Fortwilliam GC win Donaghadee Youth event

Conor McDiarmid of Fortwilliam GC  receiving the winning team trophy from  Donaghadee GC captain, Colm Fox
Conor McDiarmid of Fortwilliam GC receiving the winning team trophy from Donaghadee GC captain, Colm Fox

Fortwilliam beat Clandeboye to win the 43rd Donaghadee Youth Tournament.

The foundation for the victory was laid by Hugh O’Hare, Conor Bradley and Jude Maskey who banked the necessary three wins in a tense semi-final win over Blackwood and then repeated the act again in the final.

The three-day event attracted teams from all over Ulster.

Each team consisted of five players and Wednesday took the form of a stroke competition to identify and seed the top 16 teams to play in the matchplay stages. With the four best cards to count, all players had to be in good form.

Blustery conditions coupled with some very tricky pin positioning, tested some of Ulster’s best emerging talent to the limit.

Best nett score of the day went to young James Torrens of Donaghadee who shot 74 gross off a handicap of 10.

The best gross score was by Johnny Norton of Blackwood with a level par score of 71.

Matty Murphy of Clandeboye and Nathan McCann of Lurgan also shot level par but young Norton won through with a better score over the last three holes.

Five-handicapper Norton said; “I am delighted to have won this trophy especially when I look at the names of previous winners and see that I am joining a list which includes some of Ulster’s best known amateurs as well as Darren Clarke.”

Conor McDiarmid, captain of the winning Fortwilliam team paid tribute to his fellow players for their victory.

“We finished as third best qualifier and with the seeding we faced some tough opposition to get through to the final but the team showed that they were up to the task,” he said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed playing in this tournament. It is very competitive but played in great spirit.”

Presenting the prizes, the Captain of Donaghadee Golf Club, Colm Fox, wondered if perhaps he had shaken the hand of a future major championship winner.

“At Donaghadee we are very proud of the fact that some of Ulster’s best known professional and amateur golfers have played in this competition and, who knows, perhaps one or more of those playing here this week will emerge over the next few years to join the likes of our three major champions,” he said.

“This tournament has been running for over 40 years and one cannot fail to be impressed not only with the standard of golf but also with the way in which these young people conduct themselves. They are all fine ambassadors for their clubs”