Tralee Pitch & Putt – 2019 Year-in-Review
2019 was a fantastic year for Tralee Pitch and Putt on many fronts and marked an excellent end to the decade for the club. Our members competed and won across a variety of competitions around the country. We also saw a few lapsed members return to the game and quickly find success.
The first club major took place on the 30th of June, with Jason Cregan winning the competition for the second year in a row. Alan Hobbart also finished in the runner-up spot for the second year running but winning the Overall Gross. Danny O’Leary won the Inter Nett prize and Dan Murphy won the Junior Nett prize. Tony Blake shot the best last round of the day, winning the Final 18 prize for his efforts.
The Club Matchplay was kindly sponsored by McGuirks, with the competition taking place in the middle of August. The club had a number of returning players who were seen as favourites for the top prize, but it was Paul O’Shea who won the competition outright, beating Keith O’Brien in a close final, winning 1 up in the end. Stephen Browne and Rodger Guthrie were semi finalists on the day, both putting in great efforts to reach that stage and battling all the way.
The Pop Ryle Cup replaced the President’s Prize as a club major for 2019, taking place in a multi-card card format over the course of a week at the end of July and start of August. The competition was by far the most successful event of the year in the club, with 140 cards being played by 17 players. Patrick Fitzgibbon, only back to the game a matter of weeks, played fantastic over the course of the week, with his two best rounds seeing him finish on 83 Nett, twelve shots ahead of Stephen Browne in 2nd, with Keith O’Brien finishing 3rd. In the Gross, Jason Cregan’s 87 Gross saw him beat Jason O’Regan by 2 shots, with Jamie Blake taking 3rd place over Alan Hobbart on back-18.
From the end of October onwards, competitions were and continue to be held on a weekly basis. A club is nothing without support and we have to give credit to all the local businesses that sponsored our Winter events. These businesses are Celsius Menswear, the Grand Hotel, Terry’s Butchers, the Greyhound Bar, and the Burger Shack. The sponsorships were incredibly generous and played a massive part in the Winter events being so exciting.
After years of trying and coming very close, Jamie Blake won his first Tralee Scratch Cup in fine weather on the June Bank Holiday, shooting -10 in his final round to finish on -18 total, 2 ahead of Jason Cregan in 2nd and 3 ahead of Alan Hobbart in 3rd. It was fantastic to see all top 3 players in the Senior Grade coming from Tralee. In fact, 6 of the 9 prizes were won by Tralee players, with Danny O’Leary winning the Inter Prize with -5 par, Eamonn Sheehy taking Final 18, and Lisa O’Connor winning the Ladies Prize.
Jason O’Regan put on some fantastic displays in Kerry Scratch Cups in 2019. Having led the Tralee Scratch Cup after 36 holes but not winning it, he went on to make up for the missed opportunity. On the August Bank Holiday Monday, Jason won the Listowel Scratch Cup. Nearly three months later, he won the Deerpark Scratch Cup with -12 for 36 holes on the October Bank Holiday.
Mention must also be given to Danny O’Leary, the club’s most traveled player in 2019. Week in, week out Danny was traveling to Scratch Cups up and down the country. His dedication was exceptional and he has certainly set an example for other members to follow in 2020.
Eamonn Sheehy won the Intermediate County Strokeplay in Castleisland with -14 for 36 holes, finishing six shots ahead of 2nd. Eamonn was the club’s only podium finisher in the Country Strokeplay. At the end of August, Jason Cregan reached the final after defeating Sean Kelly, Jason O’Regan, and Jamie Blake in the first three games. The final was tightly contested but Deerpark’s Damien Fleming won the match and the championship on the 17 hole.
Provincial and national
With the Munster Strokeplay taking place in Listowel, hopes were high that a Tralee player might emerge victorious in one of the grades. In Senior, the club was represented by Tony Blake, Alan Hobbart, Jamie Blake, and Jason O’Regan. In Intermediate, Eamonn Sheehy, Padraig Hobbart, and John Fitzgerald took part. Lisa O’Connor played in the Ladies Grade. Unfortunately things didn’t go as hoped, with Padraig Hobbart being the most successful by making the final round of the Intermediate Grade.
In the Munster Matchplay, Jason Cregan represented the club in Senior and reached the Quarter Final stage, before being beaten by Michael Fennell of Lakeside. Aidan O’Sullivan was beaten in the First Round in the Intermediates, and Lisa O’Connor was unlucky in her loss in the Ladies section.
Jason O’Regan was the club’s most successful player in the National Matchplay and Strokeplay. Jason reached the second round in the National Matchplay in Rocklodge and qualified for the final round in the National Strokeplay in Ryston, finishing in the top 20. Tony Blake was defeated in a tight match by Bryan Delaney in the National Matchplay. Alan Hobbart and Jason Cregan both shot -2 totals in the National Strokeplay, far from the playoff spots on a tricky Ryston.
Inter-county and inter-club
The club had a number of representatives on the various county teams. Danny O’Leary continued his strong year by making the Intermediate team, with Eamonn Sheehy also joining him on the team. Jamie Blake and Alan Hobbart finished 3rd and 4th in the Senior trials respectively, playing as partners in Hillview for the Munster’s and McDonagh for the National’s. Jason Cregan was substitute for the Senior Team. John Fitzgerald served as captain of the county’s Junior team, although the club had no playing representatives.
The Inter-Club events got off to a terrible start for the club in the summer, with the Tralee team finishing in last place in the Kerry event. In September, the Inter/Junior team missed out on qualifying for the National Quarter Finals by the tightest of margins in Bruff. The Senior team of Alan Hobbart, Jamie Blake, Jason Cregan, Padraig Hobbart, Jason O’Regan, Tony Blake, and sub Danny O’Leary came from behind in fantastic fashion to beat St. Anne’s in the National Quarter Final at Lakeside. In the deciding singles match, Tony held off a comeback from Ray Murphy to win the tie for Tralee and send the club to the Semi Finals. The following week, a disastrous Foursomes performance saw Tralee fall 3-0 behind to Fermoy. 3 wins in the Singles weren’t enough but there’s no doubt that the team did the club proud on the National stage.
2019 also marked the return of Juveniles to the club, with competitions and coaching taking place from the start of July to the start of September on 2 nights a week. We were lucky to have a fantastic turnout every night and we hosted a Player of the Year competition with trophies on the final evening of the Juvenile Club. In the past, Tralee was a club that always had a load of Juveniles and it was great to see the return of youth over the course of the summer.