|On Monday 3rd September, the scenic Seapoint links, near Termonfeckin, Co.Louth, was the venue for this year’s Pro-Captain Challenge where the club was represented by our PGA Pro Mark O’Boyle and Club Captain Liam Delaney. |
After a brilliant birdie 3 from Mark at the first hole, the lads settled into a very steady front nine with Mark adding another birdie at the Par 5, 6th hole. Mark was 2 under par for the front nine and they turned with a modest 20 points. With the quality of the field our men knew they had a bit of work to do to climb the leaderboard and straight away Mark struck with a birdie on the Par5, 499m, 10th. Their round really took off at the 12th when Liam, after twice being in the rough, sank a ten footer for par and three points. He followed this with a tap in birdie at the 13th (Index 2, 412m) and four points. He followed this with another par on 14 and three points. Now the momentum was with them. Mark set up a terrific birdie on the Par 3, 15th with a superb nine iron into a very tricky breeze. Liam followed with a par on the tough 16th playing into a very stiff wind. A brilliant save from the rough by Mark on 17 set them up for a grandstand finish on the Par 5, 499m, 18th which was playing directly into the wind. Mark was unfortunate to be bunkered off the tee but Liam was on hand in the centre of the fairway. Mark nailed a three wood just short of the green in three while Liam was slightly further back in two after a solid three wood. Mark chipped dead for 2 points but Liam’s pitching wedge left him with a good chance of birdie. He left it dead for three points and a brilliant 25 points on the back nine giving them 45 overall. Turning the corner for the security of the locker room the lads were briefly dismayed to see Carlow, represented by Damien McGrane and Gary Hughes, on top of the leaderboard, also on 45 points, but a quick check showed they had 24 on the back nine and the coveted title was heading for The Heath. An anxious two hour wait ensued as our lads waited for the rest of the field to complete their rounds but their score held firm. In all, 48 clubs from all over Ireland participated and it was remarkable that The Heath and Carlow, clubs only separated by a few miles, should finish in the top two positions. This victory means Mark and Liam go forward to represent The Heath at the PGA SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge Grand Final at Arabella Golf Mallorca - Golf Son Muntaner on November 6-7, 2018. Both men said they were delighted to win and feel deeply honoured and proud to be representing The Heath GC in such a prestigious tournament.
|Extract from PGA Journal 03/09/2018|
Liam Delaney admitted he had to ‘wake up’ before sending Heath Golf Club to Spain for the SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge final.
The Portlaoise club’s captain partnered PGA professional Mark O’Boyle for the event held at Seapoint Golf Links in Co Louth.
And it was Delaney who ended up holing the day’s key putt at the 18th hole.
But it was a close run thing with the Heath duo topping the leaderboard with Damien McGrane and Gary Hughes from Carlow Golf Club.
Both pairs tied on 45 points but it was Heath who edged out neighbours Carlow on countback after an impressive back nine which included a nett eagle at the 13th hole.
Now Delaney and O’Boyle will play in the £22,000 final, in association with Golfplan, which takes place between November 6-7 at Arabella Golf Mallorca.
“We put a bit of a sprint on, I finally woke up on the back nine,” said 10-handicapper Delaney.
“I’d seen Mark play some brilliant golf beforehand. He must have inspired me. I was thrilled with the putt at the 18th, we needed that.
“Carlow are our neighbours, they’re only 20 miles away from us. It was close, but we’re the ones who’re off to Spain now. That’s something I wasn’t thinking about before the event, but it’s a good feeling now.
“I hadn’t been playing that well recently but I enjoy the links courses so I got a bit of a lift from that. That helped me a lot on the back nine, I had concentrate more with the wind blowing. But the greens were just beautiful at Seapoint.”
Delaney has been a member at Heath for 30 years - but admitted 2018 is becoming a memorable one.
“I’m enjoying the captain’s year but after today I’m really on a high about it. It’s a great feeling to be captain when you win something like this,” added the 63-year-old retired police officer.
O’Boyle admitted the pair were slow to get going but timed their round to perfection.
“The captain produced the goods, we had a good run of birdies,” he said.
“We stood at the 18th and said we needed a birdie and then someone would have to make 10 under par to beat us. And we delivered.”
The Heath professional has not reached this final before but has played in the National Pro-Am championship showpiece.
“I reached that final in 2012 in Mexico, so it’s nice to get to another foreign PGA final, we’re looking forward to this one big time,” he added.