On a day when two of the lowest scores of the year filled the top two places, there may be some tempted to think the course must have playing easy at Lurgan.
While 36 players equalled or bettered the CSS of 69, there was an almost equal number, 34, who bore testament to the course’s difficulty by registering NRs.
Keith Davenport has been returning good scores for many years, but his nett 61, off 13, was the best of those and one which he is very unlikely to forget. Level after 12, 2 bogeys and a double bogey on the way in left him with a round of 74 and victory.
Even though this score would normally win by the proverbial street, he will be very thankful for his pair of closing pars as he only won by a shot.
It was only a matter of time before Peter Johnston found his way onto the podium as his recent impressive play has only been spoiled by occasional isolated triple bogeys or worse. He managed to avoid those as birdies at 8 and 10 played their part in his nett 62, off 19, to take second place.
John Wells returned his best score in a while and his nett 64, off 13, gave him third prize. A double bogey at 4, considered one of the easier holes on the course, and 4 bogeys in the last 5 holes denied him the outright victory to which he is well accustomed.
Four players returned nett 65s with Conor McDonald edging out a hugely experienced trio on the back 9 with a nett 31.5 on that stretch. Four birdies and four pars meant a level par round for this very promising young golfer.
John O’Neill and Brian Scullion were two of the players on nett 65 and the low section went to John with the better last 6 holes. John seems to have been ‘buoyed’ by the recent birth of his grandson as his recent form has brought him down to 5.5 and the verge of a return to category 1.
Brian will be pleased that his level par round, with 5 birdies and 5 bogeys, is a continuation of his recent run of impressive returns.
Neil Dillon won’t forget this year in a hurry having had a big birthday and some big golfing achievements. A vital part of the Rossmore Cup team’s run to the final, and a finalist in the club fourball, he has also returned some great individual scores and lifted the middle section with a nett 66, off 16. He took the prize with a nett 32 back 9 from Tony Gallery, off 13, who will long remember his very damaging 8 at the 15th.
No-one will be happier with their score than Kieran Walsh who took the high section with a nett 65 off 21. Only a disappointing 9 at 15 denied him his best score in some time, but there was enough in yesterday’s round to fill him with justifiable hope for the future.
Yet another gross award went to Peter Cummins with a gross 68 helped by birdies at 6, 7, 8 and 10.Some other players had scores which might normally have been expected to find their way into the prizes but on this occasion took their places among the also-rans. On nett 66 came Shane Magee, 4 and Jim McKee, 6, while nett 67s were returned by Tony Henderson, 10, Alan Hamilton, 7, Joe Dowey Jnr, 5, Stephen Walter, 13, John Healy, 15, Seamus Cushley, 13, Patrick O’Neill, 16, and Sean McEvoy, 19.