O'Flaherty goes back-to-back at Lee Valley Scratch Cup


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Gary O’Flaherty claimed his third Lee Valley Senior Scratch Cup title yesterday when he shot a steady level par round to maintain his lead and take the title.  Tiarnan McLarnon was one of the early starters and went around in 70 (-2) which saw him claim second place.

 Image from Cork Golf News
Starting with a two shot lead, many would have thought O’Flaherty would have needed a 70 or better.  But the weather conditions in Lee Valley hampered everyone with the harsh wind played a big role.  However, O’Flaherty increased his lead to three shots after the second hole when Ronan Mullarney bogied, and he maintained that cushion through the remainder of the front nine as a bogey on the 7th was followed by a birdie on the par five 8th hole. The back nine proved a challenge for most with all of the leaders bar O’Flaherty dropping shots.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the win,” said O’Flaherty, “Especially considering I was five over after nine on Saturday morning.  I was a bit apprehensive after but I played better on the back nine and finished on three over.”  O’Flaherty went on to shoot the lights out on Saturday afternoon, signing for an eight under par 64.  “It was a big difference from Saturday morning,” he added.  “The only blemish was the three putt on the last, but apart from that I played really well and it was a great round.  I took my chances and got a bit of luck along the way.” 
O’Flaherty was comfortable going into the final round, although his two-shot cushion over the field didn’t guarantee him anything.  “I knew with the wind that there probably wasn’t a very low score out there so I focused on hitting fairways and making pars.  I made a mistake on 13 but apart from that I was really happy with my play.”
The result told a story about the conditions, of the later starters O’Flaherty was the only golfer to match par.  Ian O’Rourke also shot a 72 while James Sugrue and Keith Crowley both signed for 73’s.  Given the quality of the chasing pack it was thought there would have been a low score, but it never happened and O’Flaherty became the first person to win back to back titles since Kieran McCarthy won the first two events.
Sponsors BoyleSports and ODG Advisory were delighted with the event, and it’s hard to believe that it was in doubt earlier in the week as the weather played havoc with the course.  The investment in a sanding programme and the ongoing drainage programme have paid huge dividends in Lee Valley and that was very evident this week. 
Final Scores:
1 Gary O’Flaherty 211 (-5) 75/64/72
2 Tiernan McLarnon 216 (-1) 71/74/70
3 James Sugrue 216 (0) 70/73/73
4 Keith Crowley 218 (+2) 72/73/73
5 Sean Desmond 219 (+2) 72/70/76
6 Jack McDonnell 219 (+3) 70/72/77
7 Ronan Mullarney 219 (+3) 70/71/78
8 Anthony McDaid 221 (+5) 75/69/77
9 John Hickey 221 (+5) 72/76/73
10 Ian O’Rourke 222 (+6) 76/74/72

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