John O’Neill put the double bogeys and NRs which spoiled his last couple of rounds behind him on Saturday as he returned a level par round to lift the Gerry O’Neill trophy in memory of his uncle with 44 points off 8.
Birdies at 2 and 8 were paired with bogeys at 7 and 14 for his best round in a long time and reduced his handicap by 2 shots to 6. This puts him within sight of a return to Category 1 which he seems sure to reach in the near future.
Second place went to Gregory Crawford whose 69 was the only round of the day under par and gave him 42 points off 5. His five birdies were his biggest birdie blitz of the year but with a couple of eagles in his pocket over the last few weeks he is obviously a serious contender every time he tees up.
Young Peter Kennedy’s handicap has now dropped from 11 to 7 in a couple of months after he took third place with 41 points off 9. He was just one over par for the back 9 which meant 21 homeward points to edge out Johnny McEvoy, 12, who had 20 back nine points.
The 11th hole is the most difficult par 3 on the course, but although it was playing downwind, Johnny’s NR did not reflect its relative ease.
Conor McDonald took the gross prize with 33 gross points, but only after a photo finish with two other young stars of the club. Conor, Eamon Lynch and Darragh McCann each had 33 gross points, and each had 17 gross points on the back nine. Conor’s birdie at the last proved decisive as it left him level par over the last six holes where Eamon and Darragh were +2 and +3 respectively.
George Harkness continues to ‘knock at the door’ and after some recent impressive returns he took Section 1 with 40 points off 9 helped by birdies at 4, 7 and 18.
Section 2 went to the enthusiastic and able David Moore with 40 points off 13. Despite two double bogeys and an NR on the front 9, birdies at 4, 5 and 9 saw him reach the turn with 19 points, and a characteristically masterful return journey completed the job.
With five overall wins this year so far, it was little surprise to see Walter Simpson lift Section 3 with 40 points off 22. A triple bogey at 14 was his only blemish in a round which is likely to have signalled a welcome return to form for this fairway veteran.
Bruce Turkington had 39 off 12, to very narrowly miss out on the prizes. His downfall came early as he could only manage a total of two points out of holes 4, 5, 6 and 7, a setback from which even a level par back nine could not rescue him.