He may have waited until the penultimate competition to do it, but Barry Campbell rounded off a very successful season as Captain with a long overdue victory when he lifted the October Medal on nett 65 off 24.
He can thank no fewer than 9 nett birdies which meant he could afford the luxury of three double and a triple bogey and still come out on top.
It has also been a while since Billy Turkington found himself among the prizes and he has had to watch as wife Grizel arrives home with ‘armfuls’ of prizes, but he showed the spark is very much alive when he took the runners-up spot with a nett 65 off 20. After 11 holes he was 7 under his handicap but dropped 9 shots over the last 7 holes to miss out on the back 9.
Obviously perturbed by some minor glitches in his swing, Willie Grogan could recently be seen out for spells of solitary practice on the course and his efforts have been rewarded by a nett 66, off 20, and 3rd place. A triple bogey at the 3rd and double bogeys at 6 and 7 suggested he would be condemned to further spells of tortuous practice, but he then covered the last 11 holes in 6 under his handicap for what will have been a very rewarding and satisfying outcome.
Two players had nett 67s with Colin Atkinson claiming 4th prize on the back 9 from Dwayne Hanna. Colin has not been able to play as much as he would have liked this year but of his 11 qualifying competitions, five have been below handicap, so a nett 67, off 19, was fairly run of the mill for him.
Dwayne took the low section off 8. A double bogey at the 8th rather spoiled a front 9 which had seen birdies at 4 and 7, and although he opened the back 9 with a further birdie, three late bogeys saw him missing out on greater reward by the narrowest of margins.
After last year’s run of spectacular successes, Keith Percy has found prizes hard to come by and he missed out again when his nett 68, off 6, just missed out despite a very steady round of 14 pars and 4 bogeys. Nigel McKerr was to miss out on a similar score off 11. After an opening half which put him 4 under handicap, a long straight drive of well over 200yds at the 10th was followed by 4 more shots to cover the last 20yds, a costly slip which had a very unsettling effect upon him.
Aodhan Scullion opened and closed his round with double bogeys, but 7 nett birdies in between led to a nett 69, off 19, and the middle section by two clear shots. Aodhan has had a very successful opening season with his handicap tumbling by 5 shots, so he is obviously a young golfer we will be hearing more of in the future.
Derek Johnston twice in the last couple of weeks has played below handicap and his nett 68, off 21, gave him the high section on the back 9 from Martin Cavanagh, off 19. Derek was 3 under his handicap for the back 9.
Martin will no doubt regret his three costly double bogeys on the way home, but his form is good at the moment and he will no doubt be able to improve his fortunes shortly.
The Cummins’ children continue to produce successful golf. After Maeve’s brilliant All-Ireland success last Saturday, Peter picked up the baton by lifting his fourth gross prize in the last five competitions with a 71. After a round which saw 4 birdies and 5 bogeys, he now finds his handicap down to 2.3, well under half of that of his course record holding father.
Just one more trophy to play for this season - this week’s Harvest Tankard. A number of players seem to be playing well and in a good position to challenge, but late season conditions often provide twists and turns, so good luck to all who are seeking their first reward of a long season.