Damian Mooney has won the Harcourt Hotel Narin and Portnoo Pro-Am on three separate occasions, with power-driving such as this a major feature.
The winning team at the Harcourt Hotel Narin and Portnoo Pro-Am were Sean Rodgers, Pauric McHugh, Charlene McHugh (team sponsor), Brian McGill (Harcourt Hotel), Patsy Harkin and Michael Kennedy (team sponsor).
Pictured at the presentation of prizes at the Harcourt Hotel Narin and Portnoo Pro-Am were club captain, Seamus McDonagh, winner, Damian Mooney, PGA Secretary, Michael McCumiskey and PGA Captain, Eamonn Logue.
As the club captain is wont to opine, it was déjà vu all over again at Narin and Portnoo Golf Club! The 2010 Harcourt Hotel Pro-Am champion, Damian Mooney had made the short walk to the winner’s podium on two previous occasions in 2007 and 2008 and delivered the obligatory victor’s oration to the assembled multitude. This one, though, may have been the sweetest of the lot, coming as it did on a day when the field was blown away by the stiff breeze which rent many a card and left dreams scattered amidst the marram and bent. The Saturday leaders fell back as the day progressed, but Mooney encapsulated the Highlander motto that ‘there can only be one’!
The Belfast mega-hitter paid tribute to our club pro, Connor Mallon, and organiser, Conal Keeney, without whose foresight the Pro-Am would never see the light of day. He remarked on the positive atmosphere in Narin, the welcoming faces year after year, the fine catering, the craic and the raucous laughter. The course was much praised, the presentation of which was superlative in adverse weather conditions.
The modest tour pro did not wax lyrical about his own strengths, of which there are many. Whatever about his keen short game, it’s the long hitting which draws the gallery. Young lads stood and watched with jaws agape as Damian teed up and fired exocet after exocet down the parched links fairways. By illustration, the team playing behind him had to wait on the fifth fairway while he drove to the sixth green, using the fifth green as his line to this tough dog-leg par four! The sight of him standing on the high mound behind the fifth green watching for the sixth green to clear will prove an indelible one for those who witnessed it. He made it to the green surrounds each time, prodigious hitting by anyone’s standard. His drive to the par five second on Sunday left him adjacent to the first of three bunkers protecting this almost island green, a distance of 400 metres from swish to rest. His rounds of 71 and 72 for a total of 143 gave the popular golfer a two stoke victory over first round leaders, Eamonn Brady and Garry Cullen. Both had shot 68s on day one when the weather was scorching and the conditions passive. Their 77s on day two illustrated the vagaries of a links course. Glen Robinson shot a mighty 70 on Sunday, the lowest score of the day.
The team event was won appropriately enough by Charael Catering, with Patsy Harkin, Pauric McHugh and Sean Rodgers joining forces with professional, Martin McTernan for a six point win.
European Tour player and 2007 runner-up, Simon Thornton had been due to tee up, but had to phone the club late as he got into the BMW International Open at Munich. He made the most of his chance, finishing 9th to win 42,400 euro! Damian Mooney had to settle for somewhat less, but I think his record hat-trick of Pro-Am titles at Narin and Portnoo Golf Club will warm the cockles of the big man with the big heart and the game to match.
It may seem an after-thought after the dynamism of the weekend’s golf but Patrick Boyle deserves his place in the limelight following his victory in the most recent Wednesday Open. Nines of 20 and 19 points demonstrated admirable consistency, with birdies on 4 and 14 adorning a fine performance.
Result: Professionals: 1. Damian Mooney 71/72, 143; 2. Eamonn Brady (Clontarf) 68/77, Garry Cullen (Beaverstown) 68/77, 142; 4. Glen Robinson (St. Helen’s Bay) 76/70, 146; Team: 1. Patsy Harkin, Pauric McHugh, Sean Rodgers, Martin McTernan (Co. Sligo) 94/90, 184;
Wednesday Open, June 23: 1. Patrick Boyle (11) 39; 2. Marty McGing (15) 38; 3. Tony Boner (18) 37; CSS 73; Twos: 8 balls.