Just when players were thinking of summer, winter came back with a bang on Saturday.
The day started wet, cold and windy, and as it progressed it got wetter, colder and windier.
The subsequent difficulty of the conditions was reflected in some interesting statistics. The Competition Scratch Score rose to its maximum of 73, a very rare occurrence, and 25% of the field failed to register a final score in this stroke competition.
Only 10 players, about 7% of the field, managed to return a gross score less than 80
One player stood out from the rest and laughed at the conditions to lift the top prize by three clear shots.
Paul Carlin’s nett 66, off 21, was one of his best ever scores and it really stood out being 7 under the day’s CSS. An outward 43 and homeward 44 reflected a round of very few slip-ups and will leave him very optimistic for a hopefully warmer few months ahead
Brian Mallon has had a very interesting career, part of which included working for an extended spell in the Antarctic, a spell which has obviously left him well able to cope with yesterday’s conditions.
He must have felt he was back there as he returned a nett 69, off 19, to take the runners-up spot. His homeward 45 meant a nett back 9 of 35.5 to lift the prize by half a shot.
The man who had to settle for third place by that half shot was Brendan Courtney with a nett 69, off 14. He had been weaving all the noted Courtney magic and after 14 holes was 2 under handicap and contending for the top spot until a triple bogey 8 at the 15th threw the proverbial spanner in the works.
After 13 holes Gavin Little was just 1 over par, off 8, and no other player in the field had reached that point even close to that. There immediately followed a pair of double bogeys and he eventually had to settle for 4th place, those double bogeys squeezing him off the podium over the last six holes.
Birdies at 2 and 5 provided one of the best starts of the day, and although Ciaran Seeley dropped 8 shots during the rest of his round, his 76 meant the gross prize, no doubt the first of many he will lift this season.
John O’Neill will have been as surprised as he was pleased at taking the low section with a nett 70, off 7, so long has it been since he tasted success. A birdie at 9 helped him approach his back 9 in fine fettle, but double bogeys at 3 and 11 were very much out of character on the day.
What will have pleased him the most, however, is seeing his handicap reduced to 6.2, a handicap which reflects one of the smoothest swings in the club. Kevin McKavanagh, 8, and John McEvoy, 12, were a single shot behind to just miss out.
After almost knocking himself out with a wayward shot a few weeks ago, Stephen Hewitt managed to avoid any similar catastrophes as he took the middle section with a nett 71, off 15. If he could have also avoided triple bogeys at 1 and 16 he could well be celebrating an outright win, but his very good score on a very bad day augurs well for the future. Michael O’Neill was just 3 over for 12 of the holes but double bogeys at each of the other 6 saw him beaten by a single shot for the section.
Gerry Mann is very much in form at the moment and his nett 70, off 26, gave him the high section by the very comfortable margin of 3 shots. He is still probably still wondering how an 8 popped up at the short 10th hole.
On a very wintry Tuesday 36 ladies braved the cold to play for Mrs Viona McConville’s prize. Ray Gregg marked her comeback to weekly competitions, after her trip away, by winning the top prize with 39 points. Ray had a tidy card with her highlight bring a birdie three at the 6th.
With the standard scratch going to 33 points Ray managed to take two shots off her handicap so congratulations to Ray.
The gross prize went to one of our junior cup stalwarts Sian Mulholland with 22 gross points.
Sian played some lovely golf and it is great to see her back on form as she is a great asset to the ladies teams.
Section one went to our ladies secretary Clare McGourty with 31 points.
Clare had a great score on Friday, and just missed out on a prize, so it great that she was a bit more fortunate this time round.
Section two went to Elaine Bell with 33 points. Elaine had a good score going on the front nine but let it slip a bit on the back nine, but it’s great to see Elaine back to winning ways.
Section three went to Pamela Morrow with 36 points which earned Pamela her first handicap cut. Not only was this Pam’s first handicap cut it was also her first two and she shared the twos money with Ursula Dummigan and Dianne Patterson.