Fourball team shoot 14 birdies in winning round

WHAT a fun day it was last Saturday at Edenmore Golf Club.

For the first time in what seemed an age the weather had abated and the course was in pristine condition, allowing the golfers to enjoy their sport to the full.

The rules of Saturday’s competition were slightly different from the normal stroke or stableford competition usually played. It was called a fourball scramble. The four persons in the fourball each drove off then the best drive of the four was selected and all four golfers continued to play their second shots from that spot where the best drive had come to rest. That sequence of play followed until the ball was holed out.

One of the rules was that each of the players in each team must use a minimum of four drives during the eighteen holes. The overall result was not that surprising in hindsight, when the team of Philip Sheldon, David Finlayson, Deaglan O’Hagan and Paul Bradley with a collective handicap of just two, returned a combined score 55.

This was an amazing 16 under par (14 gross birdies) which just goes to prove that the number of shots being allocated to the other teams was no substitute for the pure skill demonstrated by these four lads.

The runners up team of John Boyles, Martin Delport, Tom Crooks and Kenny Gracey, although played exceptionally well by returning an overall finishing score of 60.2. During their round they had six birdies. Although, try as they might, they were no match for the winners.

In third spot were Brian Mercer, James Curran Jnr, James Curran Snr and John Spiers. This quartet battled with great enthusiasm throughout the round in finishing with a superb net score of 61, including seven birdies on the way round.

All in all, a very different experience on the day for golfers which created a concept which removed all pressures from the individual player.

The Wednesday sweep was played in reasonably calm and placid weather conditions. The quality of the golf was reflected by this, and none more so than by Martin Delport and Brian Mercer who both returned scores of nett 63.

Martin, playing off a 12 handicap started in a very positive fashion when hitting the pin at the first with his approach shot and followed it up by rolling in the birdie putt. He followed that birdie with two more later on in the round. interspersed with a few bogeys to finish with an overall nett of 63.

Brian Mercer is seemingly like many good wines when maturing with age. His playing ability has never been under question, but few people apart from Brian himself believed that a score of one under par gross was possible.

Playing off a handicap of seven Brian kept shooting at the pins and was unlucky that more of his putts didn’t drop. His runners up spot of 63 (beaten on the back nine on countback) was undoubtedly his best round of the season so far. Another young man, must have thought after the completion of his round that he would have been the outright winner was Simon McKinstry, playing off 19, who shot a magnificent 83 (nett 64) for third spot.

Simon was followed in by nine handicapper Philip Henderson with a nett 67.

The gross on the day was won by the unshakeable Shane O’Hanlon. Shane is never far from the winner’s enclosure week after week, which is always a sign of a young man who has total belief in his own ability. His winning gross score was 76.

The Monday seniors competition was as always a closely fought competition with the outright victory going to Ronnie Girvan. Ronnie, still playing off a single figure handicap, shot a superb 38pts. Ronnie was followed in by Brian Gray on 36pts.

In the ladies’ section last week saw the first leg of the Junior Foursomes against Newtownstewart. The first leg was played in glorious sunshine at Edenmore last Monday afternoon.

The team of Debbie McMaster and Caroline Watson, Gillian Murphy and Colleen Hanna and Steph Watson and Cherry Logan all secured victories with seven holes up but they knew that all was still to play for as the team headed down to Tyrone on Monday, through heavy rainfall and under ominous looking skies for the return leg.

The team had changed in pairings due to players’ availability and as the heavy rain fell, the first pair out was Louise Gaw and Cherry, followed by Debbie and Steph and Gillian and Colleen.

Debbie and Steph secured the victory with a tremendous 5 and 4 win on the par three 14th hole and the other matches were called in. The Edenmore girls now progress to the quarter-finals at Ballyclare Golf Club later in July.