THE Fred McKinley competition was held last Saturday at Lurgan.
This stableford competition commemorates one of the legends of the club in the twentieth century. Rain had made ground conditions soft but the course held up and the greens were in tip top shape. There was little run on the ball for most of the two hundred and fourteen golfers. Still sixteen members battled and achieved under par returns. This approximated to just over seven per cent of the field.
Like the Wednesday competition another competitor found a rich vein of form and attained an enterprising score of 44 points. The winner was eleven handicapper William McMillan. This individual managed a consistent degree of scoring over the respective nines. He birdied his opening holes and dropped a stroke at the sixth. Pars were his lot on the other seven holes of the outward nine. His incoming nine comprised six more pars to accompany bogeys on holes eleven, thirteen and fourteen. He had a four point margin of victory over his closest challengers.
There were a couple of returns on the forty point bracket. When the calculations were done it was Mickey Horan who snatched the runners-up spot with his effort of 40 points. Playing off an eight handicap Mickey also played well on the respective sides of the course. He began with a birdie on the first but later surrendered shots on holes three, five and seven. On the back nine he birdied the twelfth but had a no-return on the fifteenth and a bogey on the sixteenth. More importantly pars were pencilled in the rest of the holes. This tidy play earned him second place.
The third overall prize went to the in-form Collie Nash Jnr. This twelve handicapper took the honours with a three under par effort of 39 points. He had a mediocre outward nine where a trio of pars at holes four, five and nine were his marquee scores. On the homeward journey he made much more of an impression. It began with back to back pars on holes ten and eleven. However his more pleasing moments were a trio of birdies on holes twelve, sixteen and eighteen. This enhanced play on this nine steered him towards this major net prize.
The gross award went to Conall Coleman with 35 gross points. This five handicapper was the other individual with a total of forty points. Conall made few errors along the way and if he did so he compensated with birdies. Holes one, six and eleven yielded the crucial birdies. Bogeys on holes three and nine and a double bogey on the fourteenth were his only wayward holes. Pars on the remaining twelve holes propelled him to the gross award.
On the day the low section prize went to Martin McNeice. This eleven handicapper triumphed with a tally of 39 points. Martin was the essence of consistency with just pars or bogeys on his winning card. On the front nine pars came his way at holes one, two, five, seven and eight. A similar scoring pattern emerged on the inward nine. Thus further pars came his way on holes ten, twelve, fifteen, seventeen and eighteen. On the day this sufficed to put him into the winning frame.
In the middle section another score of 39 points provided Jonathan Swift with sectional honours. This fifteen handicapper had a respectable front nine with pars at holes four, five and eight being the prominent returns. On the inward journey his rate of scoring was much improved. Pars at holes ten, twelve, thirteen, fourteen and eighteen pinpointed this recipe of success. Possibly double bogeys on holes seven and fifteen deprived him of an even higher placing. Indeed only three players in this group managed under par scores on the day.
In the high section Alistair McCaffrey emerged victorious with a score of 37 points. He was the only golfer under par in this category and he duly took the sectional prize. Playing off a nineteen handicap Alistair’s only par on the opening nine was at the fourth. Four double bogeys on the nine didn’t inspire any degree of confidence. However he showed resolve and steel on the back nine. A birdie on the twelfth and pars at holes ten, eleven, thirteen and seventeen hauled him right back into this winning situation.
The other returns under par came from the following golfers:
38 pts: Billy Hughes, David Johnston, Andrew Bann.
37 pts: Colin Thompson, Timmy Cummins, Gareth Smyth.