Dennis Monaghan - Catalan contentment at Portal del Roc.
Ireland's Dennis Monaghan was on a high, immediately after his success at the Catalan Senior Open in Portal del Roc. "Delighted to get a win and also a little surprised as I felt I only had an outside chance going into the Sunday," Dennis told fippa.org.
As usual there were some the key factors in the victory. "I felt I played solidly over the weekend and avoided any disasters on a difficult course where you were punished when you missed greens," reflected Dennis on over his performance the testing Portal del Roc layout. "I kept going after the middle of the (final) round got away from me when I had back to back bogeys, and I finished strongly with birdies on three of my last six holes." Ever, the sporting competitor, Dennis gave due credit to a fellow senior. "Also, Amador winning the overall Championship was a big help, of course. That was a fantastic final round he played."
Dennis felt it was no hindrance that he wasn’t paired with the main protagonists in final round of the senior event. In fact, it helped. "That didn’t hurt my cause at all as I was able to play my own game. Often the final group gets into a Matchplay situation. I didn’t feel I was in contention until my last few holes when I heard that the leaders had not added to their overnight score."
Dennis was very close to a Senior win on foreign soil at Dagenham when he lost a play-off to Steve Deeble in the 2016 British Open. But Dennis feels no sense of being due a victory. "I don’t think you are ever owed anything in Pitch and Putt. Every competition is different and you just go out each time and give it your best."
In second place overnight, two strokes behind Amador Rodriguez with a round to go, in last year's World Seniors Strokeplay at Verin, Dennis faded to finish tenth. How much did he learn from that experience? "Even though I had a bad day on the Sunday in Verin, what I did take away from it was that I could still be competitive at this level. It gave me the incentive to play and practice a little more."
Co. Offaly native but long-time Dublin resident Dennis has travelled to the Catalan Open with the same group of friends for many years. That cohort were understandably delighted with his success."They were all very happy for me and cheered me on. Travelling with them has been the best part of playing in Catalonia over the years. Myself and William Buckley have played every Catalan Open since the first one in 2004 and others have joined us from Erry, Stackallen and Tullamore over the years. We have the best of 'craic' and banter over the week and we are always looking forward to the trip back the following year."
How do Dennis' latter day senior achievements compare with his earlier big successes in Ireland such as Dublin championships, Leinster Inter-County, National Inter-County and National Mixed Foursomes? "I think it’s hard to compare them as they are different in so many ways; but in saying that, winning those (Irish) championships was always an extra special feeling."
Dennis has been involved in international Pitch and Putt for two decades, dating back to the millennium Catalonia match at I.G.B. in which Jordi Saborit (with whom Dennis played in the final round at Portal del Roc) also participated. What is the Shandon club member's view on the international game today? "I think its important for Pitch and Putt in Ireland to be involved and to develop our ties and connections with the international game. It can only help Pitch and Putt in Ireland to bring the best influences from the international game to our game. Also, it's amazing I think that from when I started playing Pitch and Putt in Offaly over 40 years ago that one day I would be playing Pitch and Putt in London and Barcelona and who knows where to next."
What’s next for Dennis Monaghan in Pitch and Putt? And is he heading back to Dagenham in August? "First up is the National Matchplay qualifying in Portmarnock next week. That will be after playing Seapoint Scratch Cup at the weekend. Those are my two favourite courses in Ireland after Shandon. (I'm) definitely planning to play in Dagenham in the European Championships. I have put my name on the provisional list (hopefully I might get an automatic spot now!!)