Maurice takes top spot by a point

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There were enough signs of spring about at Lurgan on Saturday to lift the spirits of winter-weather beaten golfers and fill their heads with thoughts of the fast approaching season.

Some winter specialists are not going to let those weeks go by without adding to their already considerable cold weather conquests and Maurice Turnbull, 18, and Hugh O’Reilly, 15, were two very familiar characters battling for supremacy.

Each returned 38 points but Maurice edged into the top spot by virtue of 19 against 18 on the back 9.

Having been edged out in somewhat controversial circumstances in last Saturday’s indoor chipping competition, Hugh will be wondering if he will ever win again, but there is very little doubt that he will.

Olcan Kearney must also have been feeling like Hugh recently as he has produced a series of impressive scores without reward. He toured the course in 4 under par to lift the gross prize thanks to six birdies, three of which came over the last three holes.

Alex Denver has been having a quiet spell by his own high standards but the signs of spring have obviously stirred something within and sparked a sudden and very welcome revival.

Five birdies were matched with an eagle at 10 for 37 points off 5 to lift section 1 and sound a warning as to his intent this coming year.

Timmy Cummins continued on his merry sub par ways to take second place with 35 points off 5, his three birdies bringing his tally to 19 birdies and an eagle over the last four weeks. Conall Coleman and Alan Hamilton, both 5, just missed out on the back 9.

Having finished runner-up in section 2 last week, Stephen Hewitt went one better when he lifted the section with 37 points off 12. Three over after six holes, he covered the rest of the course in level par and will no doubt be full of thoughts of where further improvement might lead to.

Second spot went to Dairmuid Mitchell whose 36 points, off 9, were just enough to beat off the challenge of three other players on a similar score. His 19 points coming home edged out the back 9s of Barrai McConville with 18 points, and Patrick Meehan and Gavin Smyth with 17 points each.

High scores were common too in section 3 where Walter Simpson, Tony Gordon and Bill Leslie scored 111 between them, just over half the total of their ages. Each had 37 points with first place going to Tony Gordon off 17. Although a double bogey at 15 threatened disaster, he showed all of his famous steadfastness to hold on.

Bill Leslie began with a birdie but a double bogey at 7 produced a setback from which he was unable to fully recover, eventually taking the runners up spot. Walter Simpson was edged out due to the league handicapping system but what a magical spell this seasoned golfer is enjoying.

His last four outings have resulted in section 3 winner, overall winner, section 3 winner and handicapped out of top spot.

The bridge results are as follows:

N/S-1, G Turkington and E O’Neill; 2, S McGeown and M Baxter.

E/W-1, B McKavanagh and A Lamb; 2, F Storey and U Crossey.