A miserable Saturday saw many members decide against playing at Lurgan, but 153 still made their way to the starting blocks, although 40% failed to return a score in this stroke play event.
An unusual, if not unique, feature of the results was that the four people who returned the best nett scores also returned the four best gross scores.
Alex Denver played some sparkling golf last year and was delighted to see his handicap tumble to 4.4. By last Wednesday that had risen to 5.5 but his loss of category 1 status was short-lived as his 72 on Saturday for a nett 66 meant victory and a reduction to 4.9. Birdies at the 4th and 15th helped him on his way and he is no doubt looking forward to another successful year.
Robert Emerson began the year at 3.1 but has played some great golf to date this year and he now stands at his best ever 2.1. After winning just less than a fortnight ago, his nett 66 on Saturday was only beaten into second place on the back 9. He had birdies at the 4th, 5th, 8th and 17th, and bogeys at the 5th, 11th and 13th meant a gross 69 and the day’s only sub-par round.
James Horan took third with a nett 67 off 6. He was another player to make a welcome return to category 1 and will no doubt be figuring more regularly among the prizes in the weeks to come.
The gross prize went, not surprisingly, to never-say-die Shane Magee with a 71. Shane stood on the 17th tee 1 over thanks to a bogey at the 13th. Come the hour, cometh the man and a pair of closing birdies propelled him into the prizes.
Neal Carson has been returning some impressive scores of late and he continued the run by claiming fourth place with a nett 67 off 12. He will be disappointed with a double bogey at the relatively easy fourth and a closing run of four bogeys.
The low section went to Conall Coleman with a nett 68 off 6, the highlight was a birdie at the 10th. Just edged out of the prizes was honorary secretary Ian McMurray with a nett 68 off 12, and he will still be replaying in his mind his costly triple bogeys at the 7th and 18th. Jim McKee had double bogeys at the 2nd and 3rd but covered the remaining 16 holes in just 1 over to return a nett 69 off 6.
There was a welcome return to the prizes for Eugene Maguire who took the middle section with a nett 71 off 13, despite a closing run of 4 sixes which included a triple bogey at the 17th. Paul O’Shea lifted the high section with a nett 69 off 20 and can thank no fewer than 5 nett birdies on his outward journey.
On Monday the ladies had their first open of the year sponsored by Terra Travel.
Ninety two ladies played with some even travelling from as far away as USA.
On a day when the course, though beautifully manicured, was playing long and difficult it was the lower handicapped ladies who fared the best.
The winner was Sheena McStay with a nett 68. Sheena played on Monday, fresh from seeing her Junior Cup team win on Sunday, and she must have picked up a few tips from her players at one of her many ‘bonding’ sessions as she played flawless golf and enjoyed being presented with her prize by Terry Murphy.
The gross went to Fiona McGrady who recorded 78 shots and who is very much on a roll at the minute.
The whole day was a tremendous success and Lady Captain Pam Graham thanked everyone involved in putting the day together.
Results: 1st Sheena McStay nett 68; Gross Fiona McGrady Gross 78.
Section 1: Bronagh McKavanagh nett 69.
Section 2: Clare McGourty nett 71.
Section 3: Margaret O’Neill nett 70; R/U. Section 1: Mildred Hodgett nett 72 Banbridge; R/U Section 2 Dee Farrell nett 73; R/U Section 3 Joy Stevenson nett 76.
Front 9: Maeve McKavanagh nett 34; Back 9: Una Cassidy nett 34.5 from bb6 Anette Kilbinger.