This past week Richard Knightly won the Laytown and Bettystown Scratch Cup, which is the ideal way to kick-start the golfing season. Richard battled testing playing conditions to post rounds of 73 and 69 on the par 71 track, this left Richard in a tie for first place with former Walker Cup player, Caolan Rafferty. The first playoff hole was halved in par, with Richard getting up and down to save par while Caolan lipped out from long range for the birdie. The second playoff hole was parred in regulation by both players. The playoff was decided when Richard hit his approach to inside 10 feet after a wonderful drive, Caolan missed his birdie putt from just outside of Richard which meant that Richard was able to roll in his birdie putt for victory.
Richard spoke with Ronan MacNamara from the Irish Golfer Magazine afterwards:
“Played lovely out there, it was a tough morning, battled and chipped and putted well, hit some nice shots. Had a nice start to the afternoon was three-under for my front nine and kept it going, ended up bogeying the last from a tricky spot.
“The playoff was great, Caolan I thought he was going to win, his first birdie putt was in all day and it was a slow lip out then we were both near the green back down the first and I hit a nice chip in and then he left his putt in the jaws and I had a six-footer and I crawled it in.
“Great to get the win, it’s a nice confidence builder going forward.”
This was the perfect way for Richard to start his season but the day didn’t start so well. Richard arrived early to the event with the intention of warming up with a few shots before the round. He took his 7 iron out of the bag but inadvertently locked his keys in his car. The lack of golf clubs was not the only issue facing Richard as he also needed his car, as the event was a shotgun start he had to drive out to 14th hole. That left him no option to rent clubs and wait for the AA so he decided to smash the back window! Not the most orthodox way to warm up before your round, taking a 7 iron to the window but perhaps you’ll see a few members taking a swipe at their window before the Medal this Saturday!
Richard stands beside his car with the trophy and the smashed window!
Richard will take great confidence in the victory and will hope to continue his good form in the West of Ireland Championship that takes place in Co. Sligo Golf Club over the Easter Weekend.
Richard is not the only elite player in form at the moment. Max Kennedy has continued his good form in the US, building on his second-place finish in the South American Amateur Championship. Max came fourth in the General Hackler Championship, as he represented his Louisville team. Opening rounds of 69 and 66 had the Max right in the mix heading into the final round but a final round of level-par 72 saw max finish four shots behind joint winners Mats Age and Ben James on nine-under-par. That is the fourth top-ten finish for Max this year, which includes the aforementioned runner-up spot in South America followed by further top-ten finishes in the Sea Best Invitational (5th) and Prestige (9th) tournaments.