The 1st Irish Open, Portmarnock Golf Club 1927
Portmarnock Golf Club

The 1st Irish Open... 1927

The first Irish Open was played in August 1927 at Portmarnock Golf Club. There were 18 holes played on the first two days with the leading 60 players and ties playing a further 36 holes on the final day. In a good Irish puff of wind the local Golf Professional Willie Nolan was leading after day 1 shooting a course record of 72 shots. On day 2, Mr Nolan fell away after posting 81 shots and the famous Henry Cotton ended as leader shooting a total of 146 with Jack Smith 1 shot a drift. The cut that day was 165 and 60 players including 6 amateurs golfers qualified. On the final day of play, the weather conditions were very challenging, apparently the refreshment and press tents were blown down and the rain was pelting sideways. Once can only imagine how the guys played in those horrific weather conditions without the rain accessories we have today!

Jack Smith shot 77 and Henry Cotton taking posted 86 that morning. Mr Smith enjoyed an 8 shot lead over Mr Cotton and Mr Archie Compston going into the final round. The weather conditions proved to be too much for Mr Smith in the final round and he carded a 91. Henry Cotton was now ahead by 2 after shooting an 81.

However a Scots man from Aberdeenshire, George Duncan was 14 shots behind Smith starting his final round. Duncan scored an incredible 74 and to finish on a tournament total of 312, ahead of Smith by 3 and Cotton by 1. George Duncan's final round score of 74 was indeed astonishing and not that it was only two strokes over the new course record, Duncan’s 74 and Smith's 77 in the morning were the only two rounds under 80 on the final day. George Duncan was the 1st Irish Open Champion and first prize was a cheque of a £150. The leading Irishman was Willie Nolan finishing fifth.

George Duncan went on to play Ryder Cup that year in 1927, 1929, & 1931. In 1929 Duncan played and captained Great Britain & Ireland to victory.

Multiple winners if the Irish Open Golf Tournament:

Sevie, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomery and Bernard Langer all won the Irish Open 3 times each. To date, Harry Bradshaw is the only Irish player to have won the Irish Open twice whilst Padraig Harrington has won once and finished runner up on three other occasions.

A piece of historical trivia:
18th Hole at Tralee Golf Club

Tralee Golf Club

Captain Lionel Lloyd Hewson M.V.O. was Born in Bantry, Co. Cork on the 30 April 1874 and Died 4 May 1956 (82 years old)

During his lifetime as an Army Officer, he was also both the golf correspondent for the Irish times newspaper and a golf course designer. Captain Hewson would lay out the Tralee Golf Course at Oakpark (now the location of Tralee Race Course and golf course, google map link address ) . Apparently it was an unsettling time for golf during the Irish War of Independence. Soon after, in 1921, Major McKinnon of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary was shot dead whilst playing golf at Oakpark Golf Course. This was the only murder of someone playing golf during the entire War of Independence in Ireland and possibly the only murder of this type ever in Ireland.

Irish Golfers roll of honours: 

Year                   Player                     Golf Club

2016                       Rory Mcllroy                  The K Club, Kildare
2009                       Shane Lowry (a)            County Louth GC, Louth
2007                       Pádraig Harrington         Adare Resort, Limerick
1982                       John O'Leary                 Portmarnock GC, Dublin
1975                       Christy O'Connor Jnr      Woodbrook GC, Wicklow
1954-1974            No tournament played                 
1951-1952            No tournament played                 
1949                       Harry Bradshaw (2)        Belvoir Park GC, Antrim
1947                       Harry Bradshaw             Royal Portrush GC, Antrim
1946                       Fred Daly                      Portmarnock GC, Dublin
1940-1945            No tournament due to World War II                       

1927                       George Duncan (SCO)    Portmarnock, Dublin


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