The 2018 Dublin County Board John Smith Scratch Cup took place at the pristine Portmarnock venue on Saturday. A beautiful day, fantastic facilities, immaculate greens (Thanks to Green Keeper Darren Wells) and a friendly Portmarnock welcome all greeted the players on arrival.
Without delay, we had players on the first tee at 9.00am and the Scratch Cup was up and running! The ever popular and dedicated supporters of the game, Barry and Liam Nelis from the Ringcommon club, were some of the early players out and before we knew it, the course was full.
The course was tough with pitching crucial due to the firm fairways as a result of the recent good weather. Pin positions were also tricky resulting in any bad shots being punished! However, it didn’t stop the good scoring with Portmarnock Chairman, David Crum, posting a tasty 48 to take an early clubhouse lead. As the morning progressed, 47, 48, 49 was becoming a popular score amongst the leaders until Mark Millar completed his first 18 and posted a scintillating 41, aided by two hole-in-ones! This score blew the field away with many commenting that the competition was already over!
However, local player and recent Dublin pick, Tom Ryan had other ideas. He is enjoying his pitch and putt at the moment and playing some great stuff. He posted an opening 45 to start chasing Mark down. Mark then posted a tidy 47 to finish on -20 for the 36 some 8 shots ahead of 2nd place. Tom then add a beautifully constructed 41 to join Mark on -20 and it was game on!
The cut ended up being -11 with Ian Donnelly, Sean Goggins, Gary Healy, Cathal Dunne and Derek Ryan, some of the other names in pursuit. Mark and Tom had a six shot lead going into the playoff and it was realistically between the two of them in many peoples eyes. This was to be the case in the end with Tom just not holing enough early putts to put pressure on Mark and gain any real momentum. Mark hit a solid 50 to give him the title with Tom’s 52 enough for 2nd place. Sean Goggins (McBride) hit a lovely 46 in the playoff to capture 3rd with Andy Lowe (Old County) pipping JR Crangle on the back 6 for the last 18 with a tidy 47.
The ladies ended up being a great battle between Glenda Hoey (RGSC) and the legend Ger Ward of the home club with Glenda coming out on top with a fine 104 versus 105 from Ger. It’s not often that Ger is beaten in her back yard but she would have been delighted to see Glenda play so well especially with the Inter Counties fast approaching.
Barry Gorey of CPM hit another 99 to win the Inter prize as he did two weeks ago at the same venue when Portmarnock held their own scratch cup. Barry now joins his Dublin team mates this weekend to focus on the Leinster Inter Counties – a competition he absolutely adores!
Cement also has another winner in the form of Robert Crosby who won the Junior section with a score of 112. Well done Robert.
In total we had 94 cards played and would like to thank all the players for supporting us, the host club Portmarnock for facilitating us in such a high standard as always, our sponsor payzone and of course the legend John Smith himself who was on hand to present the trophy to Mark on the day. Thankyou John.