smyth after his final appearance on tour in the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters.
Eamonn Darcy (centre) with Brendan McGovern, Philip Walton, Paul McGinley and Des Smyth after his final appearance on tour in the Costa Blanca Benidorm Senior Masters.

"It was another very solid week," said Moynihan, who finished seven strokes behind American Kurt Kitayama on 13-under par after a closing 70. "There are a lot of positives to take to the next few weeks.

"I still have some work to do on my putting but overall, my game has been very solid for the last six weeks, which is the most pleasing thing."

Moynihan's hot run of form - he's 47-under par for his last four events - has transformed what looked like a lost year into a hugely positive one.

Tied eighth in the 54-hole Andalucia Valderrama Masters, he went on to finish fourth at the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School and 23rd at the six-round final stage to regain his tour card.

Maiden

American Kitayama (25) secured his maiden European Tour title in just his second start as a European Tour member, closing with a 68 at Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita to win by two strokes from India's S Chikkarangappa and France's Matthieu Pavon on 20-under par.

In the Australian PGA Championship, Cameron Smith held off Marc Leishman to successfully defend his title at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Queensland, carding a 70 to finish two shots clear of his World Cup partner on 16-under.

As for the great Darcy (66), he received an emotional send-off from his peers as he retired from tour golf in style, closing with a bogey-free 67 in his final competitive round on Saturday to come within a shot of matching his age.

"In my last competitive round, I had a challenge, which is the way it should be, because over the last few years it hasn't been a real challenge for me," said the Wicklow man, who played with fellow Ryder Cup hero Philip Walton in his final round.

"I haven't set goals like I used to. Today I had a goal and I nearly did it. I think I was inspired that this was it, this was my last round, and I wanted to go out in style.

"The game has been so good to me and thought it would be fitting to shoot a nice score.

"It was emotional coming up the last, and it was great to see such a crowd at the end - it was like the old days.

"I've been thinking about retiring for a while after my injuries. I thought it was time to call it a day and leave it to the younger guys."

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods went an entire season without a withdrawal for the first time since 2013, rallying after an outward 40 to shoot 73 and finish 17th on one-under in the 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Spain's Jon Rahm (24) shot a seven-under 65 to win the $1 million prize by four shots on 20-under par from Tony Finau, who birdied the last for a 69 to deny Justin Rose (65) the second place finish he needed to return to world No 1.

Rahm, who moves to sixth in the world, hopes his win is a stepping stone to Major glory, as it was for Pádraig Harrington and others.

"This is really special," Rahm said, adding, "Jordan Spieth won this event and went on two majors the next year, so I hope that's something that turns out for me as well."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport