2016 Matchplay Championship Report
On Wednesday 2nd March, Ulster University Golfers set off towards Woodbrook Golf Club in Bray, Dublin.
Both teams had a quarter final to play on the Thursday which could potentially have set up a semi-final match against each other.
Ulster B were out first against a strong Maynooth B which was sure to be a very tough match. The format of the matches was one foursomes match followed by two singles therefore there were three points up for grabs overall. Henry Clark played alongside Tori Alexander in the foursomes, Ali McQuillan was the first singles match followed by Stefan Greenberg. Maynooth took the foursomes game which left it all on the singles. Stefan Greenberg wrapped his game up on the 12th hole with a 7&6 victory which left it all down to Ali McQuillan who was 1 up coming up the 18th. Ali made par which was enough to win his match 1 up. This meant Ulster won their quarter final 2-1 which was a major scalp by knocking out one of the hot favourites.
Ulster were out shortly after, also playing against a very strong Maynooth team who were boosted by players such as Eugene Smith and Alan Lowry who were hot off a very successful 2015 season. Ryan Gribben and James Lindsay were out first in the foursomes match, coming from 2 down to win their match 2&1. Ross Dutton went out first of the two singles matches against Eugene Smith and Eugene led 1 up for basically the whole game. After holing a clutch putt for birdie on 16 to stay 1 down, it was onto the 17th. Eugene hit to roughly 10 feet which was a very strong position to be in with one hole left. A dramatic HOLE IN ONE from Ross Dutton brought the match back to all square and after 2 pars on the 18th, it was off to sudden death tie holes. Meanwhile after being 4 down through 10 holes, Neil McKinstry won the 18th hole to also be stood on the first tee for sudden death tie holes against Alan Lowry. The first was halved with birdies in both games and match number 1 halved the 2nd hole in pars. Neil McKinstry made a routine par on his 20th hole to win the match 2-1 for Ulster. Another great victory meaning that both Ulster teams had knocked out both the Maynooth teams and would meet in the semi final on the Friday morning.
Friday morning brought high winds and sleety rain all morning. Ryan Gribben and James Lindsay had a good win over Tori Alexander and Henry Clark which put Ulster A 1 up. When Ross Dutton ended his match with a 3&2 victory over Ali McQuillan, Ulster were through to the final on the Friday afternoon. In the final match, Neil McKinstry was 1 up on Stefan Greenberg with 3 to play.
Again the weather was dreadful for the final where Ulster came up against a very strong UCC team. Ross Dutton was the first to win his match 2&1 with the other two games hanging finely in the balance. Neil McKinstry was narrowly beaten on 17 which left the fate of the final on the shoulders of Ryan and James. They won the 18th hole to force their match up sudden death tie holes meaning that each of our players had all endured the pressure of tie holes at some stage throughout the week. A par was good enough for the victory and Ulster University were champions of the Intervarsity Matchplay for the third time in four years. A massive achievement for all involved.