No stopping in form Stephen as good run continues

Meal deal open stableford competition at Foyle today.
Meal deal open stableford competition at Foyle today.

Stephen Hewitt has certainly transformed his golf because from the first day of November he has done nothing but continually smash his personal bests and accumulate prizes.

Despite carrying handicap reductions from previous successes he easily took the best overall prize this week at Lurgan with 37 points off 12 to add to a best overall just two weeks ago.

One birdie and four bogeys meant a round of just 3 over par giving every indication that this Winter League superstar is likely to win a lot more before this amazing run ends.

Paul O’Shea, 16, could be seen trying on different outfits before play and he turned in a performance on the back 9 to match his sartorial elegance. With a modest 13 points over the first seven holes he cannot have been thinking too much about prizes, but he dropped just two shots coming home and his 20 points over the last seven holes gave him the runners-up spot ahead of five others who also had 33 points.

The remarkably consistent Kevin McKavanagh, 5, beat his consistently unpredictable playing partner Roy Hanna Jnr by one point to take the low section. While Kevin opened and closed his round with birdies and matched that pair with bogeys at 12 and 17 for a total of 33 points, Roy cobbled together his usual mixture of birdies, double bogeys and NRs for 32 points. Roy’s 2 under last seven holes gave him 18 homeward points which were sufficient to hold off the challenges of Garfield Bell and Ronan McCrory, both 7, who also had 32 points.

The middle section went to Paul McKernan with 33 points off 11, a last 7 of 16 points giving him the edge over golfing legends Johnny McEvoy and Denis McInerney, both 10. Paul immediately followed an early double bogey at three with a birdie at the next and thenceforth went from strength to strength.

Johnny’s heroics over the last couple of weeks reduced his 34 points by 2, but he had the consolation of finishing second in the section. His dream of a first outright win of the year looks increasingly remote as the handicap reductions mount up and the sands of time run out.

Denis must be feeling similarly frustrated as a series of good scores have finished out of the prizes by wafer thin margins. Even worse for him is that while he so frequently misses out, his great golfing rival Francis Tallon seems to be getting into the prizes every time he plays.

Martin King marked his return to the fairways after a short absence by lifting the high section with 33 points off 19. John Menary, 18, will regret a first half of just 12 points due to NRs at 2 and 8 and a triple bogey at 3, as a great last seven gave him 20 points and lifted him into second place in the section.

Coming as he does from one of the most meticulously prepared fourballs in the club he will already have prepared a plan of action to address the causes of those costly slips.

The gross winner was Francis Tallon, whose 3 under par back 9 made him the best of three players on 29 gross points, beating Gareth Moore and Peter Cummins.