If there was a prize for Player of the Month then Francis Tallon would be a leading contender.
He won on Saturday with 36 points off 4 thanks to six birdies and one bogey. His bogey came at the 5th and this is just the second shot dropped at that hole since September.
In the four rounds he has played in the previous two weeks he has had one eagle and 17 birdies for rounds of 66-66-69-66 which must be costing regular playing partner Denis McInerney a small fortune.
Denis must surely by now have abandoned any lingering hope of ever having a better gross than his free-scoring friend and his 17 gross points were just half of what Francis returned.
Roy Bratchie might well be hoping future competitions are restricted to 14 holes as he has recently been scoring more points over 14 than 18. 38 points a couple of weeks ago and 36 points were both scored over the shortened winter course andSaturday’s score put him into second place overall off 16. He managed to put the irritation of a triple bogey seven at the 9th behind him with an eagle two at the very next hole and would have lifted the day’s top prize if only he could have avoided the costly double bogey at 15.
Section 1 went to Morris Lyness with 34 points off 7. He had a dream start with an opening trio of birdies, but was to immediately give up that sub par position by going bogey, double bogey.
He was only able to find 1 one more birdie, coming at 15, and a bogey at the last brought a disappointing end to what had begun so promisingly.
Following close behind came smooth swinging William McMillan with 33 points off 8, while almost 180 years of experience brought the trio of Joe Dowey Jnr, 5, Roy Hanna Jnr, 5, and Canice McGivern, 6, close to the prizes with 32 points.
Winter seems to be bringing out the best in Rodger McIlwaine as he has returned a string of good scores for a lack of reward but he rectified things by taking section 2 with 34 points off 9. A birdie at four and bogeys at four other holes meant another competent round.
On 33 points came Gavin Smyth, 9, Tony Gallery, 9, John McEvoy, 9, and Tom Creaney, 11. Laurence Mitchell and Martin Rea had 32 points with Laurence providing a noteworthy finish.
Having found himself out of contention with five holes to go, he had two birdies followed by an eagle at the last and will regret an ugly interloper in the shape of a double bogey at the penultimate hole.
Section 3 went to Chris Stevenson with 35 points off 22. This was his best score in some time and it could have been even better but for his failure to score at the 15th. Gerard Mann, 20, and Conal McAshea, 20, continued in their rich vein of form with 34 points, this time being just out the prizes.
Each of a quintet of players has been figuring recently with Hammy Baxter, 22, Matt Cummins, 13, Colin Darling, 17, Martin King, 16, and Andrew Best, 12, scoring 32 points and having individual tales of hard luck to relate to anyone who might want to listen.
Hail, rain or shine you can rely on Shane Magee to constantly be in contention and he took the gross with 30 pts. Birdies at 4, 10 and 15, and a bogey at 14, meant a sub-par round of two under.
Bridge results: N/S-1, G Turkington & E O’Neill; 2, C Logan & R Jones; E/W-1, A Lamb & B McGrane; 2, F Storey & U Crossey.