If anyone was in any doubt over the last few weeks if this was really the Winter League they were playing in, then Saturday’s temporary greens at Lurgan , soggy underfoot conditions, mats and rocket launchers dispelled any doubts they may have had.
And it wasn’t just the conditions which provided the confirmation as winter champion Hugh O’Reilly’s 38pts off 15 gave him yet another top placing.
A nett eagle at 6, birdies at 3 and 12, and 7 nett birdies elsewhere put him proudly at the head of the field. Raymond Haddock’s renaissance continued with yet another eye-catching score as he took second place with 37pts off 11. His birdies at 1, 10 and 15 almost gave him victory but a momentary lapse of concentration at 14 led to his only double bogey of the day and the runners-up spot.
The gross prize on the day went to Timmy Cummins with a 3 under par round for 31 gross pts. Four birdies, nine pars and a single bogey resulted in a round any golfer would be proud of.
Section 1 went to George Harkness with 34pts off 7. George had birdies at 8, 10, 15 and 18 to help him continue a remarkable run which has seen his scores improve by the week. His four league scores have gone 30, 31, 33 and 34.
Patrick Burke is blessed with what must surely be one of the smoothest swings in the club and he frequently brings in scores to match. 34pts off 6 gave him the runners-up spot in his section with a level par round which saw 3 outward bogeys and 3 homeward birdies. Also on 34pts came Martin Corey, 7, and Roy Hanna Jnr, 5, both missing out on the back 9.
Having taken the outright prize last week with 34pts, Conor McEvoy might have expected this week’s 37pts to have done something similar, but this time around he had to be content with the top prize in section 2. After opening with a couple of birdies, an eagle at 15, which he birdied last week, was the icing on the cake of a very good round.
Second in the section went to Paul Lavery with 36pts off 12. Birdies at 1, 10 and 14 put him into the perfect challenging position, but a closing trio of bogeys was not the finish he would have wished for. Iain Mulholland, 9, and Tony McCallion, 11, each came close with 35pts, and Tony will still be thinking about his NR at 14. Gary McMahon continued to enjoy his return to form with 34pts.
Section 3 went to Michael McHugh with 36pts off 19. He is on the same team as Hugh O’Reilly so between the two of them they contributed 74pts, and many other teams required 3 players to score that. A double bogey at 17 was Michael’s only disappointment.
Eugene Greene had 36pts off 20 to lift the runners-up prize. Although he had a birdie at 15, he squeezed it between a double and then triple bogey to miss out on the back 9. Four battle-hardened war horses came next with Winston Hutchison, 13, on 35pts, followed by Ian Montgomery, 12, Andrew Best, 12, and Trevor Turnbull, 15, on 34pts.
Week 4 of the Winter League saw Dawson’s Duffers slip from top spot down to 5th as they only managed to score 8 team points with their collective 144 points.
Four teams scored 12 league points with The Crazy Gang hitting the highest collective points this week with a massive 166. The highest total of this seasons competition so far and this moves them well up the table.
Jim McCann must have been feeding his ‘Lamb Chops’ the finest cuts this week as they also were big hitters scoring 160 collective points and earning their team 12 league points slipping themselves nicely into 3rd spot on 48 points. Two men stole the show for ‘The Printer’s’ keeping the team well in contention. Well seasoned Winter League campaigners Hugh O’Reilly and Michael McHugh who between them scored 74 points for their team. Monty’s Marauders continue with their fine form and take top spot with 50 points and are sitting nicely looking down at the chasing pack. Paul Lavery’s Carlsburgh Don’t Do Team also having a good outing with 12 well earned points notched up.
Down at the bottom the Red Arrows seemed to be cast adrift with only 19 points after 4 weeks. They have two weeks left to try and recover some pride and not be the team to receive the dreaded ‘wooden spoon’. The Rev’s Boys seem to have got their act together after a shaky start and are moving up the table after some fine performances this week scoring 154 collective points gaining 10 league points. There is still a lot to be played for with two weeks left in the team competition. Week 5 will be a ‘Joker Week’ when team points will count as double.