Bernie takes Captain’s Day honours after busy weekend on fairways

Captains Day 2016 winner Bernie Mulligan collects his prize from Captain Martin McCooe and  his wife Patricia.
Captains Day 2016 winner Bernie Mulligan collects his prize from Captain Martin McCooe and his wife Patricia.

Having come close to winning each of the two previous Captains’ Days at Lurgan, Martin McCooe took a break from competition this year as he played host to over 300 golfers and their guests over two very busy fun-filled days.

Captain’s Day has now evolved into Captain’s Weekend as the first players teed off around lunchtime on Friday and the last mid-afternoon on Saturday.

The organisation of a large number of diverse sporting and social activities required considerable time and effort and everyone who enjoyed the occasion will want to thank Martin and all those who helped him for a very successful weekend.

Some of those who played on Friday had to endure very heavy rain and it is perhaps surprising that the eventual winner and runner-up came from that group.

Bernie Mulligan played the first three holes in torrential rain which might help explain his NR at the 3rd, but five pars over the next six holes to the turn got him back on track with 21 points at the halfway mark.

He might have got an idea it would be his day when he played the 9th. His best drive of the day left him down the middle and with a lob wedge to the green.

Unfortunately he pulled his shot left and it finished tight against the fence from where he attempted to play a ‘chop’ shot with the lob wedge. The ball squirted over the green finishing 20 yards through, but he then played the lob wedge again and holed out for par. Not too many will have parred that hole with a drive and three very different lob wedges.

Bernie is one of the oldest winners of a Captain’s Day at the club and he confidently asserted his desire to complete back to back victories next year.

The runner-up was Chris Donald with 41 points off 14. Birdies at 8 and 9 left him 1 over par at the turn with 24 points on his card, but he then hit the bogey trail and dropped eight shots coming home.

There is probably no-one in the club with more hard luck stories to tell about various Captains’ Days than Andrew Cummins, so often has he come close to the ‘big one’.

He figured yet again this year when he took third place with 40 points off 4. A level par round had bogeys at 6 and 9 balanced by birdies at 10 and 13.

Nathan McCann returned the best score of the weekend during some of the worst weather and he took the gross prize after touring the course in just 67 shots for 39 gross points. He had birdies at 1, 4, 5, 8, 15 and 18, a bogey at 10 and double bogey at 13. His handicap is now down to 1.6 and it seems like the sky is the limit for this very talented young player.

The low section went to Garfield Bell with 39 points off 9, having the best back 9 of four players on a similar mark. The other three players were Ronan McCrory, 6, Warren McCleary, 12, and Alex Denver, 5.

Ronan picked up the prize for the Intermediate section of the club, but he will be most pleased that the score reduced his handicap to 5.2 which makes him a Category 1 golfer at a very young age. Warren also had some consolation when he picked up the prize for Council members.

The middle section went to Seamus McKeown with 37 points off 15, and the high section to Christopher Whyte with 37 points off 21, his 20 homeward pts enabling him to hold off the challenge of four other players on the same score.

The prize for Past Captains went to Peter Devlin with 38 points off 6, while the longest drive award went to Peter Kennedy and ‘nearest the Captain’s drive’ to Terence Eagers.

This year has been notable for the absence of holes in one, but if you were going to get the first of the season in the club you could do no better than on the biggest day of the year. Darragh McCann laughed at the very tricky pin position as he holed out from the tee at the 17th.