THE first half of the Winter League at Lurgan was culminated without any hiccups last Saturday.
This traditional Big Day Out competition had a very positive response from 183 golfers. Of that number 80 posted under par scores over the week long duration of the event.
There were some phenomenal scores in all three handicap groupings.
The overall winner on the day was auto trader Nigel Girvan. He was playing the course in overdrive and cruised to a mammoth 38 points for the regulation fourteen holes. The 21 handicapper had only pars or bogeys on his winning card. Par figures at holes one, five and eight provided the early fillip. He started the back seven with a par, bogey, bogey sequence. After that excess it was pars all the way home. Not surprisingly this decisive play put him ahead of the posse.
In the Low section 19 golfers registered under par scores in the competition. Leading the way was Conal Coleman with his total of 33 points. This five handicapper required some impressive scoring to prevail. On front seven he had six pars and a bogey on the fifth. On the closing seven he had five pars and a pair of birdies on his card. Holes ten and eighteen yielded the vital birdies.
Runner-up was Gary McNally with a clinical 32 points. Gary had a variety of scores on the outward seven ranging from a birdie on the first to a bogey on the sixth. Five pars made up the rest of the scoring. Birdies at holes ten, twelve and eighteen along with four pars constituted the inward seven. This strong finish edged him into second spot.
Gregory Crawford’s total of 32 points earned him third place. He birdied holes eight and eighteen but fell foul of bogeys on holes two, five and fourteen. Pars on the rest of the holes decreed his fate. Jim McKee claimed the final net prize with the best effort of 31 points. On the front seven pars at holes two, five, six and nine gave this six handicapper some encouragement. He played the back seven in one under par. It comprised an eagle three at the last, a birdie on the tenth and bogeys on holes eleven and fourteen. Again a strong back seven proved decisive.
For the fourth week in succession David Sutton took the gross prize. This plus two handicapper’s sole bogey came at the eighth. However birdies on holes five, twelve, fifteen and eighteen raised the stakes. With pars on the rest of the holes his 31 gross points gave him victory.
The other noted scores came from the following:
31 pts: Olcan Kearney, Niall Hoy, Peter Devlin, Martin McEvoy, Nathan McCann; 30 pts: Canice McGivern, Brian Hanratty, Paul Lyness; 29 pts: Timmy Cummins, Paul Dickson, Ian Cousins, Caolan McCann, Shane Magee, Sean Toman.
In the Middle section a hefty 33 golfers registered under par scores in the event. The winner was fourteen handicapper Paul McKernan. Playing on Wednesday Paul scooped 35 points to win the midweek sweep and then thanks to a better back seven took premier honours in this category in the Saturday competition. Thus John McCaffrey’s tally of 35 points netted him second place. The ten handicapper was through seven holes in fine fettle with seven pars. A birdie on the tenth put him in a strong position. Alas bogeys came his way on the next three holes. He closed off his round with two pars and a birdie on the last.
An effort of 34 points saw Alan Woods claim third position. This fourteen handicapper played solidly on both sevens. A birdie on the ninth and pars at holes one, three, five and eight set the tone for the round. More pars came his way on holes twelve and fifteen. He completed his day with a birdie on the last. Gavin Smyth nailed fourth spot with a tally of 33 points. This fifteen handicapper had a steady opening seven where pars at holes two, five and eight stood out. His back seven comprised six pars to accompany a bogey on the fourteenth. The other interesting scores were attained by the following:
32 pts: Louis Moore, John Wells, Jim Kennedy, John Healy, Ian Harrison, Billy Hughes, David Herron; 31 pts: Paul Lavery, John Forrester, Robert Lindsey, Keith Davenport, Henry McAreavey; 30 pts: Andrew Carville, Winston Hutchison, Michael McMahon, Diarmuid Mitchell, Seamus Cushley, Brian Clarke, Anthony Gallery; 29 pts: Gary Lyons, Kenny Hanna, Kieran Patterson, Steven Kane, Dwaine Hanna, Tom Creaney, Terry Eagers, Timmy Jenks, Laurence Mitchell.
In the High category a resourceful 28 golfers produced under par returns. Pride of place went to Francie McKenna with a well-fashioned winning total of 36 points. This 21 handicapper was the essence of consistency with just pars or net pars on his card. He began his round with a pair of pairs and never looked back.
A quintet of pars at holes ten, eleven, twelve, seventeen and eighteen confirmed his superior position. The other three prizes went to golfers with scores of 35 points. A strong back seven helped Sean McEvoy to nab second spot. On the day this 24 handicapper registered crucial pars at holes eight, ten, eleven, twelve, seventeen and eighteen to land the award.
Jonathan Lawless was third with a similar haul of 35 points. Par figures at holes five, nine, eleven and fourteen were the main highlights of his winning effort. The last net prize went to the tournament big chief Terry McCrory with another tally of 35 points. This nineteen handicapper was well to the fore through seven with pars at holes one, two, three and six. On the closing seven he performed a similar feat with pars at holes ten, eleven, twelve and seventeen to earn the kudos. The other challenging scores were achieved by the following: 36 pts: Gareth Murphy, Derek Johnston; 33 pts: Gopal Santokhi, Dan Moore, Barry Creaney, Graham McNeill; 32 pts: Terry King, Stephen Cordner, Gerard Marner, Paul P Magee; 31 pts: Eric Allen, Colin Darling, Gareth Smyth, Jim McCann Snr; 30 pts: Mervyn Elwood, Kieran McCorry, Neal Carson; 29 pts: Conor McEvoy, Aidan Courtney, Wilf Elliott, Ronnie Bruce, Martin King, Jerome Haughey.
The top fifteen golfers in each handicap section had their own personal duel last Saturday in the novel Fed-ex competition. In the end of finale shoot out it was a triumph for the high handicap grouping as they topped the leader board. Francie McKenna’s high octane 37 points made him the champion.
Here is how the top trio scored on this final day: 1st Francie McKenna 37 pts; 2nd Gareth Murphy 36 pts (Last 6); 3rd: Derek Johnston 36 pts.