If Conor McDonald was a little disappointed on Saturday after dropping three late shots to finish level par, he didn’t have to wait long to get over it.
He went out in pretty determined mood the very next day to shoot one of the best rounds on the course this year and easily take the Gent’s Open Stableford with 44pts off 3. 13 pars and birdies at 1, 10, 14, 15 and 17 all added up to a brilliant 5 under par 65, surely one of the rounds of his life. Well done to Conor who has seen his handicap drop to 2.4 after a memorable weekend which saw him shoot the best round of each day.
The runner-up was Paul McCahon with 41pts off 13. This was Paul’s best round of the year and his reduction to 12 means he will be competing in the low section for at least the duration of the winter months.
The last podium spot went to R J Corrigan from Royal Belfast with 39pts off 22.
Laurence McGrady shot a level par round for 36 gross pts and the day’s gross prize. Birdies at 2 and 12 were balanced by bogeys at 11 and 16 for a player who rarely strays above his handicap.
Eight players finished with 38pts and the computer sorted the places out according to the respective closing holes.
Mark Wells, 24, came fourth closely followed by Mark Headley and Paul Magee, both 5. Next came John O’Neill who has sprung to late season life. His first qualifying event of the year saw his handicap rise to 5.5 to move him out of Category 1 and it became his season’s focus to return. No fewer than 61 consecutive attempts failed to realise his dream but his 38pts yesterday saw his handicap drop to 5.3. Success at last! With just 2 qualifying competitions to come this season he will be desperate to hang on to his new status for at least the winter.
The other players on 38pts were Fergal Beattie from Loughgall G C, 23, Paul Lyness, 5, and Ronan McCrory, 3. Paul has spent his weekend contending at the top as he followed up Saturday’s winning score with a further reduction in handicap to 4.5.