Having come up tantalisingly short of victory in Week 5, the tenacious Neill Dillon laughed off his consequent 1pt handicap reduction to take first place in Week 6 of the Winter League.
Birdies at 7 and 18 helped him go round in just 2 over par for 37 pts off 11, enough for victory despite that total being reduced by a 1pt handicap penalty.Veteran Wilson Collins made a welcome and long overdue return to the podium when he claimed the runners-up spot with 36pts off 12. Birdies at 1 and 8 contributed to a level par outward journey only for a bogey-double bogey start to his homeward run to threaten disaster. It took all of his considerable experience to steady the ship and drop just 1 shot over the closing 5 holes.
Ian McMurray could have been excused for feeling a little sea-sick after his round such were the peaks and troughs of his returns. Four birdies, at holes 2, 9, 10 and 17, sat alongside double bogeys at 3, 6 and 14, and he eventually took third place with 34pts off 9.
Two players returned scores below par with Francis Tallon’s 2 under, for 30 gross pts, taking the gross prize. His bogey at 3 was followed by birdies at 6, 15 and 18, with pars at each of the remaining 10 holes. The other player to shoot below par was Gary Clarke who went round in 1 under for 29 gross pts.
The low section proved to be a very close affair with 4 players on 32pts. The two prizes actually went to players who returned 33pts but carried a 1pt handicap reduction from previous success. Richard Budd took the top spot after recording birdies at 3, 7, 12 and 18. His only blemish was an NR at 10, the first time this dogged competitor has failed to score at that hole in over a year. Second place went to the extremely consistent Paul Lyness who balanced two birdies with two bogeys for a level par round and 33pts off 5. The unlucky players to miss out were the talented duo of George Harkness, 7, and Canice McGivern, 8.
Colin Robb took the middle section with 34pts off 10. He was playing alongside runner-up Wilson Collins and in many ways they shared a similar story in what must have been a ding-dong battle. Both stormed to the turn in quite brilliant fashion only to encounter potential disaster at 11 where Colin’s triple bogey ended his level par run. He then covered the last 5 holes in just 1 over to emulate his illustrious opponent and we wonder who eventually went home the richer. Zach Best, who seems to be in contention every time he plays recently, hardly put a foot wrong as he took second place in the section with 33pts off 9.
Alistair McCaffrey began his round on the 10th tee and by the time he reached the turn 4 double bogeys seemed to have blown his chance of success into oblivion. He then ran up a massive 20pts over his closing 7 holes to take the high section with 33pts off 18. Philip Ward came second with 31pts off 13. He had actually returned 33pts but his previous successes had incurred a 2pts reduction from his now almost annual winter handicap penalty.