The competition at Lurgan on Saturday was for the C W Neill Cup and it provided many members with the last opportunity to sharpen up their game before this week’s highlight of the club season, Captain’s Day.
Young Ronan McGivern certainly showed that his game is just where he wants it to be when he returned his first ever level par round to take the top prize with 42pts off 6.
Four birdies were balanced by four bogeys and now that the burden of study and exams can be set aside for at least a few weeks we can look forward to hearing more of Ronan’s impressive progress.
Just a few weeks ago Ronan’s father, Canice, also returned his first ever level par score and the reactions of both provide an interesting contrast. While Ronan quietly headed off to successfully represent the club in the Fred Daly match in the afternoon, Canice had spent the rest of his day, and most of the next, telling anyone prepared to listen about his round. He still requires little persuasion to recall and describe it.
On his arrival at the club last Sunday, his conversations were frequently punctuated with, “That’s my boy”, “That’s my boy!”
Since the start of the season Stephen Loughran has had to watch his handicap rise inexorably and he will be delighted that he has at last been able to reverse that trend. His 41pts, off 11, put him into second place for a very welcome and long absent prize.
Having played himself into a winning position a double bogey at the 14th and NR at the 16th provided some late collywobbles, but a birdie at the last sent him home happy.
Dermot Lavery is in very good form at the moment and it was no surprise to see him take third place with 40pts, off 10, helped by birdies at the 15th and 18th.
There is no-one in better form in the club at the moment than Mervyn Shaw and he has seen his handicap fall from 10.8 to 8.7 in the last month.
On Saturday his 40pts gave him fourth prize and will have left him feeling very positive about the future.
The gross prize was a very close fight between Stephen Kelly and Robert Emerson, each of whom had 35 gross pts. Stephen’s level par back 9 was one shot less than Robert’s which was to prove decisive.
The low section went to Nicky Paul with 38pts off 6 and having won the Gents’ Open a couple of weeks ago he is certainly enjoying his golf at the moment. Canice McGivern, Paddy Meehan and Michael Bingham just missed out with 38pts.
Charlie McConville, with 39pts off 14, took the middle section.
After a disappointing opening 7 holes, he dropped just 2 shots over the last 11 and had no fewer than 24pts on the back 9. John Healey, Conor McEvoy, Laurence Mitchell and Peter Gordon came close with 38pts.
Nigel Girvan took the high section with 40pts off 20 despite having 3 double bogeys in the last five holes. His impressive start was to see him home just 1pt ahead of Colin Atkinson.