The festive golf season finally teed off on Saturday when the course opened for the first time in almost two weeks after over generous helpings of snow, ice, slush and rain.
About 70 enthusiastic golfers were given a temporary reprieve from pre Christmas domestic duties to compete and despite the enforced lay-off it was clear from the scores returned that there had been no diminishment in standards of golf.
William McMillan has been an ever present since the start of the Winter League and on each of his outings, bar one, he has equalled or bettered his handicap. He was to claim victory on Saturday after his level par round gave him 34pts off 6. Birdies at 2 and 9 matched bogeys at 6 and 7 for 17 outward pts and 7 straight pars on the way back secured his victory over that homeward stretch.
Vice Captain Barry Mulholland is another ever present since the start of the League with a similarly impressive CV of scores from his winter golf to date. He too had 34pts, off 13, to take the runners-up spot and enhance his recently acquired collection of prizes from his impressive golfing form. 7 pars and 7 bogeys exemplified that form and his determined approach to the game.
Third place went to Stephen Cordner with 33pts off 10. You never have to wait too long for Stephen to pop up among the prizes and his 5 bogeys and 9 pars were sufficient to put him onto the podium yet again.
Gerard McCarron, 16, and Henry McAreavey, 11, each had 32pts to contest 4th place with Gerard’s 18pts over the back 7 holes giving him the edge. Three double bogeys over the front 7 holes saw Gerard reach the turn with a relatively modest 14pts suggesting his winter avalanche of prizes might have come to an end, but he then replicated his form of the last few weeks on the way home.
Henry was 6 over par after 6 holes but a pair of birdies immediately followed and he almost found a spot on the podium with a late surge which saw him cover the last 8 holes in just 1 over par.
Although he didn’t find a place among the prizes Ronan McCrory will be pleased with a level par round which saw him score 30pts off 2 and continue a remarkable run of winter scores liberally peppered with birdies. His last 6 rounds have gone -1, -2, -5, +1, -1 and level leaving him -8 for that extremely impressive stretch.
Nathan McCann made an immediate return to the prizes on his holiday break from college in America when he took the gross after a brilliant round of 4 under par for 32 gross pts. A bogey at 2 was followed by birdies at 7, 9 and 10 and an eagle at 15, leaving us wondering if he is a student or teacher at that college. Well done Nathan and welcome home.