The Harvest Tankard competition held at Lurgan on Saturday provided the season’s last opportunity for silverware and it turned out to be a very close battle for the prizes on offer.
A trio of players scored 40 points each and presented the handicap committee with a count-back problem to sort out the placings.
The in-form Barry Creaney took top prize thanks mainly to a run of four pars around the turn. Barry has been on a great run of late and has equalled or bettered par in each of his last four competitions. No doubt he will be seeking to continue this form into the winter months.
John Forrester has watched his handicap rise relentlessly over the summer and he will be pleased with its sudden very welcome plunge brought about by his 40pts and second place on Saturday. NR’s have been frequent visitors to his cards over the summer, but they were notable absentees on this occasion and he once more returned to the podium, a position he was once well accustomed to.
Third place went to the very consistent Raymond McCrory. Having played himself into a winning position after 12 holes, double bogeys at 13 and 14 were the last things he wanted, but three closing pars underlined his noted ability and strength of mind.
Having taken second place overall last week, Shane Magee once more popped up among the prizes when he took the gross with 35 gross pts. Birdies at 9 and 10 and bogeys at 6, 12 and 13 provided further reward for this never-say-die golfer.
Laurence Mitchell took the low section with 39pts, just edging out Ciaran Seeley and Morris Lyness on the back 9. Richard Budd, Billy Bateman and William McMillan each came close with 37pts.
Billy Leslie played with the competition winner Barry Creaney and after 16 holes they were neck and neck. In contrast to Barry’s pair of closing nett pars, Billy’s pair of double bogeys meant he had to be content with 38pts and the consolation of the middle section. Stephen Lennon, with a 6 at the 11th, and Nigel McKerr, with double bogeys at 15 and 16, each finished just out of luck with 37pts.
Richard Dawson proved the benefits of a week relaxing on The Algarve when he lifted the high section with 37pts, and but for a pair of double bogeys on each 9 he might well have been planning similar preparations for his assaults on next year’s majors. Stephen Cordner’s performances of late have left him expecting to finish in the prizes each week, and he came so close again with 37pts. He will be disappointed that he dropped 6 shots over the last 4 holes.
Well done to Colin Thompson who recorded the day’s only eagle after holing his second shot to the par 4 13th.