The prospect of forthcoming cold weather and wet underfoot conditions has done little to dissuade players from playing competitive winter golf and over 200 took to the fairways as yet another Winter League got underway last week at Lurgan.
The Winter League committee have devised an innovative team event to run in parallel with individual prizes and this will no doubt lead to some ‘friendly’ rivalry and earnest effort over the coming months.
Top of the pile this week was the very competitive and competent Norman Sands with 35 pts off a winter handicap of 14.
A birdie at 8 and double bogey at 14 represented the high and low of an almost flawless round of golf which enabled him to kick off his winter campaign in quite stunning fashion.
Second place overall went to Tom Lamb who also had 35pts, off 22, but just missed out on the back 9. His three double bogeys over the last four holes cost him the top prize, but there is little doubt he will be back to grace the prizes often in the winter conditions he has grown to relish.
Also on 35pts, off 8, was William McMillan who is rarely far from contention. His birdies at 1, 2 and 12 helped him to a round of just 1 over par and although he was 3 under handicap for the back 9 it was still not enough to beat the other two on a similar total.
He will be happy with his start and glad that his score was sufficient to win Division 1 by 2 clear pts.
Stephen Loughran, 8, Timmy Cummins, 5, and Martin McNeice, 8, each had 33pts with Stephen claiming the Division’s runner-up spot on the back 9 which he played in 1 under par.
Aidan Thornbury and Laurence Mitchell, both 9, had 34pts apiece to battle it out for the Division 2 prizes with Aidan’s back 9 of 1 over par giving him the edge.
Stephen Hewitt, 12, John Mulligan, 11, Eugene Maguire, 11, and Conor McEvoy, 10, were snapping at the prizewinners’ heels with 33pts.
Division 3 saw another titanic battle between two of the club’s most experienced players on 33pts with the indefatigable Brian Bassett, 14, pipping ‘he who just cannot be kept out of the prizes these days’, David O’Neill, 17.
Brian ran off no fewer than 8 pars on his 14 holes, figures he has become used to over a long career in golf.
David will be a little disappointed with a costly NR at 15. Derek Johnston, 16, Tiago Souto, 16, and Gavin Harbinson, 15, came close with 32pts each.
Week three of the ladies winter competitions saw the return of the rocker launchers.
Section one winner was Susan McMorrow with 19 pts just beating Dee Farrell on the count back.
Susan played at the height of the windy conditions on Sunday and her 19 pts was a very credible score.
Section two went to Breda Hardy with 19 pts just beating Catherine Jinks on the count back. Section three went to Gina Lewis with the best score of the week 22 pts.
Gina’s playing great golf at the minute and is certainly adding greatly to her team’s score.
The novice competition was won by Ann Jordan.
In the team competition coming top of the pile this week was team Poulter with great scores from Dee Farrell, Susan McMorrow and Ursula Dummigan.
Second place went to Rory’s Ravers ably led by their leading scorer this week Sheila Horner. Dubuisson’s Darlins’ continue to lead the way but the other teams are definitely closing the gap so there’s everything to play for.
N’S-1, T Rae and E O’Neill; 2, K Hill and N McAulley; 3, B Welsh and B McKavanagh;
‘E/W-1, D Stevenson and R Davidson, 2, A Lamb and B McGrane and A White and C Logan.