Winter League Week6
The Winter League hasn’t been short of drama so far with big scores, close finishes and holes in one, and the penultimate week was no exception as it included the closest of close finishes, a hole in one and no scarcity of the usual hard luck stories.
Eric Allen has variously attributed some recent mediocre golf to a poor shoulder turn, static hips, tight hands and other anatomical mishaps. He could be heard humming the children’s song, ‘Hands, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ on Saturday, and it seemed to bring everything into complete alignment as he strode majestically to victory with 34pts off 11. While there may have been an element of good fortune in converting a 30 ft putt at the 2nd , and leaving a recovery shot stone dead from deep in the trees to the left of the green at the 3rd, both for par, there was nothing but golfing class at the next. A long straight drive was followed by a 6 iron rifled to 10 ft for his best birdie chance of the day, only to see his putt agonisingly sit on the edge of the hole. The only time he threatened to blow his chances was when his third at the 15th was one of those shots where the ball soars vertically skywards and the rocket launcher goes straight down the middle.
Second place went to Stephen Loughran with 34pts off 8. He finished the first 7 holes he played with 3 birdies and the homeward 7 holes with 3 bogeys. It was those slips over his closing trio of holes which denied him victory.
Colin Atkinson also had 34pts, off 13, but his previous successes had resulted in a 1pt handicap reduction which relegated him from 1st to 3rd. Six over at the turn had left him a little in the wilderness, but he dropped just 1 shot on the way home to push him into contention.
The only player to break par on the day was, certainly not for the first time, Gary Clarke. His birdies at 1, 14 and 18 were countered with a bogey at 8 for a round of 2 under par, 30 gross pts and the days gross prize.
Kevin McKavanagh’s 3 week absence from the prizes was his longest spell without reward in quite some time, but he brought that to an end with 33pts, off 5, to lift the low section. Bogeys at 6 and 8 left him 2 over at the turn, while birdies at 15 and 18 brought him home in 2 under for a typical level par round for him.
Timmy Cummins followed birdies at 1 and 8 with birdies at 3 and 10 for another level par round. This gave him 31pts, off 3, and 2nd place in the section.
The middle section went to Mark Vaughan who had an up and down round for 32pts off 12. Double bogeys at 9 and 11 had left him trailing the leaders a little, but a birdie at 14 remedied those slip ups to give him his first prize of the winter.
You couldn’t have a more ‘down and up’ start to your round than Patrick O’Neill who followed an NR at the first with a hole-in-one at the second. It seems no time since we were reporting upon a hole-in-one he had at the 12th and upon the contrasting stories of how it had been effected. His reports of a high soaring shot were in contrast to other witnesses who spoke of a ribbed shot along the ground and around the houses before it found the hole. It will be interesting to see if similar contrasting stories emerge after his latest ace. His 32pts, off 9, were enough to give him second place in the section for a nice little added bonus to his day’s efforts. Henry McAreavey actually had 33pts, off 11, but his stunning achievements of recent months handicapped him out of the prizes.
Trevor Turnbull continued his great form to take the high section with 33pts off 18. Overall winner just a couple of weeks ago, he will be starting to host visions of a successful season coming up.
Marathon walker Ronnie Bruce came 2nd in the section with 33pts off 22. Towards the end of his round it looked as if he might be going to win the day only for double bogeys at 14 and 15, and a closing NR, to relegate him to the section prizes.