Stephen secures first outright win

Stephen Hewitt
Stephen Hewitt
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Saturday’s competition Scratch Score at Lurgan was set at 69, one shot lower than usual and suggested that either most golfers were playing better than usual or the course was playing a little easier than usual.

Stephen Hewitt doesn’t appear to have encountered too many difficulties as he strode towards 43pts, off 20, and his first outright victory.

Having played himself into a comfortable winning position after 16 holes he threatened to throw it all away when he double bogeyed the 17th, but a fine drive down the last set him up for a decisive closing par.

This victory had an added bonus in that it qualified Stephen to play with club pro Peter Hanna in the finals of the PGA Tankard at Carrickfergus Golf Club.

Accompanying them will be the winner of the Ladies’ qualifying competition, Viona McConville. Like Stephen, Viona qualified by winning her first ever trophy. With their first victories in the bag Stephen and Viona will be looking forward to the big day out.

Michael O’Neill made a return to the prizes by taking second place with 42pts off 14. He had scored 41pts after 17 holes thanks to 11 pars and 6 bogeys.

Peter Gordon is currently one of the stars of the club’s high-flying Mid Ulster Seniors’ team and he continued with his impressive form by taking third with 41pts, off 13. Birdies at the 5th and 13th helped him move into a winning position.

Rodger McIlwaine took fourth spot with 40pts off 12. After dropping 6 shots over the first 7 holes, he covered the rest of the journey in just 2 over to claim his prize.

Caolan McCann picked up yet another gross award when he went round in 69 shots for 37 gross. Having gone out in 36 he came back in 33 helped by birdies at 10, 15, 17 and 18. Gary Clarke would have been favourite for the gross after 15 holes as he stood at 2 under par at that point, but a double bogey was then followed by a bogey and even a closing birdie couldn’t undo the damage.

Iain Mulholland completed what might be a unique double when he won the low section with 40pts off 12 having won the middle section the previous Saturday and in the process had his handicap reduced from 13 to 12. Jim Kennedy, Gary Moore (with NRs at 8 and 14), and Peter Cummins came close with 39pts. Ian Hamilton took the middle section with 40pts off 16. Jim Farrell and Ian Harrison were right behind with 39pts apiece.

The high section went to Liam Scullion with 40pts off 22 and he edged out Philip Ward on the back 9.

The shortest hole on the course, the 12th, has been memorable for Patrick O’Neill this month and his scores there have presented an improving picture. His previous three visits have seen him go 9-4-3, and he completed the improvement with a hole in one.