Ireland romp to European Championship in Belgium

Ronan MacNamara
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Ireland romp to European Championship in Belgium

Aidan Grenham, Conor Stone, Gareth McNeilly (Team Captain), Gerri Houlihan (Golf Ireland), Brendan Lawlor and Alan Gaynor - EGA

Ireland have won the European Team Championship for Golfers with Disability at Koksidje Golf Ter Hille in Belgium.

In the end it was a procession as the Boys in Green won by a staggering twenty-five strokes despite shooting a one-over final round.

The final round was singles and Brendan Lawlor of Carton House and Co. Meath Golf Club’s Conor Stone led the charge with rounds of 70 and 71 respectively.

Co. Sligo’s Alan Gaynor and Ballinasloe’s Aidan Grenham came home with rounds of 76 and 78.

Gareth McNeilly’s charges finished on three-under after 54 holes of foursomes, greensomes and singles play for a total of 501.

Sweden took second place on twenty-two-over while England were fifteen shots further back in third.

EDGA world number one Lawlor came home in two-under thanks to three birdies, an eagle and three bogeys.

The Dundalk native roared out of the traps with an opening birdie before handing it back on the sixth. A hole-out eagle on the par-4 7th was the highlight of the day as he turned in 34.

The back nine wasn’t as straightforward for Lawlor who dropped shots on the eleventh and seventeenth but birdied the 12th and 18th to finish in style.

Meanwhile Kildalkey native Stone shot a superb back nine of three-under 33 for a one-under 71. Stone who plays Senior Cup for Co. Meath Golf Club opened with a birdie before dropping a shot on the third.

After a birdie on the fifth Stone found the going tough towards the turn carding a double-bogey six on the sixth before adding insult to injury with a bogey on the ninth to turn in 38.

Stone birdied 11, 12 and 15 as he came home in style.

A bad finish saw Gaynor home in 41 as he signed for a six-over round while Grenham was two better on plus four for the day.

Speaking from Belgium after the win, Team Captain Gareth McNeilly said it was a brilliant day for Irish golf.

“We were delighted to compete for Ireland this week. After the trials, we knew we had a good team, and it showed. I’m delighted for the four lads. There was no pressure today. They played amazingly over the three days.

“I thought at the start of the year, I’d have a chance of making the team. Conor, Alan and Aidan have come on leaps and bounds this year, and we all know that Brendan is a superstar. This country produces brilliant golfers.

“The four lads gelled well together. There has been a strong bond with the four and their families. They played their best this week, and thankfully their best was more than good enough.”

Golf Ireland CEO Mark Kennelly added; “This team has represented Irish golf with distinction in Belgium. We are delighted and proud of their achievement in winning this title at the first attempt. The result is a testament to their talent, determination and diligent preparation.”

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