On his 57th attempt, Oliver O’Farrell, who celebrates his 87th birthday on July 9, won Jim McMahon’s Captain’s Prize last Saturday.
Playing of a handicap of 32, ‘Ollie’, who was Club President in 1991 now plays in a buggy, having had two hips and one knee replaced.
Having shot 38 in the qualifier and another 38 on the final day, and playing in the second last three-ball, Oliver’s 76 was hailed the winning score once the day’s action was complete.
O’Farrell and and his wife Bunny received congratulations all round but, as he was enjoying his whiskey, rumblings of a possible play off began to emerge.
It turned out that one of his partners, David Smith, an intermediate member, playing off 12, who finished on 75, had incorrectly cut himself one shot from the qualifying day.
Smith, at 21 years of age, is approximately one quarter of Ollie’s age and the pair set out to battle over the three-hole playoff where Oliver had a five-shot advantage.
O’Farrell played a miraculous shot onto the green at the first playoff hole from behind a tree to go one point up and then sank a very difficult 15 foot putt on the second playoff hole to go three points up.
Smith needed a birdie at the difficult par five finishing hole (ninth yellow) and the youngster hit an enormous drive. Both then found the trees.
Smith made the green in three and had a birdie chance which he narrowly missed. O’Farrell was left in a “have two take two” situation and he duly lagged up for victory in front of a packed clubhouse balcony
Euphoria abounded in Malahide during the week with the Indian cricketers hitting sixes at will, but the reaction from the club house balcony following O’Farrell’s win, surpassed all the excitement at the cricket club.
An accomplished mariner, he hails from Clifden and spent many years in New York before settling down in Malahide in the 1960s where he and his wife Bunny have given long service to Malahide Golf Club.
Captain Jim McMahon, in his congratulatory speech, said that judging by the reaction from the membership that this was, without doubt, the most popular ever Captain’s Prize winner and proved the point that allowing some club members play off 32 made them competitive again.
Malahide Golf Club Captains have a caricature portrait completed to mark their term of office and many of these now hang on the walls of the snooker room in the club.
An image is printed on the final day scorecard. Captain McMahon’s late father Pat was captain in 1999 the same year Ollie’s wife Bunny was lady captain.