Hearn making strides in the South


Jack Hearn Photo: David Lloyd / Golffile.

Tramore golfer Jack Hearn refused to look past a massive Munster derby against Peter O’Keeffe as he reached the final day of the Pierse Motors South of Ireland.

The former Ulster stroke play champion defeated Graham Donohoe 1up in the last 16 before and a convincing 3&2 win against Conor Byrne in the quarter-finals at Lahinch.

The rain steered clear for much of the day but the wind hit hard again and the players had to battle to keep their balls on the fairways of the Clare Links.


O’Keeffe (Douglas) had lost last year’s final to Hugh Foley and he began with an impressive 5&4 victory over Joe O’Neill. The Corkman then eased to a 3&2 quarter-final win at the expense of Gerard Dunne.

With last year’s Flogas Irish Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) on the opposite side of the draw against Paul Coughlan (Castleknock), it sets up an intriguing final day.

The weather is set to worsen on Sunday and with so many variables and a tough opponent awaiting, Hearn is keeping his focus on the final four.

“There might be a few down tomorrow but I try not to think about the trophy or anything because I have a semi-final match tomorrow, it’s not a final match. I have got to win that first and then see what happens after that,” said Hearn.

“The conditions were really tough today. You just have to get it somewhere around the green and two putt it. There wasn’t many birdies out there today from anybody. Just good lag putting as well, you don’t want to leave yourself too long for par.

“All you can do is just hit the shot in front of you and take it from there.”

O’Keeffe brings huge experience to tomorrow’s semi-final at 41l, and the former professional can also count on fellow Douglas clubman Karl Bornemann, his caddie offers his considerable insight.

“It’s tough to get your lines right off the tee so you have to really commit. But having Karl on the bag is a massive help because he is a strategist by nature and I am more of a reactive player,” said O’Keeffe.
“So he is slowing me down and really discussing things and for me that’s actually new. But it’s enlightening and it’s working so we are just going to continue with that and go from there.”

Campbell and Couglan battled their way to very different victories on Saturday afternoon, the former had to wait until the 20th hole to finally get the better of Ryan Griffin.

Having the knowledge of Lahinch youngster and caddie Daniel McInerney, son of Padraig McInerney, was a huge help especially down the final stretch.

“He’s been first class now,” said Campbell.

“He’s been a huge help especially when the wind and the rain was bad. And his local knowledge helps, he can play as well, so it’s good to have someone like him on the bag.

“I was two up with three to go and make a bad bogey on 16 and then a three putt on 17. Then I hit a great putt on 18 but to be fair, Ryan was very clutch coming in there.

“Then I had a super six iron into the first play-off hole, to about four feet and Ryan makes a great par save from just off the green, then I miss and I’m thinking to myself have I blown it. “Great second shot into the 20th there and thankfully it was enough to get the job done.

At the end of the day you have just got to keep going. The next shot is as important as the last one. Was trying to make sure I put a good swing on the next shot.

“Thankfully it was enough to get me over the line.”

Coughlan was the first player to land his place in the semi-finals, he produced a fine measured display in his 5&4 win over David Shiel.

“This is one of my favourite golf courses, you just have to step up and hit some good shots. Definitely suits someone that is flighting it down this week,” said Coughlan.

“I’d like to say it suits my game, mostly, I don’t spin it too much so I can get something running out there.

“It’s exciting, we will see what happens. Still a good ways to go.”


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