Winter League Week 5
Henry McAreavey began the first half of the Winter League with a victory and looks like he is closing the second half in similar fashion after lifting top prize in Week 5 with 37pts off 11. A string of lesser prizes between those victories incurred a winter handicap reduction of 1pt, but he was still the clear winner. Beginning each half of his round with a birdie, he was level par with two holes remaining, and a pair of closing bogeys failed to lessen that wide, winning smile which has lasted all week.
Second place went to Martin King whose 35pts, off 14, was his best score of the winter. With 18pts after the first 7 holes and birdies at 10 and 12, he seemed to be coasting to victory only to drop 5 shots over the last 4 holes.
It is not like Kieran McCorry to go over 5 months without a prize, but it seems he has put that barren spell behind him with 34pts, off 13, to take 3rd place. An opening birdie helped him reach the turn with 18pts on his card, and it was only a double bogey at 11 which denied him greater reward.
Only two players managed to break par with Gary Clarke’s closing holes narrowly giving him the gross prize over Francis Tallon. Both went round in 1 under par for 29 gross pts. Gary had bogeys at 2 and 3 and was 2 over par at the turn, but his birdies at 12, 14 and 17 were to prove the decisive factor.
After a relatively quiet spell, Billy Bateman roared back to his best to take the low section with 32pts off 7. Three over par at the turn, he opened and closed his return journey with a birdie and bogey respectively to claim his first prize in a little while.
Damian Murphy had his first outing of the year and his round combined a little rustiness with his normal competence. He had 4 birdies, 7 pars, 1 bogey and 2 NRs on his way to 31pts, off 4, and 2nd place in the section. Joe Dowey Jnr, 5, and Francis Tallon, 3, had 32pts each but previous winter success handicapped them out of the prizes.
Neil Dillon prepared for his elevation to Club Captaincy with some sparkling golf to take the middle section with 33pts off 11. Four over par at the turn, he began the back 7 with an eagle at 10 and strengthened his position even further with a birdie at 17. He will be disappointed that having opened the back 7 so brilliantly, he was to close it with a double bogey.
Stephen Cordner took 2nd place with 32pts off 10. He played really well for most of his round exemplified by no fewer than 10 pars, but double bogeys at 3 and 15 kept him down the pecking order.
Walter Simpson took the high section for the second consecutive week with 31pts off 16, despite carrying a 1pt handicap reduction from previous success.
Second place in the section went to Colin Atkinson with 30pts off 13. He made scarcely a mistake until a double bogey at the last rather spiked his chances.