Steady first nine gives Gavin the edge

LAST Saturday saw the opening of the new golfing season at Lurgan GC with the traditional March Medal testing the members.

Out of a field of 200 golfers some 52 golfers had a worrying no-return. The holes were almost playing their full length and despite the concession of ‘preferred lies’ competitors found the going tough. Indeed only nineteen golfers posted a score of net 69 or better on the day.

The winner of the March medal was Gavin Little. This eleven handicapper registered a very capable effort of net 63 to claim the major net prize. Gavin was in mighty form through the opening nine holes. He covered them in level par figures. Birdies came his way on holes four and nine. They squared up bogeys on holes one and eight.

Pars were pencilled in on the other five holes. His delightful play continued on the back nine. It comprised six pars to go alongside bogeys on holes eleven, sixteen and seventeen. This competent play was required as he only emerged victorious by an one shot margin.

Runner-up with his six under par effort of net 64 was Kevin Creery. This 15 handicapper started well with a birdie at the first and pars on holes three and four. In the middle of the round he nailed down four pars in a row starting on the seventh. He did not relent on the back nine either. Further pars came his way on holes ten, twelve, fifteen and eighteen. This degree of consistency earned him second place.

The other major net prize in the competition went to Keith Percy. This ten handicapper played solidly on both sides of the course. He registered six pars on the front side as well as a birdie on the ninth. On the second half of the course a quintet of pars at all the even numbered holes played a crucial role in helping him to a net 65 on the day.

Big-hitting Gareth Moore powered his way to the gross award. This two handicapper succeeded with a gross 71. Birdies on holes four, fifteen and eighteen were crucial scores. They helped to overcome bogeys at holes five, six, twelve and thirteen. Pars on the rest of the holes carried him across the finishing line.

In the Low section John O’Neill was the divisional winner. This seven handicapper took the spoils with a net 66. John was through the front nine with eight pars and a disappointing six at the third hole. On the inward nine he fell foul of bogeys on holes fourteen, fifteen and sixteen. However four pars and birdies at holes eleven and twelve guided him into the winning enclosure. The other useful scoring was attained by the following golfers:

Net 66: Andrew Gates; 67: Neale McKinstry, Anthony Gallery; 68: Conal Patterson, Marcel Shanks, Laurence McGrady; 69: Iain Mulholland, Laurence Mitchell.

In the Middle section Wilson Collins motored to victory with a net 67. This 14 handicapper had a modest opening nine where a par at the first and a birdie at the third were his feature holes. With not a camera in sight on the backside he made vital pars at holes ten, twelve, thirteen, fifteen and sixteen. This steady play secured him the winning station.

The other golfers who just missed out in the section were: Net 67: James Hanratty Jnr; 68: Henry McAreavey, Andrew Bann; 69: Gareth Smyth.

Maurice Turnbull claimed the honours in the High category with a net 66. This 22 handicapper had a quiet opening nine where pars at holes one and four were the highlights. He upped the tempo on the final nine holes to card five vital pars.

They came at holes ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen and eighteen. In spite of three triple bogeys he just held on to snatch the section award. The only other golfer under par in the grouping was young Conor McConville with an equally fine effort of net 66.