Sunday’s Shop Sweep was played in the most difficult conditions of the winter so far after a heavy overnight frost left players to contend with frozen greens and the most unpredictable of bounces throughout the course.
The only player who managed to play below his handicap was Garfield Bell who took the day’s top prize with 30pts off 8. A total of 8 pars and 6 bogeys was very impressive in the conditions and reflected the all weather competence of this frequent visitor to the podium. He will be very happy with his round, and with the Ulster Rugby Team in such poor form at the weekend he may even be harbouring thoughts of a return to the panel.
Neil Totten took the runners-up spot with 28pts off 17. He managed to keep his ball in play to score at each hole, one of the few players on the day able to manage that.
Third place went to James McGarrell with 27pts off 10. He played his round early in the day and had to contend with the worst of the day’s conditions so to find a place on the podium from that starting point was commendable indeed.
Serial prize winners Canice McGivern and Raymond McCrory, both 8, took 4th and 5th places respectively with 27pts, Raymond being relegated from 3rd place after the application of the winter handicapping system. Canice might be advised to take a photograph of the results on the board at the moment as his name currently appears on almost every page and it is unlikely that will happen to him again in the near future.
Michael Beattie, 13, and Stephen Cordner, 10, both returned 26pts with Michael’s back 7 giving him the edge into 6th place.
The gross prize went to Michael McSherry with 24 gross pts. The highlights of his round were birdies at the two homeward par 5, 15 and 18. His birdie at 15 was the only one recorded at that hole on the day.
The conditions were such that only two twos were recorded on the day so Barry Magee and Rory Brady were happy men indeed. Barry had his at the 11th while Rory scored his at the 12th.