John finds his form to finish tops in April Medal

Pre-qualifiers for Northern Ireland Open are now set.
Pre-qualifiers for Northern Ireland Open are now set.

It might be a new season but there were plenty of ‘old hands’ among the winners at Lurgan on Saturday.

John Wells has been seen regularly in the prizes over the decades and at the weekend it was son John who lifted the honours with a nett 66, off 13, and first place.

On his last outing John found the back 9 troublesome as he struggled to 4 over his handicap, but Saturday saw quite a turn around as he covered the same stretch in 4 under handicap to take the first Medal of the year.

Billy Leslie had felt that his recent brilliant form would come to an end along with the ending of mats and rocket launchers, but if anything his form has improved and with a nett 66, off 17, he took 2nd place.

After a triple bogey 7 at 13 he birdied 8, 9 and 10 to miss out on top spot on the back 9.

Young Ronan McCrory came 3rd to continue his relentless improvement. His nett 67, off 12, will have left him pleased with his prize but full of ‘what might have beens’.

Double bogeys at 5, 6 and 8 left him looking for something special and birdies at 9, 10 and 11 almost did the trick.

Paul Rippon, nett 67 off 13, came fourth. A triple bogey at 7 was immediately followed counterer with a birdie but he was unable to completely undo the damage.

The gross prize went to Peter Cummins, with a level par 70, to complete a treble of prize winners for that household in a week, only one member of the family being empty handed. The highlight of Peter’s round was his eagle 2 at the 9th, the only eagle recorded on the day.

Division 1 went to Jim McKee with a nett 67, off 5, squeezing out a quartet of class and experience on the back 9. While Jim covered the homeward journey in level par, each of the others found trouble. Garfield Bell’s double bogey at 17 did him no favours while Francis Tallon could not find the birdies which have come so naturally to him of late.

Argie McGlone was 5 under handicap after 14 only to find an 8 at 15, while Conor Wilson waited until the very last hole for his 8. Michael O’Neill took Division 2 with a nett 67 off 13. He dropped 5 shots at 2 holes, 3 and 17, and a further 5 at the other 16 holes leaving him to reflect on what might have been.

Nevan Lavery, off 15, was 5 under his handicap after 14 holes only to squeeze himself out of the prizes by dropping 6 shots over the last 4 holes.

Sean McEvoy had 4 double bogeys going out but came home in 4 under handicap to take Div 3 with a nett 69 off 20. This edged Tom Lamb out of the prizes on the back 9 with Brian Curran just one shot back.

On Tuesday the ladies began their quest to get their hands on the Centenary Rosebowl, a beautiful trophy donated by Margaret Cowdy

The top 16 players on the day go into a match play competition with the eventual winner taking the Rosebowl. In the meantime prizes are awarded as normal for the Tuesday scores and the winner on this occasion was Roslyn Millar with a nett 69. Roslyn got off to a flying start when she had a birdie at the first followed by a nice par at the fourth. Roslyn was well under her handicap after 9 holes but faltered slightly in the back nine but held on to record an excellent score in a stroke competition.

The gross went to Maeve Cummins with an 81 and section one went to Fiona Cummins with a nett 70 so the rivalry in the Cummins’ household continues.

In section one the scoring was very good and Dee Farrell and Susan McMorrow both recorded nett 71.

Dee had a lovely run of pars from 8-12 and Susan had a great score going but ran into difficulties on the last three holes and as she was out late in the day lack of daylight might have been her major problem and not her golf. Both these ladies are involved in junior foursomes matches this week so team captain May Baxter will be delighted to see them playing well.

Section two went to Jennifer Magowan with a nett 70.

Jennifer is one of our early birds and she had a pretty ordinary start to her day, on the course, but she found her groove from the eighth hole on and made her score on the back nine.

Jennifer just pipped Irene McCusker who had a nett 71. Irene must be one of our most consistent performers and is never far away from the prizes. Section three went to the irrepressible Liz Denver who had a very credible nett 73 in her first stroke competition. Liz is continuing to show great promise and when the weather improves, and she gets the opportunity to play a little more, there is no doubt she will be one to watch this year.

Just one shot back in section three was Catherine Jinks making her first Tuesday appearance of the year so Catherine has hit the ground running.

Also worthy of note is Ann Jordan who climbed to third in section three so Ann is another of our new members continuing to find her feet and we’re all delighted to see them doing so well in what is a very difficult game to learn.