Ballinamult’s Seamus Power will take his place among the golfing greats at the Masters in Augusta
The Masters, the first of golf’s four annual majors, tees off at Augusta, Georgia tomorrow (Thursday) and what is arguably the most famous golf tournament of the year will, for the first time ever, have a real local interest this time around.
Ballinamult golfer Seamus Power, a member of the West Waterford club in Dungarvan, will become only the 16th Irishman - and the second Munster man ever (after amateur James Sugrue of Mallow) - to tackle the acclaimed and postcard-perfect course, taking his place amongst the very best golfers vying for a share of the $11,500,000 prize fund.
The winner will take home a cheque of just over $2 million, and the coveted green jacket also.
Son of Ned and Philo Power from Doon, Ballinamult, it seems that the 35-year-old Seamus has become somewhat of an overnight success, such has been his magnificent climb up the world rankings over the past two years or so.
That hasn’t been the case however, as his seemingly overnight success has come after a long and steady climb from West Waterford through the amateur scene, through college in the US and through the lesser professional tours to his current world ranking of number 41.
The youngest of three boys, Seamus played GAA with brothers Jack and Willie for Naomh Bríd, and was also a very accomplished racquetball player, winning seven individual Irish titles along the way. All three Power boys also represented their club and county in handball at the Féile na nGael finals.
While sport was always a part of Seamus Power’s young life, at 13 years of age he turned his attention to golf and the rest, as they say, is history.
From humble beginnings in helping the Friary College in Dungarvan to win the All-Ireland Secondary School Golf Championship, Seamus has been steadily developing over the past 20 years to get to where he is today.
His early promise saw him selected to represent Ireland in amateur golf from 2003 and he was picked several times to represent his country at senior level in the Home Internationals and European Championships.
In 2005 at the age of 15, Seamus won the Irish Youths Open Championship at Portumna. He won it again at his home club West Waterford in 2007 and repeated the success in 2008 at Lisburn.
He shares the record of three wins with former professional John McHenry.
In 2006, now recognised as an outstanding talent, Seamus was offered a scholarship to East Tennessee University. Following a stellar collegiate career with numerous individual wins, he graduated with an honours degree in accounting. On graduating he immediately turned professional in 2010.
And pretty much throughout the “teens decade” Seamus has been competing, steadily developing year on year. During that time he won four times on the eGolf Tour and then joined the Web.com Tour in 2014, becoming the first Irish golfer to enjoy a victory on that tour when winning the 2016 United Leasing and Finance Championship.
Above: Seamus has been steadily developing over the past 20 years to get to where he is today
Also in 2016, when others weren’t as forthcoming because of the Zika virus at the time, Seamus represented Ireland at the Rio Olympics alongside Padraig Harrington and finished a very creditable 15th in the individual competition.
After seven years competing in the so-called lesser tours, Seamus qualified to play on the PGA Tour in 2017 and over the last two years in particular has really shot up the world rankings, with many top ten finishes at big tournaments.
Last year he joined a very select band of just six Irishmen to win on the US PGA Tour when he won the Barbasol Championship.
It was an incredible moment in time for Seamus, his family and all back in the golf-mad Dungarvan which boasts three golf courses, West Waterford, Gold Coast and Dungarvan.
So as he proudly takes the applause on the first tee box on Thursday to begin his journey along the magnolias, dogwoods and azaleas and the “real deal” Amen Corner at 11th, 12th and 13th, we all join in wishing him every success on his already magnificent achievement in making it this far.
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