Winter League Week 4
Although Spring is becoming more evident by the day, Saturday reminded golfers that we are still very much in the grip of Winter as a frozen course made conditions both difficult and, at times, comical.
Shots looking as if they were destined to result in birdie putts bounced high and found entirely unpredictable lies. 126 entered the competition which was played over 14 holes, and just 2 managed to score more than 30pts.The conditions didn’t produce too many problems for the experienced and talented Trevor Turnbull as he skated to 32pts, off 18, and victory. With 17pts at the turn, a birdie at 12 strengthened his position even further, and he could even afford the luxury of an NR at the last and still claim victory.
The runners-up spot went to Declan McAlinden with 31pts off 12. A birdie at 8 had helped him to 17pts at the turn, and his only blemish of the day appeared with a double bogey at 15 to deny him his first victory in some time.
It was no surprise to see veteran campaigner Walter Simpson yet again ascend the podium when his 30pts , off 16, gave him 3rd place. His conservative play reduced the difficulties of the course to a minimum, and with a nett eagle, 4 nett birdies and very few slips elsewhere, he notched up yet another very creditable score.
No players were able to equal or better par and only Gary Clarke could get close to it as his 1 over par round gave him 27 gross pts and the gross prize. His normal cascade of birdies was restricted to just 1, at the opening hole, the first time his card has been confined to a single birdie since Halloween.
Canice McGivern spent the morning yo-yoing in and out of contention before lifting the low section with 29pts off 8. Just 1 over on the 9th tee he closed his outward run with a triple bogey to put him back among the also rans. A birdie at 11 revived his fortunes before double bogeys at 12 and 14 provided an unwelcome reversal. Runner-up in the section was Garfield Harrison with 28pts off 5. Birdies at 10 and 18 provided the perfect opening and closure to his homeward run, but the triple bogey in the middle of that run, the 14th, didn’t do him any favours. The middle section went to another of the Harrison all-rounders when Alan scored 30pts off 12. This was his third prize of the month and the consequent handicap reduction meant his score was reduced by 1pt. His 17pts over the back 7 holes gave him the edge in a very tight finish to the section.
There is just no stopping the Best family at the moment and on this occasion, it was patriarch Andrew’s turn to shine by coming 2nd in the section with 29pts off 12. He parred half of the 14 holes, but his 4 double bogeys prevented an even better placing. Noel Stewart started his round at lunchtime and had been well warned about the problems presenting themselves on the frozen course. His 6 shots dropped before the turn reflected those problems, but a brilliant eagle at 10 got the adrenalin running and he came within a whisker of a prize with 29pts off 9.
Darryl McErlean played with the head to adapt his big-hitting game to the conditions and take the high section with 29pts off 13. He always looked in control as he completed the steadiest of steady round.
Club Captain Barry Mulholland played as if reflecting the beautiful afternoon winter conditions with sunshine golf to take the runners-up spot with 29pts off 13, and It seemed appropriate that he was accompanied by local travel agent Terry Murphy.
The 12th hole just keeps getting easier and easier for Terry McCrory. Previous to Saturday he had gone par-par-par followed by birdie-birdie, so his hole-in-one on Saturday could well have elicited little more than a shrug of the shoulders from him. The 12th was a temporary green which presented insurmountable problems for many players on the day, and it would be interesting to hear of the route the ball took on its way to the hole. Well done Terry on surely one of the most improbable holes-in-one ever in the club.