The annual competition for the Johnston Trophy was held last Saturday and some very good performances by the club’s low men saw the main prizes being claimed by Category 1 golfers. After a pair of opening pars, James Horan’s drive at the 3rd found water and his consequent NR at the hole seemed to have signalled the end of his chances of glory. An eagle at 4 got him back on track however, and late birdies at 14, 15 and 18 completed a spectacular revival to claim victory with 43pts off 4, his 23 homeward pts proving decisive. There was a poignant note to his victory as just one year ago, almost to the day, his young friend, John Watts, an improving and enthusiastic golfer, died tragically. James had John very much in his mind as he played the closing holes of his fantastic round and wanted to dedicate his victory to John’s memory.
The runners-up spot went to Ryan Harbinson who had a 2 under par round for 43pts off 4, just missing out on the trophy on the back 9. An opening birdie and eagle at 4 helped him reach the turn in two under par, and a level par return journey saw his handicap tumble to 4.2. Ryan’s handicap has been consistently tumbling for quite a while and it seems like a very successful season lies ahead for him.
Keith Percy had been wondering if a niggling back injury carried over from his football days would hamper his golf this season, but he needn’t have concerned himself too much as he followed up a 4th place finish in the Malcolm Trophy last week with 40pts off 4 to take 3rd place this week. Three birdies matched three bogeys for a level par round and what seems certain to be the first of many podium visits this year.
Johnny McEvoy returned his second handicap bursting score of the week to take 4th place with 40pts off 11. Having begun the week playing off 12, he now finds himself off 9 and continuing the long struggle to match the Category 1 status of brother-in-law Francis Tallon.
Three players returned scores of 1 under par to contest the gross prize with David Sutton’s back 9 of 34 giving him the edge. Ronan McCrory missed out on the back 9 despite three birdies over the last 4 holes.
Andrew Cummins was the third player on 1 under but he had the not inconsiderable consolation of winning the low section with 40pts off 3. Just behind him on 39pts came Colin Thompson, 3, and Brian Scullion, 4.
The middle section went to Sean McEvoy with 38pts off 17, with Sean Scullion, 14, and Kenny Hanna, 13, in hot pursuit on 37pts.
Hugh McCloskey, 20, and Harry Hoy, 19, each had 36pts with Hugh’s back 9 giving him the prize in the high section.