The last club qualifying competition of the year took place yesterday with all sorts of loose ends to be tied up in both individual and fourball arrangements.
Some groups have little side interests like who will have effected the biggest handicap reduction over the year and some fourballs play a match each week as well as a best overall prize.
John McComb couldn’t have started and ended his season in more contrasting fashion. He began his campaign near the bottom in 131st place, but finished at the top of the tree with 40pts off 18. A noted winter campaigner it is probable his victory will have signalled a timely return to form.
Martin King will have enjoyed this season having lifted an outright win, runners-up spot and a myriad of smaller prizes, as well as seeing his handicap fall by 1.6. Â After 9 holes yesterday it looked like he would go out in a blaze of glory as he had 24pts, but 4 homeward double bogeys saw him miss out on the top prize over the back 9.
Third place went to Johnny McEvoy with 39pts off 11 and he was another player who sprinted out of the blocks only to trip at a few hurdles along the way. The first slip came with an NR at 6 but he immediately recovered with a birdie at 7. A steady if unspectacular finish saw him clinch the last podium place over the closing holes.
Raymond McCrory also had 39pts off 11 and took 4th place. Although he may be slightly disappoinetd at a faltering finish, he will be happy to remind people there is more than one golfer in the household.
The gross prize went to Martin McEvoy with 35 gross pts. He saved his worst start to a round this year until the last competition when he double bogeyed the first for the only time over the season. Birdies at 4, 9, 12 and 18 more than made up for this early and uncharacteristic slip. Surely one of the club’s most impressively consistent players his statistics make for impressive reading. Out of the 486 holes he has played in qualifying competitions at Lurgan this season he has had 60 birdies, 296 pars, 112 bogeys, 16 double bogeys and just 2 NRs.Â
The low section went to regular prize winner Alex Denver with 39pts off 5. What looked like being yet another very steady round was transformed into something potentially special with a hat-trick of birdies at 8, 9 and 10 for this player who was once more used to hat-tricks in a different sport on a Saturday afternoon. Despite a further birdie at 14 he was unable to climb onto the podium.
On 38pts came Nicky Campbell and Dwaine Hanna, both 6, and any disappointment they may feel will be more than overcome by their consequent arrival in Category 1 for at least the winter months.
Dwaine’s father Kenny, also had 38pts, off 14, and he took the middle section. Kenny and Wilson Collins play a fourball match each week against Colin Robb and Nigel Girvan with the winners most often over the season being treated to dinner by the losers. It is unclear if this good score of Kenny’s was sufficient to overcome a narrow lead recently enjoyed by Colin and Nigel. Perhaps we should watch out for the four boys dining some evening and try to spot who seems to be relishing every bite and who might appear to be choking a little.
Billy Leslie is sometimes referred to as King of the Mat so many are his successes in the Winter League. Perhaps he may have been so keen to get up and running that his 37pts, off 19, and success in the low section yesterday, were almost a false start to the League which got under way the very next day.