10 Dec 2016
Portmarnock duo of Geoff Lenehan & UCD graduate Jack Pierse flourished to secure Portmarnock's first ever World Club Championship title. The Portmarnock pair played fantastically all week from winning the Merrin-Crow Plate with a 63 in the opening event, proceeding to lead the 36 hole qualifying, and to cap it off edging a very closely fought final against Royal Melbourne.
With play suspended on Thursday evening due to lack of light it meant that Portmarnock had to first complete their semi-final match against Los Angeles Country Club. When the match recommenced this morning Portmarnock had a two up lead through nine holes. Los Angeles started with a drop shot on the tenth which gave Portmarnock a three hole advantage with eight holes to play, solid golf over the remaining holes saw Portmarnock claim a four and three victory which advanced them to the final.
Final Line Up: Royal Melbourne's Matias Sanchez & Will Heffernan take on Portmarnock's Jack Pierse & Geoff Lenehan
In the other semi-final Royal Melbourne saw off a late fight back from Royal St. George’s to edge the match by one hole. The Royal Melbourne pair of Will Heffernan and Matias Sanchez had been in fine form all week with the week low score of 62 in the second round of the qualifying having been the highlight. Royal Melbourne and Portmarnock were tied lead qualifiers going into the matchplay stage and it was only fitting that the two clubs would fight it out for the World Club Championship title. Geoff Lenehan had commented on the pedigree of their opponents throughout the week so Portmarnock knew that they were going to have to play their best to have a chance at victory.
The final started with a couple of halves as the teams traded pars before Portmarnock took a one hole lead when Geoff made a birdie on the third. Royal Melbourne drew level when the Portmarnock pair failed to make par on the fifth and then Royal Melbourne edged ahead with a birdie two from Matias on the seventh hole. Geoff made a long putt for birdie on the tricky ninth hole that brought the match level at the turn. Two fine birdies on the 10th and 11th gave Melbourne a two hole advantage. The course showed its teeth over the next three holes which were all won with par, Portmarnock claiming the 12th and 14th with Royal Melbourne taking the 13th. This meant that Portmarnock had reduced the deficit to one hole playing the 15th hole where Jack hit an iron shot to a couple of feet to bring the match back to all square with three holes to play. The 16th hole was halved in pars before drama unfolded on the 17th hole. Matias hit the par five in two and he was left with about 15 feet for eagle and Royal Melbourne looked to be in the driving seat as both Portmarnock players had missed the green in two. Jack had overshot the green with his approach which left him with a very difficult chip. Jack played a fantastic chip that disappeared into the hole for an eagle three, much to the enjoyment of the watching crowd. Matias’s eagle attempt just slipped by which gave Portmarnock a one hole advantage playing the 18th hole but the drama wasn’t done yet as both Portmarnock players managed to find the water off the tee which led to a concession of the hole. Extra holes were required to separate the two evenly matched teams and they returned to the 18th tee to commence a sudden death play-off. This time both Portmarnock players found the fairway whereas only Matias managed to keep the ball in play with Will finding the water off the tee. Geoff hit his approach shot to 40 feet and a two putt par was good enough to claim the World Club Championship.
Ayodhya Links Founder, Mr Pitak Intrawityanunt presentes the trophy to Portmarnock pair of Jack Pierse & Geoff Lenehan
Sky Sports will be showing the highlights of the event on December 26th where there will be an opportunity to watch the great achievements of Geoff Lenehan and Jack Pierse. In the winning speech Geoff praised the hosts and organisers of the event while heaping praise on his playing partner 'for thriving in clutch situations throughout the week'. Geoff also hoped that this sucess 'can be carried into the Portmarnock team performances in 2017'.
The win is a huge achievement and for Golf in Ireland, the pair are the first European winners since Sunningdale in 2007.Many congratulations to Portmarnock G.C and especially to Jack.