Lyons makes major leap in Bridgestone race

​Caolan Rafferty stays top on Bridgestone Order of Merit but Joe Lyons goes second after Munster Stroke Play victory​

  • 10 May 2019

​Picture: Munster Stroke Play Champion Joe Lyons | Golffile​


Galway's Joe Lyons made a welcome return to the winners enclosure at the Munster Stroke Play Championship on Sunday and catapulted into contention on the Bridgestone Order of Merit.
Lyons, 47, edged out Waterford's Eanna Griffin in a playoff to win his second GUI championship, 12 years after his major breakthrough at the West of Ireland. This title comes with valuable points for the Bridgestone Order of Merit and puts him in the frame for a return to the Ireland team.
Current West of Ireland champion Caolan Rafferty remains top on the Bridgestone Order of Merit but Lyons is now second and Griffin third. The top three players at the end of the season earn automatic selection for the Home Internationals.
The Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Co Sligo (16-19 May) is the next event of the season and there is likely to be further change to the table with Rafferty, Lyons and Griffin absent from the field. That leaves the door open for Portmarnock's Conor Purcell to get back into the top three. Purcell is the highest ranked player for the Flogas Irish Amateur Open and finished tied second behind Rafferty in the West of Ireland, also played at Co Sligo, last month.
Jack McDonnell (Forrest Little) will also improve his position if he maintains his impressive early season form. McDonnell finished fourth at the West of Ireland and picked up further Order of Merit points at the Munster Stroke Play. Keith Egan (Carton House) is well placed after his third place finish at the Munster Stroke Play.
Co Sligo's Sean Flanagan, currently ninth in the table, can use his extensive course knowledge to good effect at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open. Last year's West of Ireland winner, Robert Brazill (Naas), is 10th in the table has every chance of making ground too. 

Following the Fairhaven Trophy, the top two remain the same on the Bridgestone Boys Order of Merit but Joshua McCabe has moved into third place. McCabe finished fifth at Fairhaven to move ahead of Connemara's Luke O'Neill. Holywood's Tom McKibbin, tied sixth at the Lytham Trophy on Sunday, continues to lead the way and Lisburn's Aaron Marshall is second.
Next up on the Bridgestone Boys Order of Merit is the German Boys Open (30 May - 1 June) at St Leon Rot.

1 C Rafferty (Dundalk) 250
2 J Lyons (Galway) 180
3 E Griffin (Waterford) 140
4 J McDonnell (Forrest Little) 137
5 K Egan (Carton House) 134
6 C Purcell (Portmarnock) 130
7 J Fox (Portmarnock) 116
8 A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 108
9 S Flanagan (Co Sligo) 98
10 R Brazill (Naas) 90
1 T McKibbin (Holywood) 110
2 A Marshall (Lisburn) 75
3 J McCabe (Roganstown) 73
4 L O'Neill (Connemara) 70
5 M Kennedy (Royal Dublin) 45
6 D Keating (Seapoint) 35
7 R Galligan (Elm Park) 20
8 J Byrne (Baltinglass) 15
T9 J Black (Lisburn), S Doyle (Black Bush) 14