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APPA Triple Crown: Matchplay

Irish players Liz Quinn and James Carroll emerged victorious at the Australian Matchplay championships, played in ideal conditions at Sydney’s Terrey Hills course.  Carroll beat Irish colleague Alan Hanlon by 3 and 1 in the men’s final while Liz Quinn defeated Dutch starlet Esther Newsum by one hole in the ladies decider.

 

Liz Quinn (left)Liz Quinn won six Westmeath Strokeplay championships in a row (2002 to 2007).  She won the 2001 National Mixed Foursomes in Ireland, partnered by Paul Bray.  Liz linked up with Alan Hanlon to take Best Gross at the 2006 and 2007 National Mixed Foursomes.  The Collinstown star also won the ladies sections at the San Marino Open 2007 and the La Grande Motte International Open 2007.

 

 

 

James CarollJames Carroll was Leinster Intermediate Matchplay runner-up in 2001 and won that championship the following year.  The aspiring solicitor played on the Meath team that placed second in the 2006 Inter-County championship.  James finest Irish performance to date came this year at R.G.S.C. when he finished third in the 2007 National Strokeplay behind the rampant Ray Murphy.  He has been prominent in the National Strokeplay before – he finished second in the 2003 intermediate championship and fourth in the senior equivalent two years later.  James won the 2006 La Grande Motte International Open.

 

Coincidentally, James Carroll and Liz Quinn are both placed at No. 13 in their respective PPUI national ranking lists.

For full details see ATC site.

 

 
The last putt - that wasn't!

What you are reading is not a blow by blow account of the recent "5th European Team Championship", (if you need that, go to Michael Murphy's excellent piece on the PPUI web-site), and it is certainly not an official, detailed report on the event. It is a few heart-felt reflections, jotted down during a wonderful holiday in southern Sardinia by a privileged spectator. It was a great event and Pitch and Putt made yet another historic step forward in its international development.

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Assembling  well over 150 people in a luxury resort on a Mediterranean island and ensuring that close on 100 players and coaches, (don't forget the ladies!), were on the first tee at the right time on the right day was a major logistical feat that our Italian/San Marino hosts successfully carried out with barely a hitch. It was a magnificent event and I came away literally uplifted by all that I had experienced and learned during these few days, so rich in poignant moments. As I would like to finish on a high, I'll start with the down side! 

 

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FIVE IN A ROW!

Ireland retained their European Pitch and Putt Team championship title with an ultimately comfortable final victory over old rivals Catalonia at Chia in Sardinia (6.5 matches to 2.5).  Foursomes victories by Sean Downes & William Buckley and by team captain Ray Murphy along with Derek Courtney had given Ireland a vital 2-1 halfway advantage.  In truth, the foursomes could have gone either way with Courtney forced to hole a tricky par putt on the home green in the bottom foursomes to secure a one hole verdict.  In fact, all three of the foursomes went the full distance with Downes pitching close at the 65 metre eighteenth to clinch the other foursomes win. 

In the singles, European championship debutant Paul O'Brien romped to an eight birdie 7&6 win over Joan Poch.  Simultaneous singles victories by four-time European championship winner Liam O'Donovan (by 2&1 against Marc Lloret) and by Ireland's record international points gatherer Sean Downes (by 4&3 over David Sole) gave Ireland the required number of points.  Derek Courtney edged out Daniel Coleman by 2&1 while Ireland's only singles loss came when William Buckley, fighting a recalcitrant putter, fell to Jordi Serra.  After an enthralling battle, which produced seventeen birdies, Ireland's no. 1 ranked player Ray Murphy offered a generous half to Fernando Cano, who had earlier produced a 96, the leading individual score in Friday's qualifier.

Elsewhere, Great Britain stunned Holland with a singles fightback to take third place on a countback after 4.5-4.5 tie.  Andorra defeated Norway to place fifth on their maiden championship appearance.  Italy were too good for France in the 7th/8th place play-off while San Marino pipped Switzerland for ninth.

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