Maynooth University mixes it with the best at Patriot All-America

John Craven
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Maynooth's Ryan Griffin in action at the Patriot - Image courtesy of Maynooth University

It was a great way to start the new year for all those associated with the Paddy Harrington Golf Scholarship at Maynooth University as the programme again found itself well represented at the prestigious Patriot All-America.

Maynooth’s David Kitt and Ryan Griffin made their way to Wigwam Resort to rub shoulders with some of the finest amateur golfers in the world while another Maynooth man, Alan Fahy competed in the augural Thunderbolt Invitational.

Griffin, who received a special invitation as Maynooth’s top ranked player on WAGR after the 2022 summer season, fared best for the Kildare college at the Patriot, sandwiching a round of 71 between a pair of 75s to secure a top-70 finish. Meanwhile Kitt, who earned his invite having played in the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup last July, returned rounds of 75, 77 and 73 for a T73 result.

In the inaugural Thunderbolt Invitational, which has been launched off the back of the success of the Patriot All America, Fahy posted scores of 75, 75 and 76 for a tied-56th finish. The Thunderbolt field comprises players ranked between 200-800 on the world amateur golf rankings (WAGR).

Given the time of year and a lack of competitive game-time back home, competing against such high-class opposition was always going to be a big ask for Maynooth’s travelling contingent but Programme Co-Ordinator Barry Fennelly was pleased with how his men performed given the circumstances.

“It’s a real treat for our guys to rub shoulders with the best collegiate players in the U.S. every year at the Patriot and I’m very proud of the lads for the way they handled the occasion,” said Fennelly.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have representation at the event since 2013 when Gary Hurley was invited. It’s very much part of our schedule now and it’s always a stacked field featuring some of the best amateurs in the world with a number of the top-20 on WAGR playing again this year.

“It’s tough for our guys to produce their best coming from home with very little tournament form but we try prepare them as best we can for the challenge. The last tournament our guys played was at the Tour Series in France in October so given the size of the task at hand, I thought they stood up to the test quite well and it should prove to be a lovely kickstart for them heading into the new season.”

For Fennelly’s Maynooth stars, an opportunity to compete at the event each year is invaluable exposure to the top tier of amateur golf. And with a women’s division now in play at the Patriot, Fennelly’s hoping that Maynooth’s female contingent will be next to feature at one of amateur golf’s truly elite events.

“It’s definitely a big goal of ours to have a female Maynooth representative at the event going forward,” said Fennelly.

“We’re always looking to expand our women’s division and we have some real quality players currently within the group. It would be great to achieve that goal and there’s no doubt that any of our guys or girls will hugely benefit from experiencing the tournament.

“The event is so well run by the Golf Coaches Association of America, Arizona Golf Association and the West Valley Mavericks Foundation so we are very thankful to the organisers for their continued support in inviting our leading scholars each year.”

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