It is hard to believe there is just one week left in the first half of the Winter League and Saturday’s pleasant sunny conditions belied the fact we are approaching the year’s shortest day.
Colin Darling enjoyed the conditions to the full when his 35pts, off 16, matched the best score in the League to date and gave him the day’s top prize. He had nett birdies at half of the 14 holes in play and a double bogey at 11 was the day’s only slight blemish. This was his third good score in the League and with the best 4 cards counting towards overall individual prizes he needs just one more to be right up there in strong contention. Now that his beloved Crystal Palace are beginning to pick up points everything seems rosy in the garden at the moment.
The runners-up spot went to Stephen Loughran with 34pts off 7, bringing to an end an unusually lengthy spell of his absence from the podium. Birdies at 1 and 11 were the highlights of an impressive round of 1 over par and if he can repeat this next week he too will be in the running for overall individual recognition.
Paddy Meehan has been playing in the Winter League for many more years than the 33pts, off 9, which gave him third place. His round was consistency itself for the first 11 holes, bogeys at 5 and 14 being the only deviations from par. He immediately followed a birdie at the long 15th with an NR at the short 17th to provide a rather more turbulent finish to his round.
The gross prize went to Olcan Kearney after a level par round gave him 28 gross pts. This was the third consecutive level par round in the League for this extremely consistent performer. During those three rounds he has had 10 birdies which represents almost a quarter of the holes he has played, an achievement any golfer would aspire to.
Johnny McEvoy began the week by finishing runner-up in the Sunday Shop Sweep and ended it with 32pts, off 8, to take the low section in the Winter League. A birdie at 8 will have boosted his day’s winnings a little and no doubt he will be hoping to boost them further during this transitory spell of good form.
Alex Denver has been able to carry the blistering form he closed the summer season with into the League and his 31pts off 4 saw him finish runner-up in the section. Birdies at 10 and 12 helped him go round in just 1 over par.
Gerard Henderson’s successes this year have been largely confined to taking money off Denis McInerney, but he at last earned competition reward with 32pts, off 9, to take the middle section. Nevan Lavery, 9, also had 32pts but the handicap he incurred by winning top prize in week 1 of the League meant he had to be content with the runners-up prize in this week’s middle section.
Nigel Girvan’s noted long tee shots must mean he has been playing a lot of short irons on the shortened winter course. He used this advantage to the full to score 32pts, off 13, to take the high section, a double bogey at 14 denying him a place on the overall podium.
Although Gerard McCarron had 33pts off 16, he had to settle for second place in the section thanks to the handicap reduction earned by outright victory the previous week. He had been going along very nicely until his first ever NR at the 9th derailed things on him.