DARREN CLARKE appears to have overcome an injury which kept him out of the recent US Open Championship, that’s if his performance on Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Links was anything to go by this week.
The affable Dungannon man, who claimed the British Open Championship last year at Royal St. George’s, made a suprirse visit to the Inishowen club on Wednesday to prepare for the Irish Open which tees-off next Thursday at Royal Portrush.
And it will come as no surprise if other top names in the world of golf follow the same route this weekend with the North Donegal club’s two courses in superb nick at the moment.
Clarke, who was presented with honorary membership of Ballyliffin back in 2001, was officially presented with his certificate on Wednesday by club Captain, Paddy Logue, prior to playing 18 holes on the Glashedy Links.
Indeed, Darren he had planned to play the Old Links after lunch, but having enjoyed his experience on Glashedy he opted to return to the tougher track where the greens are currently reading “12” on the Stimp Meter!
Having made contact with the club and asked for his privacy to be respected. Darren played 36 holes in the company of three friends who were all assisted by local caddies.
“He teed-off at 8.00 a.m. on Wednesday and opted to play another round on Glashedy after lunch,” confirmed Ballyliffin’s general manager, Mr. John Farren.
“Initially, he had planned to play our Old Links in the afternoon but I think he enjoyed Glashedy so much, that he asked to play it again and he was particularly impressed with the quality of both the course and the speed of the greens,” he added.
Describing the Dungannon man as “an absolute gentleman” having been in his company during the day, Mr. Farren admitted that other top golfers had made contact with the club hoping to play a few practise rounds this weekend and early next week.
“We’ve had a few telephone calls from players wishing to play Ballyliffin this weekend and early next week as they prepare to take part in the Irish Open and while Darren was here on Wednesday, we also had the current North of Ireland and East of Ireland champion, Chris Selfridge (Malone G.C.) with us - also on Wednesday - playing the Old Course,” he concluded.
Results from Ballyliffin
Tuesday, June 19th - Fr. Adrian Porter Memorial Trophy - overall winner, Paddy Logue (16) 43 points.
Gents competition - 1, break of tie, Seamus Mallon (22) 42 points; 2, Gavin McLaughlin (HB) (17) 42; 3, break of tie, Eamon Sweeney (19) 41; 4, Paul Houten 17) 41; 5, break of tie, David Laird (17) 40; 6, Frank Harkin (18) 40; 7, Ryan McLaughlin (HB) (11) 39; 8, break of tie, John McCarron (10) 38; 9, Frank Maguire (13) 38; Gross Sean Doherty (O) (Scr) 35 pts.; front nine, Enda McDaid (9) 20; back nine, Pat Harkin (17) 21; longest drive, Campbell Cully and nearest the pin, Frank Harkin .
Ladies competition - 1, Jackie Doherty, 39 points; 2, break of tie, Teresa O’Leary, 35; 3, Ita McHugh, 35; gross, Lucia Mullen, 25; 4, break of tie, Mary McGeoghan, 34; 5, Breige Doherty, 34; 6, break of tie, Trish Kelly, 33; 7, Molly McCloskey, 33; 8, Anna Doherty, 33; 9, Ruth McGartoll, 32; nearest the pin, Molly McCloskey and longest drive, Trish Kelly.
Wednesday, June 13 – Carn Church Classic - 1, Phelim Davenport (14), Philip Laird (18), Kevin McGonigle (19) and John Doherty (W) (23), 104 points; 2, Neil Doherty (P) (14), Denis O’Connor (15), Joe Doherty (D) (19) and Hugh McDermott (23) 103; 3, Michael McLaughlin (18), Eamon Cosgrove (21), Joe McCloskey (20), Marty O’Connor (18), 100 points; 4, John Frie (11), Denis Clancy (11), Paul McLaughlin (10) and Danny McCarron (11) 100; 5, Kevin Connolly (12), Martin Corry (13), M Corry (17) and Francie McGranaghan (18) 100; 6, Robert McCool (14), Jackie McGeoghegan (16), Eamon O’Donnell (18) and Michael Doherty (C) (21) 99; 7, Frank Logue (13), Paddy Logue (16), Keith Marston (23) and Philip Doherty (19) 99; 8, F Murray (22), A Cotter (18), V McCarn (22) and C. Mackle (23) 99.
Ladies - 1, Molly McCloskey (16), Bernie McCarron (22), Noeleen Gordon (24) and Breige Doherty (31) 86 pts.
Ladies longest drive, Mairead Byrne; gents longest drive, John Friel; ladies nearest the pin, Margaret Doherty (O) and gents nearest the pin, Jackie McGeoghegan; “Twos,” Francie McGranaghan.
Friday, June 15th - nine holes Scramble - 1, Paddy Logue, John Daly, D McLaughlin and Keith Marston, 27.7; 2, P Doherty, Eamon Sweeney, H McEleney and K. McLaughlin, 28.7; 3, Nick Stevens, John Rose, Tony Gill and J Gallagher, 30.2.
Sunday, June 17th – Confined - 1, Eamon Sweeney (21) 41 points; 2, J. D. O’Kane (8) 40; 3, Denis McLaughlin (8) 40; 4, Cornelius Collins (18) 39; gross, Paul Doherty (C) (3) 33.
Forthcoming fixtures - tomorrow (Sat.), June 23rd - Inishowen Rugby Club GolfClassic (teams of four), timesheet in operation, visitors E40 per person, tel. 074-93-76119 for bookings.
Sunday, June 24th - Confined Stableford on Old Links.
Meanwhile, Open Week at Ballyliffin Golf Club commences on Sunday week, July 1st, with both courses in use and timesheets are now open for all competitions.
Green fees for visitors for all 18 holes competitions will be E40 per person and bookings can be made by telephoning: 00-353-7493-76119.