The season’s second trophy of the season was played for in very pleasant conditions on Saturday and Neale McKinstry got his campaign off to a great start by lifting the Baird Cup with 40pts off 10. After missing a string of birdie putts over the first 17 holes he confidently converted a 12 footer chance at the last to win the trophy by the narrowest of margins.
Henry McAreavey, 14, looked as if he was about to land the trophy until an NR at 17 spoiled his chances. This was Henry’s first time of the year to fail to score at that hole and his disappointing finish was in stark contrast to Neale’s sparkling closure.
Having finished runner-up on the previous Saturday, Tony Gallery found a place on the podium again when he took 3rd place with 39pts off 11. After a 7 over par front 9 he began his journey home with a pair of birdies and his 22 back 9 points were to prove decisive. Tony will have every reason to be feeling confident about his prospects for the season after springing out of the blocks so quickly.
Davy Moore, 12, will have similar confidence after following last week’s 3rd place finish with a 4th place prize this week. Birdies at 8 and 11 had put him into a very strong challenging position but double bogeys at 14 and 17 meant he missed out on the last podium spot on the back 9. But for a couple of slight errors the first two weeks of the season could so easily have started out as the Tony and Davy Show.
The gross award went to Gary Clarke with 36 gross pts. His level par round saw 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey, and he will be pleased to have gone one better than his runner-up finish in the previous week’s gross. You would have to have some sympathy for crack of dawn golfer Gareth Moore whose birdies at 1, 5, 9 and 10 had seen him move to 1 under par after 16 holes. His pushed tee shot at 17 was last seen heading towards the fir trees behind the 14th green and was never seen again. This most uncharacteristic mistake saw his chances slip away and he finished in 2nd place for the gross with 35 gross pts.
The low section went to Dairmuid Mitchell with 38pts off 9. His birdies at 11 and 14 were the major contributors to his 20 back 9 points. Ian Cousins, 11, has found some sparkling form of late and he missed out on the back 9 thanks to double bogeys at 14 and 16.
David Greene opened with a birdie and despite double bogeys at 7 and 13 he took the middle section with 39pts off 16. This was David’s fourth top ten finish in a row so it would seem a really big score is just around the corner.
The high section went to Graham McNeill with 38pts off 21. A few outward errors left him with 17pts at the turn but there were no further slips and 21pts coming home easily secured his prize.