The competition at Lurgan last Saturday was in memory of past professional, Fred McKinley, and it was appropriate that low scores and low handicaps dominated the proceedings with low section golfers lifting all the main prizes.
Senior Cup stalwart Steven Kelly took the top prize with a brilliant 67 which represented 42pts off his 3 handicap.
After a birdie, birdie start he went on to record similar scores at the 6th, 10th and 15th, and restricted his slip-ups to bogeys at the 5th and 17th. This early season success will no doubt have buoyed him for next week’s first major of the season.
Mervyn Shaw is no stranger to lifting major prizes and his 41pts, off 11, gave him the runners-up spot. The highlight of his round was a pair of back to back birdies at the 15th and 16th, but he will be very disappointed that he managed to sandwich them between two disastrous double bogeys.
Third place went to Colin Thompson with 40 points off 5. Colin’s handicap has been steadily falling since the start of the season and his 71 gross on Saturday, helped by birdies at the 6th, 12th and 18th, ensured that this trend continued. He will be thankful for a 1 under par back 9 as he only lifted his prize over this stretch.
Having lifted the main prize last week with a gross 72, Tom Douglas went one better this week and although he may be slightly disappointed at having to settle for fourth place, he will be delighted to be enjoying the golfing with his form.
There was yet another gross award for the amazingly consistent Paul McCabrey. Birdies at the 3rd, 4th, 9th and 12th, and bogeys at holes 7, 8, and 16 meant a gross 69 and a further sub-par round to add to his collection.
Paul McConaghy has had a fair sprinkling of good scores already this season so it was no surprise to see him run up 40 points, off 10, to lift the low section.
A double bogey at the 14th was his only slip, but he will be particularly pleased that his score saw his handicap return to single figures . Andrew Cummins and Shane Magee narrowly missed out with 39pts.
The middle section went to the much practised John Wells with 40 points off 16. He played some great golf on the day but will look to his failure to score at either the 5th or 11th with some dismay. Just behind was Peter McCusker with 39 points, and this was the second time in a row this veteran has beaten his handicap, so he could well be a contender in the forthcoming majors.
The high section went to Stephen Hewitt with 38pts off 20 and his recent form suggests that he too will be in contention more regularly. Willie Grogan and the ageless Hugh O’Reilly were just 1 shot behind.
Honest remark of the day must go to Brendan McConville.
The 13th hole requires a slightly right to left drive and he appeared to have summed up the requirement well. As he watched his well struck drive begin to go right and fade ever further right to the middle of the 14th fairway he remarked, “That was my attempt at a draw.”