Rafferty looking to go one better at the East this bank holiday weekend

Ronan MacNamara

Caolan Rafferty (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/R&A via Getty Images)

The June Bank Holiday weekend is fast approaching as the amateur championship season heats up and Dundalk’s Caolan Rafferty hopes he can claim what would be a home win in Baltray.

Rafferty was second at last year’s East of Ireland Men’s Amateur Open Championship sponsored by the D Hotel as a barnstorming finish from Laytown&Bettystown’s Alex Maguire left him tasting success on home soil. Fuelled by the disappointment of that and a good performance at the Irish Amateur Championship the aim is to go one better this year at Co. Louth Golf Club.

“To win it would be one of the nicer ones,” Rafferty told the Golf Ireland Podcast. “It’s one I try and aim for each year nearly because it is only down the road we could have a few pints to celebrate it not like the South or West where it was too long a journey home to celebrate straight away. It would be great to win because I will have a lot of support if I am going well.


“Last year was a massive disappointment because I was going well and the last seven holes I had four lip outs and harsh lip outs. Those stung and then I drove it in the fairway bunker on 16 and made bogey so little things at the end left a sour taste in my mouth but when you look and see you are second you have to take the positives from it too.

“The scores Alex shot on the final day were unbelievable, his golf was great that day and hats off to him last year.”

Having flirted with the prospect of turning professional before the Covid pandemic, the former South and West of Ireland champion is very much a part time amateur yet his consistency is still the same. Raff had four top-10s in his five starts last year including 2nd at the East and 9th in the Amateur Championship in Lytham while he already has a 7th place finish from his first outing in the Island where he led the field after 36 holes.

“That was the first tournament I played four rounds in since last year. It’s just that competitive edge when you start hitting that stray shot and short siding yourself so I got a wee bit caught out. I was happy enough in the end with my performance,” explained Rafferty who will enjoy home comforts at the weekend with his house just 20 minutes from Baltray.

“It was a quick year, everything is flying in, I can’t believe how far into the year we are already that the East is back around. Baltray is somewhere I enjoy it’s only 20 minutes from the house I played it regularly as a young fella as well and I have had a couple of good showings. In my first ever East I was around the lead after round one and fell away because I didn’t know what to do as a young fella then but I have a better head on my shoulders.

“I enjoy the East I enjoy the course it suits my eye and generally we get decent weather for it which helps.

“You can still live your own day to day life and it’s just golf at the end of the day which is big for me because I enjoy my own space and do my own thing, I went to work on the second day of the Irish Amateur because I wasn’t out until 3pm so I had to kill the morning some way. So little things like that can be beneficial.


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