Thursday, May 30, 2024

Teenage star Seán Keeling seeks big breakthrough at Irish Amateur Open in Rosses Point

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The Roganstown star (17) has made a name for himself over the past few seasons, starring for Europe in last year’s Junior Ryder Cup win in Rome and picking up a string of underage titles.

He’d initially planned to turn professional rather than head to the US college system. But he’s now hoping to create the same kind of impact as predecessor Ludvig Aberg when he takes up a golf scholarship at the Swede’s former alma mater, Texas Tech.

It’s been a big year for the Dublin teenager, and this week, he faces a big challenge as he tees it up in an elite, 138-strong field featuring 105 home players and 33 overseas raiders.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Keeling, who is one of the leading Irish contenders for the title alongside Walker Cup players Liam Nolan and Matt McClean. “Since I saw it was going to be in Sligo, I’ve been looking forward to it.”

The first goal is to make the top 50 and ties who will make the 54-hole cut for Sunday’s final round at the Rosses Point links, where Carton House’s Keith Egan is seeking a famous double following his West of Ireland Championship win last month.

Seán Keeling

Keeling, who has made huge strides under coach Geoff Loughrey at the Made in Holywood Academy in Swords, is no stranger to precocious achievements, playing in the North of Ireland when he was only 12 and winning a Regional Qualifier for The Open three years later.

He won the Flogas Irish Boys Amateur Open by seven shots at Ballybunion earlier this season and recently teamed up with McClean, Hugh Foley, and Jack Hearn to help Ireland win the European Nations Team Championship at Sotogrande.

Like Caolan Rafferty, Foley is a former West of Ireland champion looking for more Rosses Point success. However, the likes of South Africa’s Daniel Bennett and Scots Gregor Graham and Gregor Tait will make life tough for a strong home contingent.

Egan, Hearn, Nolan, and McClean are expected to perform well, as will 2022 winner Colm Campbell and Castleknock’s Quentin Carew.

Two-time champion Peter O’Keeffe also has the game to shine in the strokeplay format, while Co Sligo has six men in the field, including West of Ireland runner-up David Brady, who is playing out of Straffan.

“I haven’t played it for a number of years, so looking forward to it and I will try to enjoy it as much as I can because a month ago I wasn’t in the field and now I am, so it will be good to play in it especially playing at home as well in Rosses this year,” said Brady.

“Obviously, it’s a fantastic field; it gets a lot of guys from the UK and abroad, and there’s a few South Africans there as well. It’s just cool to be able to compete against the top amateurs around the place.”

Brady (27) will start his first round at 10:23 a.m., and he’s looking forward to more home support and using the crowd to make it to the final of the West.

“I fed off the crowd a wee bit because I didn’t feel physically tired or anything from the week but probably more mentally tired, which you don’t really realise,” said Brady, whose cousin Aodhagan Brady as well as clubmates Ruairi O’Connor, TJ Ford, Collin Smith, Sean McLoughlin and Sean Flanagan (Portmarnock) are also in the field. “The crowd really helped with finding a bit of extra energy.

“I know I proved it there at Easter that I have the game to compete, but I’m not really putting myself under too much pressure. If it happens, it happens; if not, I’ll still enjoy it either way.”

Flogas Irish Men’s Amateur Open, Co Sligo GC

Rd 1 & 2 Tee-times

Thursday/Friday

07:00/11:18 Fionn Dobbin (Malone), Simon Austin (Murhof), Jake Foley (Elm Park);

07:11/11:29 Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk), Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Brodie Cunningham (Bothwell Castle);

07:22/11:40 James Temple (Portmarnock), Eoin Murphy (Dundalk), Paul Coughlan (Castleknock);

07:33/11:51 James Fox (Portmarnock), Dominic McGlinchey (The Renaissance Club), TJ Ford (Co Sligo);

07:44/12:02 Harry Gillivan (Portmarnock), Lewis Gowdy (Bangor), Sean David (Pyle & Kenfig);

07:55/12:13 Simon Walker (Roscommon), Ross McCormack (Palmerstown House Estate), Mark Gazi (Tralee);

08:06/12:24 Liam Abom (Edmondstown), Lucas McKeen (Co Louth), James Hewitt (Tandragee);

08:17/12:35 Morgan Cain (Cork), Andrew Benson (West Lothian), Tom Matthews (Oswestry);

08:28/12:46 Jake Adler (Nenagh), Robert Galligan (Elm Park), Adam Buchanan (Royal Portrush);

08:39/13:02 Robbie Cannon (Balbriggan), Jordan Boles (Charleville), Robert Walsh (Douglas);

08:50/13:13 James Stenson (The Island), Graham Donohoe (Enniscorthy), Allan Hill (Roscommon);

09:01/13:24 Gregor Graham (Blairgowrie), Liam Nolan (Galway), Matthew McClean (Malone);

09:12/13:35 Paul Carey (Nenagh), Jamie Butler (Naas), Luke Harris (Hermitage);

09:23/13:46 David Tomi (Albatross Golf Club, Praha), Hugh Foley (Royal Dublin), Caolan Burford (Rhuddlan);

09:34/13:57 Sean Flanagan (Portmarnock), Alex Jaap (Conwy), Sean Reddy (Douglas);

09:45/14:08 Donnacha Cleary (Tipperary), Ryan Griffin (Ballybofey), Julius Sommer (Golf & Country Club Zurich);

10:01/14:19 Darragh Flynn (Carton House), Alexander Farmer (Kilmacolm), Samuel Gammell (Naas);

10:12/14:30 Ross Laird (Glenbervie), Ryan Williams (Bargoed), Ruairi O’Connor (Co Sligo);

10:23/14:41 Michael Roche (Harpenden Common), Benjamin Oberholzer (Clandeboye), David Brady (Straffan);

10:34/14:52 Christian Johnson (Formby Hall), Kevin Robinson (Castlewarden), Evan Farrell (Co Louth);

10:45/15:03 Aodhagan Brady (Co Sligo), John Tandberg (Maridoe), Ben Best (Rathmore);

10:56/15:14 Dwayne Mallon (Dungannon), Cian O’Connor (Roscommon), Robbie Hynes (Royal Dublin);

11:07/15:25 David Reddan (Nenagh), Jonathan Keane (Lahinch), Edward Reed (Royal Birkdale);

11:18/07:00 Gary Collins (Rosslare), Marc Norton (Belvoir Park), Aidan Dooley (Carton House);

11:29/07:11 Darryl Gwilliam (Coventry), Paul O’Hanlon (Carton House), Edward Rowe (Belvoir Park);

11:40/07:22 Eoin Sullivan (Portmarnock), Lorcan O’Connor (Edmondstown), Mark Doogue (Castleknock);

11:51/07:33 Thomas Abom (Edmondstown), Colm Hughes (Castle), Ryan McNelis (Fintona);

12:02/07:44 Sean Murphy (Grange), Ross Nelson (Belvoir Park), Miles Gray (Etchinghill);

12:13/07:55 Shea Dorman (Bangor), Dean O’ Riordan (Fermoy), Adam Smith (Mullingar);

12:24/08:06 Frederik Dortmans (Sunningdale), Colin Smith (Co Sligo), Allan Kiernan (Forrest Little);

12:35/08:17 Andrew Mulholland (Castlerock), Conor Hickey (Dooks), David Marshall (Naas);

12:46/08:28 Luke Kelly (Dunfanaghy), Rory Gallagher (Galway Bay), Seán McLoughlin (Co Sligo);

13:02/08:39 Alyx Murray (Kilmarnock Barassie), Gavin Tiernan (Co Louth), Rory McConnell (Belvior Park);

13:13/08:50 Finn Coull (Royal Montrose Mercantile), Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu), Paraic Connolly (The Links Portmarnock);

13:24/09:01 Sean Cooper (Enniscorthy), Ross Latimer (Clandeboye), Joe O’Neill (Berehaven);

13:35/09:12 Scott Spark (Newmachar), Oscar Murphy (Royal Portrush), Charlie Smyth (PGA National Slieve Russell);

13:46/09:23 Gordon Sillett (Ballykisteen), Cian Harkin (Letterkenny), Adam Scott (Lochmaben);

13:57/09:34 Mark Cadden (Roganstown), Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell), David Howard (Fota Island);

14:08/09:45 Keith Egan (Carton House), Gregor Tait (Aldeburgh), Sean Keeling (Roganstown);

14:19/10:01 Max Weaver (Bury St Edmunds), Matthew Wilson (Forres), Quentin Carew (Castleknock);

14:30/10:12 Jack Hearn (Tramore), Daniel Bennett (Silver Lakes Golf & Wildlife Estate), Lucas Martin (Rotherham);

14:41/10:23 Dylan Kayne (Pearl Valley), Sam Mukherjee (Gullane), Aaron Marshall (Lisburn);

14:52/10:34 Peter O’Keeffe (Douglas), Adam Allahbachani (Powerscourt), Oliver Mukherjee (Gullane);

15:03/10:45 Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin), Scott Mann (Carnoustie), Jake Whelan (Grange);

15:14/10:56 Jack McDonnell (Royal Dublin), David Kitt (Athenry), Jacob Kelso (Kings Hill);

15:25/11:07 Theo Baker (Celtic Manor), John Doyle (Fota Island), Shane McDermott (Slieve Russell).

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