ON Saturday 13th October Lurgan golfers were contesting the Harvest Tankard which is the finale of the summer golfing season.
After some dreadful weather in the latter part of the week those playing in this stableford competition enjoyed dry overhead conditions and they were heartened by the appearance of the sun every now and again. With the ‘preferred lies’ option on the fairways and the tees quite forward the scoring was thus made easier for the field that was just five short of 200. Around 42 golfers had returns of 37 points or better in this season ending event. This represented a healthy 22 per cent of the playing field. Even the sectional awards were won with high calibre scoring.
According to the maxim, age is no barrier to winning and this was evident on last Saturday. With an outstanding score of 44 points the winner was the veteran Louis Moore. This long time member played very confidently over the eighteen holes. Pars or bogeys were the only scores on this eighteen handicapper’s winning card. His opening nine comprised three pars and six bogeys. Pars came his way at holes one, four and eight. At this halfway juncture he had a morale boosting 21 points on his card. Not a man to let an opportunity slip he plundered a lot more pars on the back nine. A quintet of pars was attained at holes ten, twelve, thirteen, seventeen and eighteen.
On this side of the course he achieved a winning total of 23 points. Accurate driving off the tee and some deft touches around the greens paid huge dividends. A few visits to the professional and the adoption of the claw-like putting grip have rejuvenated his game.
Runner-up with a very respectable score of 43 points was Keith Percy. This eleven handicapper also played competently over both nines. His day began with a pair of birdies and pars followed at holes four, five and eight. A steady back nine comprised seven pars to go alongside bogeys on holes sixteen and eighteen. Obviously his win at Celtic Manor has permeated a lot of confidence.
The third net prize was captured by Brian Bradford. The seventeen handicapper took the honours with the best return of 42 points. Par figures at holes one, two, three and eight were his promising scores on the outward nine. On the homeward stretch a birdie at the thirteenth and pars at holes twelve, fifteen, sixteen and seven were his marquee scores. Possibly double bogeys at holes nine and eleven deprived him a higher placing.
Young Caolan McCann triumphed in the gross category with 38 gross points. The three handicapper had a variety of scores from an eagle to four bogeys.
He birdied holes three, four, fifteen and eighteen. His eagle occurred at the tenth. On the flip side of the coin bogeys were pencilled in at holes seven, nine, fourteen and sixteen. With pars on the rest of the holes his gross sixty eight on the day took the spoils.
In the Low section a very good 20 golfers posted under par returns. Six handicapper Andrew Cummins stole the show with his five under par total of 41 points. Again Andrew played quite confidently on both parts of the course. Birdies at holes one and four and par figures at holes two, five, six and nine were his front nine successes. On the inward nine he managed vital birdies at holes ten, sixteen and seventeen. He complemented them with useful pars at holes eleven, thirteen, fourteen and eighteen.
A double bogey on the fifteenth was his only blip on the day.
In the Middle section a healthy 15 golfers produced under par returns. An exemplary 42 points enabled Johnny McComb to claim the prize.
This eighteen handicapper was well to the fore after nine holes with 23 points on his card. Pars at holes one, four, six, seven, eight and nine paved the way for this strong early showing. On the back nine he ended up with nineteen points thanks to eight net pars and a par on the twelfth.
Finally in the High category seven golfers submitted under par returns. With a similar haul of 42 points Paul O’Shea emerged victorious. This 21 handicapper had a satisfactory opening nine containing pars at holes one, four and nine. He kept plugging away on the inward nine courtesy of par figures at holes ten, eleven, twelve and seventeen.
Perhaps a triple bogey at the fifteenth and double bogeys at holes two and five prevented him from securing one of the major net prizes.
The other golfers with the influential scores were as follows: 41 pts: Terence Eagers, Kieran McCorry. 40 pts: Conor Wilson, Kevin Hamill, Daniel Wright, Eric Allen. 39 pts: Martin McAvoy, Martin McNeice, Eamon Lynch, Billy Bateman, Dermot Lavery, Andrew Gates, Michael Bingham, Raymond Porter, Aidan Murphy, Stephen Cordner. 38 pts: Brian Scullion, Kevin McKavanagh, Billy Hughes, Conal Coleman, Paul McConaghy, Conor McDonald, Nevan Lavery, Raymond Farrell, James Hanratty.
37 pts: Richard Budd, Damian Murphy, Joe Dowey, Dan Moore, Gerard Magee, Sean McCool, Brendan McConville, Colin Darling, Gareth McConville, Gerard Mann.