Francis Howley's Top Irish Open Moments
The Irish Open 2016 is fast approaching and will take place on the 19th – 23rd of May. Francis Howley, Director of Golf at Carton House, has picked his favourite moments from the Irish Open down through the years
1. Shane Lowry Winning as an Amateur in 2009
Shane Lowry famously won the Irish Open as an Amateur in Baltray. Lowry, a former residential professional here at Carton House, defied the odds beating Robert Rock in a playoff. Having grown up in Cara Co. Offaly, Shane has had years of practice on some of Europe’s most prestigious greens. Shane is a regular visitor to Carton House and is currently playing on both the European and PGA Tour’s. Lowry defeated British professional Robert Rock on the third hole of a sudden death during the 2009 Irish Open. Both players finished the course with 271 stokes 17 under par. The win, on his tour début, made Shane just the third amateur to win on the European Tour, following Danny Lee earlier in the 2009 season, and Pablo Martín in 2007. Lowry shot a 62 to equal the lowest ever by an amateur on the circuit and led from the second round onwards.
2. Colin Montgomerie wins his Third Open
Colin Montgomerie won his third Irish open in 2001 at Fota Island. A previous winner in 1996 and 1997 Colin won the third open by five shots ahead of home favourites Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. Colin the 8 time European Tour Order of Merit winner played against some of Europe’s best golfers such as Padraig Harington, Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn who had just won the Dubai Desert Classic defeating Tiger woods by 2 shots. Patrik Sjoland, returning champion also battled to keep his title however Colin went on to become one of the very few people to have won the Irish Open 3 times.
Shortly Afterwards Colin started work on the design for the Montgomerie course here at Carton House
3. Paul Casey wins Irish Open at Carton House
Paul Casey won the 2013 Irish open at Carton House with an eagle on the final hole. Casey was 1 shot up on Robert Rock and Joost Luiten going into the last before a super eagle confirmed the win for him. Paul had a fantastic game hitting a 5 under par of 67 that claimed him his position by 3 shots. Having made 5 birdies within 6 holes in conditions that would not be considered ideal, Paul had proven he was still a top athlete after facing injuries during previous years. Prior the competition Paul was ranked as the 169th in the world and made a remarkable comeback during the 2013 Irish Open.
4. Padraig Harrington Wins in 2007
Padraig Harrington became the first home winner of the Irish Open in 25 years when he won at Adare Manor. John O’Leary had won the open in 1982 but it was a long wait for the next winner on home soil. 2007 was a big year for Padraig, having won the Irish open he went on to beat Sergio Garcia in the British Open at Carnoustie.
5. Richard Finch Falls into Water on Way to Victory
Richard Finch famously fell into the water in 2008 on the 18th hole on his way to winning the Irish Open. Finch shot a 2-under 70 to win the event hosted in Adare by 2 shots. 2008 was an Irish Open everyone remembers, Richards infamous fall lead to worldwide media coverage. The mishap occurred when Richards went for the green with his third shot, a feat he achieved brilliantly only to find his momentum knocked him off balance and dumped him into the water, much to the amusement of the packed gallery. After being fished out of the water by his caddie, Finch crossed the river and took three putts to secure the title on 10 under par.
6. Jamie Donaldson Wins in Royal Portrush
In 2012 Royal Portrush hosted the first Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953. The 3 Northern Irish major winners – Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke, played a big role in getting the event played in Royal Portrush and it proved to be one of the most successful Irish Opens. The tournament had crowds totalling 130,000 making it the first ever European Tour Sell Out. Having secured an 18 under par Jamie Donaldson became the 2012 champion winning by 4 shots beating Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Anthony Wall and Fabrizio Zanotti. Donaldson went into the last round leading by one shot and in the final 7 holes got 5 birdies breaking him away from the pack. Portrush was the first Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953.
With the 2016 Irish open coming up in May we are expecting to see some more memorable moments with what’s expected to be a phenomenal event.