When you think of golfing families steeped in pedigree and history in Ireland there is no doubt the name McGuirk will be near the top of any list. Over four generations of McGuirks have been involved in the game and last Friday was a celebration for one Paddy McGuirk who was retiring after 40 years as PGA professional at Baltray’s Co. Louth Golf Club.
As you would expect, a quality field assembled at Co. Louth to compete and wish their competitive farewells to Paddy. Names like Higgins, McGrane, Thornton and Rice who have dominated the 2021 PGA in Ireland schedule teed it up looking to add to their impressive haul of wins this season but a different McGuirk had other ideas as Paddy’s nephew Michael McGuirk, the owner of McGuirks Golf, carded what he described as “the best competition round of my life” to claim the title as he fired a four-under par 68 for a one shot win ahead of Neil O’Briain of Old Conna who incidentally works in McGuirks, the largest employer of PGA Professionals in Ireland.
“I am still in shock actually” admitted McGuirk after the round. “It’s my best score in a competition and I couldn’t have chosen a better day to do it. It was such a proud day for me and all the family. I called my dad John after the result, and he was a chuffed as I was and couldn’t believe it either.”
Friday was a tough scoring day as October began with brisk winds and a passing shower, but McGuirk excelled in the conditions despite this being the first competitive PGA Pro-Am he had entered in close to ten years. McGuirk carded seven birdies in all, the most in the field, and did his damage on the front nine as he reeled off birdies on 7,8 & 9 to turn in -4. Two more birdies and two dropped shots brought him home in 68.
“I was so focused on the team score, not my own to be honest and just enjoying myself. I kept waiting for a disaster to happen, that double from nowhere, but the birdies just kept coming so I was very thankful of that. I did get a bit nervous on the Par 5 last hole and remember saying a little prayer to my grandad walking up the fairway as I really wanted to hang on, thankfully he listened and I brushed in a nice five footer to win” admitted McGuirk.
“I am blown away by the messages I have received over the last few days from fellow pros and people in the golf industry too, it’s really nice. It was so nice for me to be collecting the winner’s cheque off Paddy at the prizegiving. I know Paddy enjoyed it too and hopefully my grandad who started it all for the McGuirks was looking down smiling.”
After a performance like this I couldn’t help but ask Michael if we would see more of him on the PGA circuit in 2022 to which he laughed and said “lightning doesn’t strike twice Peter, I will leave this to the real professionals, they do this day in and day out and are a different level of player to me, I did it over 18 holes today and am thrilled that I did but it’s back to the day job for me after this.”
On the week that one McGuirk (Paddy) celebrated his retirement from Co. Louth, Michael after his win didn’t stick around to celebrate too long as he was indeed back to his day job as he planned to call into his new McGuirks store which opened just down the road in Drogheda further cementing the McGuirks name into Co Louth.
Full scores HERE