Limerick woman Maeve Danaher and professional partner Michael Hoey who won the Dunhill Links Team Championship Picture: Alfred Dunhill Links Twitter
LIMERICK woman Maeve Danaher became the first female player to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Team Championship at St Andrews on Sunday.
Danaher teamed up alongside Alfred Dunhill Links winner from 2011 Michael Hoey, from Northern Ireland, to claim a prestigious success.
Danaher, a left-hander who putts right-handed, has a 22 handicap and plays most of her golf at Adare Manor, the host course for the 2027 Ryder Cup.
It also continued a remarkable family run of success in this event, with Gerry McManus' brother JP McManus a two-time team competition winner in 2002 and 2006 and JP’s son, Kieran McManus, the holder of a record three team titles in 2009, 2014 and 2017.
Limerick man Gerry McManus and his fellow Irishman Lowry finished in equal fifth place with a four-round team score of 32-under-par.
Maeve Danaher said: “Gerry and I had a little bet on the first day to see who could get the best score, so I’ve won that! And that’s really pleasing!
“But it is absolutely amazing to win this competition, in such an exciting finish, and I am especially happy for Michael. He is an absolute rock, he’s fantastic. I wish he could have won the individual event too, but hopefully he’ll get an individual win again soon.”
Danaher and Hoey carded a final 12-under-par round of 60 at the Old Course, claiming a clubhouse lead that looked like being overtaken by at least three other pairings before – by a whisker – they were confirmed as victors in the very last action of the tournament.
First, former Australian cricketer Shane Warne and his New Zealand professional partner Ryan Fox equaled the Danaher-Hoey mark of 36 under par – but still behind the Irish pair on countback.
Then, after Brad Simpson and Ewen Ferguson’s challenge fell away, individual winner Danny Willett and his amateur partner, American businessman Jimmy Dunne, both saw birdie putts on St Andrews’ iconic 18th green slip agonisingly wide.
If either of those had gone in, they too would have reached 36-under – but would have triumphed due to Willett’s individual score of 18-under-par.
Hoey, 42, now ranked a lowly 546th in the world and playing most of his golf on the Challenge Tour, won 50,000 US dollars for the team win, plus another 49,000 US dollars for finishing 24th in the individual tournament, and said: “I knew there was a bit of money on my last putt on the 18th, but I was trying not to think about that.
“It was probably four feet, but the wind was picking up and if you don't strike it solid, it can easily go off line. I'm glad I made a good stroke, but it was more about the team as well. I didn’t want to let Maeve down on that final hole because I knew we had a chance to win it.”
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