Derek tops on day of impressive scoring

WEEK three of Lurgan’s Winter League was successfully concluded last Saturday, it is hard to believe this is the halfway point of the tournament.

The entry was again above the 200 mark and the scoring was impressive in all three handicap groupings. Indeed a score of 34 points was required for any sort of prize.

There was an almighty battle for the overall weekly prize as both candidates shot an amazing 38 points for the regulation fourteen holes. By virtue of his better last six return it was Derek Johnston who prevailed.

The 20 handicapper had a modest opening seven with pars at holes two and eight were his most notable scores. On the back seven he had a rich vein of form. It comprised six valuable pars to go alongside a bogey on the fourteenth. This huge haul of points paved the way for this winning effort of 38 points.

Three handicapper Paul McCabrey scooped the gross prize with 30 gross points. Paul had a mix of scores ranging from bogeys on holes three, five, eight to birdies and pars. His selection of birdies was achieved at holes one, ten, eleven, seventeen and eighteen. Pars on the rest of the holes put him at the top of the gross category.

In the low section at least 20 golfers posted under par returns of 29 points or better. Young Peter Cummins took the plaudits with a very tidy total of 35 points. This five handicapper had an exciting six birdies on his winning card. Holes five, eight, ten, fourteen, seventeen and eighteen were the crucial birdie holes. A run of pars at holes one, six, nine, eleven and twelve were his other noteworthy scores. A tally of 34 points provided Laurence McGrady with the runners-up spot. Also playing off a five handicap Laurence’s solitary bogey came at the fourteenth. Birdies and pars constituted the rest of his score. Holes ten, twelve and eighteen were the birdie holes. It was a very close race as he only secured the win with a better last three score. Thus the third net prize went to Jim McKee with his total of 34 points. This six handicapper opened his seven with six pars and a bogey on the third. The inward seven included birdies on holes ten and fourteen and pars on the other five holes.

The following golfers were also in red figures:

32 pts: Conall Coleman, Stephen Loughran.

31 pts:Nathan McCann, Sean Toman, Garfield Harrison, Roy Hanna Jnr.

30 pts: Jason McCann, John Hartnett, Olcan Kearney, Caolan McCann, John O’Neill, Kevin McKavanagh.

29 pts: Gary McNally, Ian Cousins, Timmy Cummins, Colin Thompson.

There was a surfeit of good scoring in the middle section where thirty two golfers produced under par returns. The top prize in the section went to Gavin Smyth with a well-fashioned tally of 36 points. This 15 handicapper played very steadily over both sectors of the course. A birdie at the eighth and pars at holes two, three, six and nine formed the backbone of his early scoring. A further birdie came his way at the fifteenth. With pars on holes ten, seventeen and eighteen this spirited performance secured him the main prize.

Gary Lyons lifted second place with an equally pleasing score of 35 points. Gary had a quite a successful opening seven where pars occurred at holes one, three, five, eight and nine. On the inward seven he consolidated matters with a birdie on the seventeenth and pars on holes twelve and eighteen. Winston Hutchison was third with his six under par total of 34 points. Off a sixteen handicap Winston had a modest opening seven where pars at holes two and eight were the highlights. Spectacular and consistent play evolved on the back seven. It comprised six pars to accompany a sole bogey on the fourteenth. This strong finish earned him this victory.

Other players in the section with the good scores were:

34 pts: Rodger McIlwaine; 33 pts: Des Gregg; 32 pts: Raymond McCrory, Andrew Carville, Gerard Henderson, Martin McNeice, Seamus Cushley; 31 pts: Kevin O’Loan, Wilson Collins, Sean Mulvenna, David Herron, Paul Mulgrew, Tom Creaney.; 30 pts: Robert McVeigh, John Richardson, Colin Robb, James Toland, Ian Harrison, Raymond Farrell, Gavin Little, John Healy; 29 pts: Louis Moore, Tom Parker, Eamon McCarron, Anthony Gallery, Ronan Smyth, Billy Bateman, Neale McKinstry, Ian McMurray.

Finally in the high section Sean McClean dominated proceedings with his ten under par effort of 38 points. This was a highly focussed division with 32 golfers posting under par totals. Seventeen handicapper Sean put himself into the driving seat through seven with a quartet of pars at holes three, five, eight and nine. A birdie, par, par run got his back seven off to a flying start. He rounded off his glorious day with a brace of birdies on the closing two holes of play. He thus finished a comfortable three points ahead of his closest challenger.

Another golfer in form, Hugh O’Reilly, was second with a further splendid tally of 35 points. This 22 handicapper had a weak opening seven with just pars at holes one and nine. He improved big time and carded five pars on the homeward journey. Holes eleven, twelve, fifteen, seventeen and eighteen were his inspirational scores. Jim Hanratty Jnr nipped in to lock up third spot with a similar tidy effort of 35 points. Off his seventeen handicap James had a consistent run of pars on both halves of the course. Pars at holes one, two, six, eight and nine set the opening tone for the round. Back to back pars put the wheels in motion on the back seven. He closed of his day with pars on the closing two holes of play to gain the result. The following golfers were also in red figures:

35 pts: Dan Moore; 34 pts: Roy Bratchie, Ronan McCrory, Francie McKenna, Gareth Murphy; 33 pts: Terry King; 32 pts: Colin Darling; 31 pts: Eugene McAtamney, Paul O’Shea, David O’Neill, Trevor Field, Terry McCrory, John Menary.

30 pts: Jonathan Lawless, Sean McEvoy, Neal Carson, Andy Cunningham, Damian Catney, Peter Murray; 29 pts: Stephen Cordner, Michael McHugh, Stephen Hewitt, Ian Montgomery, Kieran McCorry, Martin King, Don Booth, Paul Magee.