These are heady days for County Armagh as BBC News covered the sensational story of Joe Rooney's back-to-back holes-in-one.
READ Joe's interview with the BBC here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40954624
WATCH the BBC video report on the Newsline Facebook page or by scrolling to 20:50 of this link before 6.30pm on Friday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0911lgl/bbc-newsline-evening-news-17082017#
'Golf Digest' magazine estimates the odds of an average amateur golfer having two holes-in-one in the same round to be 162 million to 1, so what an absolutely incredible feat it was for our very own Joe Rooney to ace both the 3rd and 7th holes on Tuesday 15 August!
Playing in the Open Stroke event sponsored by Holmes and Doran Building Surveyors, the 16-year-old drew a 9-iron onto the 3rd green and watched in delight as the ball spun 12 feet left and into the cup.
Then, to the utter amazement of his playing partners, fellow prodigious talents Lee Campbell and Philip Kelly, he nailed a pitching-wedge at the Quarry that took one bounce before smacking the bottom of the pin and nestling in the hole.
Rooney would eventually finish his round on three under par to scoop the gross prize in a tournament won by Adam Cromwell, who carded an outstanding gross 69 of his own for a nett 64. (A full competition report will follow).
Many congratulations to Joe on this staggering achievement ... surely one of the most remarkable in the storied history of County Armagh Golf Club.
Tune in to BBC Radio Ulster between 9am and 9.30am on Thursday to hear County Armagh's hole-in-one king chatting about his recent antics.
Having fulfilled several different club roles with much distinction over the last two decades and more, Walter Neville was a perfect choice to succeed Dr Oliver Woods as President of County Armagh Golf Club in January 2016.
A most successful and pleasurable President's Day on 5 August 2017 then was just reward for Walter, who has since carried out his presidential duties with characteristic dignity, energy and attention to detail.
Family, friends and members surrounded Walter for a Saturday coffee morning, where the Ladies' branch excelled themselves with customarily effective organisation. The coffee morning afforded everyone present a great chance to catch up with old pals, admire the superb array of prizes on offer and wish our fine President all the very best for his big day and beyond.
The pristine clubhouse, enhanced with beautiful floral decoration provided by the ladies, and the delicious refreshments prepared for those in attendance also served as fitting testimony to all the club staff and volunteers who work so diligently to ensure that such showpiece occasions run smoothly.
On the sporting front, with the lady members and juvenile girls and boys already having competed in their various categories, almost 200 men packed the city fairways and greens in the hope of grabbing President's Prize glory, an opportunity that arises only every two years.
Persistent heavy rain earlier in the week had led to understandable fears as to what the weekend's weather would entail but a mercifully dry 48-hour period immediately in advance of President's Day meant that competitors were greeted by a course in excellent condition and setting a suitably stiff golfing examination.
Passing that test with flying colours was Noel Muldoon, whose spectacular scorecard boasted a massive 44 points and sealed his most deserved victory.
Noel had demonstrated some good form in the Open Stableford competition on Wednesday 12 July, when he ran out a comfortable winner with a peerless 45-point plunder. The subsequent handicap reduction would've been enough to curtail the competitive ambition of many players but, instead, Muldoon has seemingly been inspired by the extra challenge that it has posed him.
His President's Day round began with an inauspicious, if not disastrous, six at the opening hole and ended with further double bogeys at the 17th and 18th. However, at the 15 holes in between, Noel was a model of steadiness and consistency — or, to put it more starkly, an insatiable points-collecting machine.
A hat-trick of pars at the 3rd, 4th and 5th helped Muldoon on his way to a terrific 41-stroke outward trek that left him five under his handicap at the turn. More solid and fruitful play would follow on the back nine, where a par at the 15th nestled nicely among half a dozen useful bogeys elsewhere.
It all added up to a gross 87 that means Muldoon will enter the fray of his upcoming golf battles as a 22-handicapper, although that is unlikely to daunt him in this mood.
After Samuel Jenkins was the first to get his name engraved on the County Armagh Golf Club Captain's Day Perpetual Cup in June, Noel is the maiden recipient of the President's Day trophy. He also got his hands on a beautiful set of Mizuno irons, the top prize on offer — not a bad day's work!
Noel Muldoon is presented with the new County Armagh Golf Club President's Day Perpetual Cup and a set of Mizuno irons by President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel
Noel Muldoon is presented with the new County Armagh Golf Club President's Day Perpetual Cup and a set of Mizuno irons by President, Walter Neville, and his wife Mabel.
With Kieran Grimley, Gary McAleavey and Joe Rooney already having tasted monthly glory this season, 119 contenders took to the city’s fairways on 30 July in pursuit of the latest Medal up for grabs at County Armagh Golf Club. And getting his hands on said silverware in the Alexander Mills-sponsored event was Sean Dougan Senior, who laid waste to all of those opponents with a quite peerless Sunday performance.
Dougan has already demonstrated his matchplay prowess this term in qualifying for the latter stages of both the Smith Cup singles and the Charlemont Cup doubles along with his son, also called Sean and no stranger to honours himself. Sean Senior even featured among the prizewinners in June’s ‘9 & Wine’ event but, on this occasion, he proved himself to be more than adept at coping with the challenges posed by the game’s bread-and-butter format: 18-hole strokeplay.
A gross 75 didn't appear to be in the offing when uninspiring early exchanges left Dougan four over par after five holes. However, it was at that juncture that the then 11-handicapper really hit his straps, backing up consecutive pars at the 6th, 7th and 8th with a brilliant birdie at the 9th. Even better than that latently fruitful three-over-par front nine was a homeward dander of just 38 strokes, where another birdie at Sequoias iced a back-nine victory cake also boasting five pars and acceptable bogeys at the 10th, 16th and 18th.
Sean Dougan, winner of the July Medal sponsored by Alexander Mills, is congratulated by County Armagh Golf Club Captain Richard Stewart.
As part of the continuing improvements of the course at County Armagh Golf Club, the Greens staff took delivery of a new Baroness Fairway mower. Checking out the new machine with Greens Convenor Davy Baird (seated) and Head Greenkeeper Ian McCarragher, are Pat McAleavey, Club Treasurer and Dougie Somerville, Trustee.
On a day of mixed weather conditions, beautiful sunshine in the morning and heavy downpours of rain in the afternoon, Vera Ellingham emerged as the overall winner of the Lady Captain's prize. Over 90 ladies competed for the array of beautiful prizes which Lady Captain Gail had chosen, including some magnificent handcrafted necklaces designed by Mary Murphy.
Lady Captain Gail hosted the traditional coffee morning for family, friends and club members. The tempting array of scones and tray bakes was once again generously provided by Johnston's bakery. The clubhouse was adorned with beautiful flower arrangements and everything was in perfect condition due to the efforts of Damien the Bar Manager, and Paul the caretaker ably supported by the Ladies Committee.