With his wife Dee having recently played her way to the top of the rostrum, and with his fourball partners making surprising recent appearances in the prizes, Jim Farrell may have felt under a little pressure to come up with the goods.
He may have left it late but this dogged veteran did just that by lifting the last trophy of the season at Lurgan on Saturday, the Harvest Tankard, with 42 points off 20.
Jim opened and closed his round with double bogeys, but some fine play in between, capped with a birdie at 12, gave him his first victory of the summer season on the last day. A homeward run of 39 shots meant 24 back 9 points to put him at the top of a trio on 42 points.
The story of young Zach Best’s golf over the last couple of seasons has been one of improvement upon improvement which shows no sign slowing or halting. He too had 42 points, off 13, and with a 1 over back 9 which yielded 23 points, normally enough to beat off the challenge of others, he must have felt his total would be very hard to beat.
It was only Jim’s exceptional homeward journey denied Zach on the day.
Martin King, off 20, also had a good back 9 for 22 points, but on this occasion it was only good enough for his 42 points total to take third place. His great score was achieved over just 16 holes as a triple bogey at 8 and quadruple bogey at 14 left him empty handed at those two holes.
Fourth place went to the always in form early morning player Michael McMahon with 41 points, off 12. His 3 bogeys in the first four holes may have had something to do with the fact that it was still dark when he was playing them, but he still reached the turn with 20 points and 20 points coming home claimed his prize.
Gregory Hogan almost put all those tips he must have gained from his recent sojourn with the professionals to good use, but while his 41 points were not suffice to get him into the top four, they did win him the day’s middle section prize. Reaching the turn with 23 points will possibly have filled him with too much hope as his 18 points coming home will have left him a little frustrated, but his score had the added bonus of returning him to the low section.
The low section went to Neal Carson with 40 points off 9. His first 10 holes saw 9 pars and an NR, which came at 2, but four bogeys thereafter nudged him gradually down the leader board. Patrick McCorry took the high section with 40 points off 21. He was another player to reach the turn with much to play for and 23 points in the bank, but a back 9 of just 17 points put him on the slippery slope with a host of other players.
Birdies at 4, 14 and 17, and bogeys at 6, 7 and 16, combined to give Gary Clarke a level par round and yet another gross prize with 36 gross points.
A single point out of the prizes with 39 points each came Ronan McCrory, 10, Mark O’Neill, 12, Laurence McGrady, 5, and Winston Hutchison, 16.
On Tuesday the ladies enjoyed some blue skies and sunshine and no more so than Sheena McStay, who held off Orla O’Dowd to win the competition with 38 points.
Sheena had a few double bogeys in her round but a four over back nine, including a par birdie finish, was good enough to see her back in the winners circle.
Orla O’Dowd continues her good run of play and although she was just pipped at the post she had one of the only two twos in the competition so, along with winning her section, this will be of some consolation to Orla. The other two went to Clare McGourty thanks to a great putt at the 17th. Georgie Hogan continues to show signs of rejuvenation and won section two with 32 pts. The third section went to one of the early starters Kate Kelly with 34 points. Kate has finished well up the list in her last three outings and could be one to watch in the winter golf.
Congratulations to all the winners and it’s great to see the ladies fitting in a few extra rounds of golf.