Easter weekend for most people is church, chocolate, family, time off work/school but for the elite of Irish golf it’s time for the championship season to start as they make their way to the famed links of Co. Slligo GC in Rosses Point for The West of Ireland Championship.
For the second year in a row, Gavin Fitzmaurice travellled west to challenge himself against the best golfers in Ireland and a few from abroad.
This year ‘the West’ had a pre-qualifier on the Wednesday where 70 players played for 12 places in the 36 hole strokeplay. The weather was calm and warm and the scores reflected this with the leaders shooting 69 gross.
Then came the main event, 36 holes strokeplay on the Friday and Saturday to identify the 64 players who would battle it out in matchplay until only one remained.
Friday saw windy but playable weather in the morning, a lot of players shooting in the 70’s. In the afternoon Rosses showed it’s teeth with winds of upto 30mph, the scores hilighted the change in conditions with few in the 70’s and an equal amount in the 90’s. Gavin played in the morning wave and shot a very respectable 76 to lie in 20th position.
On Saturday it was the same again, playable in the morning but this time the winds reached over 50mph in the afternoon, players were finding it difficult maintain their stance and golf balls were being blown off the greens. The GUI were forced to cancel the day, the strokeplay was reduced to the 18 hole Friday scores which favoured the morning players with 45 morning players and 19 afternoon players making the matchplay stages.
In round 1 Gavin decided to test the nerves of his followers by taking his match with Barry Anderson all the way to the 4th tie hole before finally winning. This extension to his match meant he only had 15 minutes before his Round of 32 match got underway. The quick turnaround didn’t help his cause and he was 4 down through 7 holes to Gerard Dunne. A valiant fight back ensued and they reached the 17th hole with Gavin holding a 1 hole lead. A birdie from Gerard saw the match level as they teed it up on 18. A half and more tie holes, the supporters were biting their nails again. A solid par was enough to win the 1st tie hole and Gavin headed to the Round of 16.
Easter Monday morning and the 16 players still left in the Championship headed to the first tee for another challenging day. Gavin was drawn to play Theo Coffey, this time Gavin started in style and found himself 3 up early in the match. He maintained his lead to close out the match on 16th hole 3&2, a little less stressful on the supporters.
His now into the last 8 of one of the biggest championships in Ireland, he’s joined there by 7 Irish International players including last years winner Dermot McElroy, home favourite Sean Flanagan, Kevin LeBlanc who started his golf in Balcarrick and Gavins college team mate in UCD Johnny Yates of Naas GC. Gavin got off to a solid start with 3 pars on the first 3 holes, such is the standard in this event, he found himself 3 down to 3 birdies from Daniel Holland. He lost the 4th to a par but he showed his maturity to fight his way back in to the match to be 2 down after 9 holes. The match continued at a very high level but Gavin couldn’t get any closer to Daniel and the match ended on the 17th hole with a 2&1 win for Daniel.Logan 2017 movie streaming
Daniel went on to the final but lost out to Johnny Yates from Naas GC in a very high class match.
Another great championship and Gavin has started his season in style.