Kevin O’Neill is student greenkeeper of the year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 18, 2014 11:18 Updated

Kevin O’Neill has been named Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2014.

The 26th Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award presentation at BIGGA House

Proud Kevin, deputy head greenkeeper at Muswell Hill Golf Club in North London, pipped runners-up Tom Freeman from Kingsdown Golf Club and Wesley Lenihan from Ealing Golf Club.

The other three finalists who narrowly missed out on the top three were Aaron Bowen from Ipswich Golf Club (Purdis Heath), Andy Foulds from Wimbledon Park Golf Club and Daire Higgins from St Andrews Links.

Kevin will head to America next year for a six-week study course at the University of Massachusetts and will also visit the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio all courtesy of Toro. He will also get the chance to explore Toro’s Californian base. This year’s final had a celebratory air as a special event was held to mark 25 years of the competition.

The Rochdale-born greenkeeper, who attends Oaklands College, said: “I’m very proud, I put a lot of work into this!

“The final was an amazing experience. I don’t think there was much between the six of us.

“When you look at the names of the previous winners and the careers they’ve gone on to have it’s brought home to me how important this competition is, it’s the highlight of my career so far. I can’t wait to head to America.”

Kevin began his greenkeeping career at Gleneagles before spells as a groundsman at Charlton Athletic and Barnet football clubs. He joined Muswell Hill in 2008.

Matt Plested, course manager at Muswell Hill, said: “Kevin’s the best greenkeeper I’ve ever worked with, he’s so dedicated and professional.

“I’m so pleased that he will now get the opportunity to study in America because he deserves it.

“When he called me to tell me he’d won I felt like a proud parent on X Factor!”

Tom and Wesley will attend Continue to Learn at BTME 2015 courtesy of Toro, all finalists will be given free BIGGA membership for a year and they have also all been awarded a place on the Turf Managers’ Conference at BTME 2015.

The procedure for the final was refreshed this year to include a discussion panel, a multiple choice test, an essay question and a presentation by the candidates prior to interview.

The discussion panel was chaired by Les Howkins MG, course manager at The Richmond Golf Club and BIGGA vice chairman.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 18, 2014 11:18 Updated

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