Ivan Morris: Andrew McCormack's round of 62 at Castletroy - impressive!

Ivan Morris

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Ivan Morris

Ivan Morris: Andrew McCormack's round of 62 at Castletroy - impressive!

Rightly or wrongly, I cannot help feeling cynical towards handicap golfers who return stableford scores of 46-points in singles competitions.

When a golfer does it without the help of a single handicap stroke that's a different scenario and I am left in awe.

Such was the case at Castletroy recently when 24-year old, Andrew McCormack, breezed around the tree-lined venue in a 10-under par, 62-gross. That Andrew was playing off Plus-2 and scored 44-pts, not 46, is irrelevant.

"A 62 at Castletroy is unprecedented. Never heard of anyone doing that before. Such a score is barely conceivable even allowing for the fact that the white tees and placing were in operation," Gushed long-time Castletroy member and administrator, Dermot Heraty.

Nevertheless, the achievement had a slightly ironic if not, bitter, taste to it. McCormack had just returned to his home club from the West of Ireland Championship at Rosses Point, County Sligo where the storm force winds had blown his swing inside out.

"The West was disappointing but the weather cannot be controlled. The high winds caused mayhem for the players and officials. Even though I played well, I shot 83 on Day 1.

“Because the conditions were not as extreme, I shot 77 the next day without playing as well. That can happen in golf.

I could accept the high scores because I had never experienced weather conditions like it but to miss the cut because my 77 was cancelled, did not seem right. I felt there were fairer alternatives, but look, that's life!" 

After experiencing 50mph on a tough links like Rosses Point, the tranquility of parkland golf on a calm day made golf seem easy and Andrew took full advantage.

After a shaky first hole when he scrambled a chip and putt par, Andrew found 'the feel' with the putter on the second green and holed a curling 25-footer for birdie.

On the third, he wedged close for another birdie. Then came the shot that 'lit the fire.' He was in the fairway bunker on the fourth but managed to hit a spectacular 9-iron recovery to within 6-inches.

If you are a plus man, birdie-4s at par fives are regulation scores. He achieved 'back-to-backers' at Nos. 6 and 7.

Now 5-under, Andrew made a 'mess' of the 8th but a spectacular pitch and putt from 50-yards short of the green 'saved' his par and kept the momentum going. Another accurate wedge approach to the ninth set up birdie number six.

Then came the two best holes on the course (in my opinion.) A medium length putt went down for a birdie on the 10th followed by an excellent 4-iron shot to the difficult, par-3, 11th for an 'easy' par.

Slightly miffed at missing a 15-footer, Andrew holed a 'monster' on the 12th. 8-under! Par at No. 13 and a solid 6-iron pulled up one yard away from the hole on the 'dangerous' 14th; 9-under.

A good approach to No. 15, failed to yield a birdie. Two 'big shots' found the par-5, 16th green and birdie No. 10 was routine. Another nice putt went down on the 17th for birdie number 11.

The 18th hole at Castletroy is one of the best finishing holes in the country. Andrew just missed the green and unfortunately took three to get down without hitting a poor shot, which often happens when the pressure is on.

The beauty of golf is that there was never, ever, a round played that might not have been better!

Wisely, Andrew is not getting carried away with this one score. "It just reinforces what I am capable of. The next step is to shoot good scores on a 'bigger stage' in scratch cups and championships."

To prove that his extraordinary 62 was 'no fluke' it was promptly followed by a 66 in a medal competition at Newcastle West on Sunday last.

Andrew gives full credit to his coach, Michael Collins at Mallow Driving Range, Newtwopothouse for the steady progress he is making. He also appreciates the expert club fitting service by Donal McSweeney at Ballyneety, which has also helped him to improve his game.

Work in the gym under Ian Dowling is proving beneficial too as no stone is being left unturned in the pursuit of this likeable young man's 'burning ambitions.' Andrew is now eagerly looking forward to testing himself against the best in upcoming Scratch Cups and Championships.

"My Titleist Mid West Alliance win recently gave me a good boost in confidence because I worked hard on my game over the winter months and it was nice to see the hard work paying off.

Testing myself against the top guys and finding out what it takes to improve without putting too much pressure on myself is what it's all about. As long as I can do that I'll be happy." Says Andrew modestly.

Mid West Alliance Gross Results: 1st: Andrew McCormack (Castletroy), 109-pts overall (54-holes); 2nd: Joe Lyons (Galway), 106-points; 3rd: Jason O’Leary (Dromoland Castle), 104-points; 4th: Aaron Moore (Adare Manor) 94-points.Category (4-9): Overall winner (all scores gross), Alan Neville (Dromoland Castle) 93-pts; 2nd: Killian Howard (Dromoland), 89-pts; 3rd: Damien O'Brien (Adare), 88-pts; 4th: Donncadh Nagle (Kilrush) 88-pts; 5th: Ryan Foley (Dromoland) 84-pts. 

 

Premier Irish Golf Tours Sponsored "Nearest to The Pin" -3rd Hole: Andrew McCormack; 7th hole: Ryan Foley; 13th hole: Andrew McCormack; 17th hole: Donncadh Nagle. Each won 12 ProV1s - quite a prize!