There was a tight finish to Sunday’s Gent’s Open Stableford when two players returned scores of 42pts.
Paul McConaghy, 13, has been playing close to his handicap all year and made the long anticipated breakthrough to take his first victory of the season. Birdies at 4 and 10 and double bogeys at 7 and 13 saw him score 21pts each 9 and take the top spot on the back 9.
Anselm Henry, 5, played the best of his golfing career to date when he came roaring out of the starting blocks to score birdies at 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9. With no slip-ups to accompany these he was 5 under par at the turn with a massive 26pts on the card. When he birdied 10 it seemed the sky was the limit for his round but bogeys at 11 and 14 provided a setback. A birdie at 15 left him 5 under par before a bogey, bogey, double bogey finish saw him finish at 1 under par. After winning the Longest Drive prize on last Captain’s Day it seems he may be in the running for something much better next week.
Third place went to Garry Scullion with 40pts off 17. He had 22pts at the turn and was well in the running until an NR at 14 was immediately followed by a double bogey.
Slow and smooth swinging Shaun Donnelly took 4th place with 39pts off 8. Level with his handicap at the turn he birdied 10 and 12 on his way to 21 homeward pts.
Bill Leslie had a pair of NRs at 7 and 8 but clung onto the coat tails of the leaders with 17 outward points. This winter specialist turned on the turbo to go racing up the leader board with 21pts on the back 9 to take 5th place. Those 21 homeward pts enabled him to hold off the challenge of Jim McKee who also had 38pts, off 4. Jim managed to edge Niall Magee out of the prizes over the last 6 holes. Niall has seen his handicap drop from 19.1 to 17.0 in just under a fortnight.
John O’Neill enjoyed his third handicap reduction in a month when he took the gross prize after a 1 over par round for 35 gross pts. A birdie at 4 and bogeys at 1, 3, 5 and 6 left him 3 over par with 12 holes to play. Further birdies at 7 and 12 saw him play those 12 holes in 2 under par. This round moved his handicap to 5.0 and comfortably back into Category 1 where he will be hoping to remain for an extended period.