All of the podium spots in the Gent’s Open Stableford were filled by rapidly improving players whose handicap charts resemble the path taken by a ski jumper descending a giant ski jump.
Stephen Magee has seen his handicap fall from 20.4 to 16.1 in just 7 competitions and he took first place with 42pts off 19. But for his second NR in a row at 7 he would have found himself even lower but with a couple of weeks left in the season he may well do so shortly.
The runners-up spot went to Martin Patterson with 40pts off 13 and he has now seen his handicap plummet from 15.6 to 11.4 this season. Last week he had found himself with 20pts at the turn only to fritter shots away coming home to drift just out of the prizes. He found himself in similar circumstances yesterday but a much steadier return journey sent him home with a smile on his face.
Also on 40pts, off 17, was last week’s runner up Declan McAlinden and he has gone from 18.5 to 15.5 in just 2 competitions. Until yesterday he had scored at the 13th hole on every visit this year, so his NR there yesterday will have been particularly disappointing. Some players not normally associated with the gross prize battled it out for this week’s honour and it was won on the back 9 by Brian Doley with 28 gross pts. Brian played his usual very steady game and with the colder months ahead of us we may expect to see this winter specialist very prominent throughout.
David Erwin seemingly had the prize in his pocket as he had dropped just 4 shots over the first 16 holes but then inexplicably dropped a further 4 over the last two with double bogeys at 17 and 18. Fintan McCann, Martin Patterson and Rodger McIlwaine missed out on the bragging rights of a ‘glorious gross’ by a single point.