Last Saturday’s heavy early morning rain decimated the golfing field in the Baird Cup leaving a few hardy souls to confront the difficult and hostile conditions at Lurgan.
Canice McGivern has been playing impressively of late and since the summer competitions began his 11 rounds of golf have yielded an average of 36 points, ranging from 32 to 39. It seemed a really big score was inevitable and his 44 points off 8 on Saturday duly delivered and won the Baird Cup for him.
A birdie at the 3rd and bogey at the 9th saw him complete his first ever level par round and the way he is playing no-one would be surprised if he were to better that in the near future.
Well done Canice on a great round in very challenging conditions.
James Hanratty Jnr’s recent returns may not have suggested that a good score was on the way but you can never rule natural talent out and it was no great surprise to see him claim second place with 43 points off 17. Just 6 over par after 14 holes he seemed assured of victory, but he failed to score at the very next hole and had to be content with the runners-up spot.
Having won the March Medal a few weeks ago, David Elmore made a bold attempt to lift his second trophy in just four weeks but finished up in third place with 42 points off 9. His last three rounds have brought him 38-39-42pts, so it would seem likely we will be reading more about him in the weeks to come. Three birdies on the way home, at the 10th, 14th and 17th, were sufficient for him to claim his prize thanks to a better back 9.
Just edged into fourth place was the consistent Stephen Loughran playing off 10. His only birdie of the day came at the 4th, but he will no doubt be able to recall the putts which didn’t drop and which ultimately denied him greater reward.
Many older members of the club were left with a feeling of nostalgia when Roy Hanna Jnr won the gross to evoke memories of many moons ago. He toured the course in just 69 shots for his first sub-par round in quite a while.
Bogeys at the 1st, 11th and 13th were countered by birdies at the 5th and 12th to leave him 1 over par on the 17th tee.
This week’s birdie-birdie finish contrasted sharply with last week’s NR-NR and he will no doubt be thinking of regaining that long-lost Senior Cup place.
Paul McConaghy scored 41 points off 10 to claim the low section, a birdie at the 4th being the highlight of his round. He could afford no slips as he just edged out Conor Wilson and Michael McSherry, each of whom were just a point behind.
The middle section was taken by Henry McAreavey with 41 points off 14. He can thank a very steady back 9 for his win as he required this to fend off Stephen Cordner on a similar total. Stephen also played very consistently but his failure to score at the 16th was to prove costly. Gerard Marner continued with his good form just missing out with 40 points, his last three scores of 37-41-40 making impressive, and surprising, reading.
Kieran McCorry looks like making the high section his own this year as his 41 points gave him victory for the second week in a row. He had to be at his very best with the extremely experienced and capable trio of Hugh O’Reilly, Barry Mulholland and Wilf Elliott following close behind.
Martin McCooe had 22 points on his back 9 the previous week and approached this competition with considerable, but ultimately unwarranted, optimism.
A pretty disastrous first 12 holes left him with not many more points and in an effort at improvement he resorted to the currently popular tactic of setting himself targets. A possibly ambitious target of 15 points over the closing 6 holes was left in tatters with 2 NRs.