Ballyclare golfers play in inaugural Region of Murcia Masters

Two golfers from Ballyclare participated in the inaugural Region of Murcia Masters in Spain earlier this month.

Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Tommy Wright, a member of Dunmurry Golf Club, took part in the three-day Costa Calida event alongside nine other qualifiers from golf clubs across the province, including Whitehead Golf Club member Paul Craig, also from Ballyclare.

In what was one of the biggest amateur golf competitions ever held in Northern Ireland, qualifiers from 10 prestigious golf clubs, covering all six counties, converged on the south east of Spain to compete in the Grand Final which was played on three courses in Murcia.

To earn their place at the Grand Final, qualifiers took part in series of ‘Race To Murcia’ Open qualifying events at the participating clubs between April and September this year. The final was played on three of the Murcia region’s 20 golf courses with the winner being crowned on the best two cards.

Rodney Orr (Clandeboye GC), Emmet Hughes (Killymoon GC), Tommy Wright (Dunmurry GC), Esther Garcia from event organisers the Tourism Institute of the Region of Murcia, Peter Mulhall (Ardglass GC), David McEwen (Edenmore GC), Paul Craig (Whitehead GC), Ralph Mealiff (Galgorm Castle), Peter Liggett (Portadown GC), Martin Peters (Lough Erne Resort) and Brad Stewart (Castlerock GC).

With high stableford scores of 40 and 39 on the first two days, Clandeboye Golf Club qualifier Rodney Orr emerged triumphant – and lifted the trophy at a prizegiving dinner attended by guests and VIPs from the Murcia tourism and golf industries.

Paul Craig finished runner-up with a combined score of 73 points, ahead of Peter Mulhall from Ardglass GC in third place with 69 points.

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An associated competition for travelling professionals from the participating golf courses was won by Lough Erne’s Damian Mooney, who last visited Murcia in the early ‘90s as part of a three-man Irish team competing in the PGA of Europe Team Championships at La Manga.