Wednesday 16 October 2019

Portmarnock to sound members out on gender issue

Portmarnock Links. Photo: Getty Images
Portmarnock Links. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Portmarnock has sent its members a questionnaire on gender issues as it prepares to embrace change or face a major championship blackout until it admits female members.

The club will stage the Amateur Championship with The Island as part of its 125th-anniversary celebrations from June 17-22 knowing that it will never again host an R&A event or the Irish Open, and can never dream of hosting The Open, until it changes its rules.

"The R&A has made it very clear to us that while we are a single-gender club, this will be the last major championship we are having," Portmarnock's honorary secretary Eugene Kelly said yesterday. "And they have been very clear about that."

Asked if Portmarnock would like to join The Open rota - a privately cherished dream for many members - Mr Kelly said: "On a personal level, I would say yes. But we haven't discussed it at committee level because it is not mooted at this present time."

There will be 18 Irish players in the 288-strong field for the Amateur with 11 of them in action in the East of Ireland Championship at County Louth today.

They include Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell who won the Ulster Strokeplay title earlier this week and is now in contention for a return to the Irish team.

Campbell (32) is now sixth on the Bridgestone Order of Merit with the top three earning caps for Home Internationals at Lahinch in September.

Meanwhile, Gavin Moynihan is looking forward to being wide awake for matchplay combat after battling his way into the weekend at the Belgian Knockout in Antwerp.

The former Walker Cup star had a 4.15am alarm call but came alive late in his round, carding a two-under 69 to make the 64 qualifiers who will play the nine-hole medal matchplay today.

"I left some shots out there both days but had a strong finish today to make sure I qualified," said Moynihan, who came home in three-under to avoid an 11-man play-off for nine spots in his half of the draw by one stroke.

"I holed some nice putts on my back nine, so while I struggled a bit with the driver, I have a three-iron in the bag this week, which is working great."

Michael Hoey failed to qualify by five shots after a 74 as Chris Paisley signed for a second consecutive 65 and secured the top seeding on 12-under.

Moynihan did not qualify on his world ranking for Monday's US Open Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath, where Hoey will be the lone Irish hopeful after Paul Dunne opted to focus instead on his European Tour schedule and his defence of the GolfSixes with Moynihan in Portugal later next week.

There are US Open qualifiers at 10 sites in the US, Canada and England with Pádraig Harrington and Seamus Power in action at RattleSnake Point Golf Club in Canada hoping to join Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach.

US-based Kerryman Sean Quinlivan seeks his dream ticket at Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club in New York.

On the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy missed the one-over par cut by one shot at Muirfield Village where Troy Merritt shot a six-under 66 to lead the Memorial Tournament alongside Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Martin Kaymer on nine under, one clear of Joran Spieth. Tiger Woods had a double bogey seven on 15 during an even par round and two-under total.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire was set to miss the cut in the US Women's Open at the Country Club of Charleston, after a five-over 76 left her on nine-over.

In amateur golf, Mallow's James Sugrue shot a level-par 71 and Portmarnock's Conor Purcell a 72 to share 27th at halfway in the Brabazon Trophy on one-over at the Alwoodley in Leeds.

Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty is a shot further back after a 74, but Kinsale's John Murphy missed the four-over cut by one after a 75 with Hermitage's Rowan Lester a shot further back after a 76.

In Germany, Connemara's Luke O'Neill shot a six-under 66 at Golf St Leon Rot near Heidelberg to take a two-stroke lead in the final round of the 54-hole Allianz German Boys Open on nine-under par.

Belgian Knockout
Live, Sky Sports , 11.30am

Memorial Tournament,
Live, Sky Sports, 5.30pm

US Women's Open
Live, Sky Sports, 7.0pm

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