Scratch Cup 2022

Pictured are Richie Coughlan, Scratch Cup winner Brian Keenan (The Heath GC), Mr.Captain Kieran Horan and Chairperson Vincent Liffey

It’s safe to say that the Scratch Cup in Birr emerged from life support on Sunday, and entered a new era of excellence for the best amateur golfers across the country. Like most community run golf clubs, Birr has been no stranger to difficult financial times, and the Scratch cup has been kept on life support by member John Dwyer and others, and yesterday, it once again embarked on its journey back to one of the most high profile Scratch Cups in the country.

With the support of Grant Engineering, who came on board as the main sponsor, a newly formed committee, headed by Simon Hogan, took the blueprint from previous years and got down to work.

On Sunday, 45 of the best amateur golfers in Ireland, slugged it out over 36 holes in brilliant sunshine and with a clutch putt on his 36th hole, Brian Keenan of The Heath Golf Club emerged victorious in a star studded field. That field included two players from the Padraig Harrington Maynooth University scholarship, David Kitt (who finished second) and TJ Ford who only for a difficult 11th hole in Round 1, would have also been in contention.

Keenan, finding himself in trouble on his 36th hole from the tee, had to play out to the left of the fairway where he left himself short sided to a difficult pin. A sweetly struck 30 yard pitch however, over the bunker, setup a 15 footer up and across the sloping green. He held his nerve and rolled the putt to dead centre of the cup, in front of a large gallery. And so Keenan’s name will be forever etched on the 96 year old trophy.  Alongside some former winners Padraig Harrington, Joe Lyons, Billy Donlon and Richie Coughlan.

The morning started early for the course staff who had the course in immaculate shape for the 9am start and from 7.30, a steady stream of golfers began to flow into the car park. Things got underway just after 9am and with a redraw after the first round, the second 18 was completed at around 6.30pm.

With Keenan and Kitt drawn together in the final group for Round 2, Kitt with a birdie birdie start to his back nine, made a charge, but with a bogie on 13, he was just unable to find another birdie to get to Keenans number. Birr’s Billy McGarry who was in the group ahead, delivered a brilliant 70 in his second round, but couldn’t find the putts to get the birdies he needed to bridge the two shot gap to Keenan.

A special mention for Birr member Billy Donlon, who is still able to shoot under his age, and for a period in Round 2, looked like he could emerge from the pack to challenge for the overall victory.

The committee is already planning meetings for next years running of the event, and would like to thank players that travelled from as far away as Donegal, Ballybunion, Fermoy and Dublin. A special word of thanks also to Grant Engineering for their sponsorship of the event.

Full list of winners were as follows:
1st Overall: Brian Keenan (The Heath, 141)
2nd Overall: David Kitt (Athenry, 142)
3rd Overall: Billy McGarry (Birr, 143)

1st Nett: Billy Donlon (Birr, 144)
1st 18: David Connellan (St Anne’s, 72)
2nd 18: Michael Horan (Birr, 70)