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Jim Fleming at Portstewart Golf Club.
Jim Fleming at Portstewart Golf Club.
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HOME CLUB WINNER AT RPGC ALLIANCE

The weather took its toll on the entry for the Portstewart Meeting of the NW Alliance with just 54 playing.

While it was not just as bad as it could have been it was still very cold and blustery. Declan Kelly, from the host club Portstewart, hit 36 points over the sixteen hole winter layout of the Strand Course to get his first win on the Alliance tour, he ended up one in front of clubmate Chris Young on 35.

The top visiting player was Castlerock’s Jim O’Rorke with a points tally of 33. Paul Elliott from Rathmore also had his first Alliance prizewinning score with 32 points getting him into seventh place.

Portstewart’s new Pro, Neil Graham, took part in the days play although I don’t see his score in the list provided, some day, Neil! The final placings were three 32 pointers from Castlerock’s Gilbert Fallows and Marty Hughes and Stephen Henry from Portstewart.

IT’S MICHAEL’S SWEEP IN TIE BREAKER

Michael O’Donovan, playing off one, came out best in a tie break at Castlerock on Saturday to win the sweep with 26 points over the thirteen holes in play.

He played the front six holes in regulation level par to take 12 points into the second stage. Michael gets his only handicap shot at the twelfth and duly parred it as well for three points.

Another three points came at thirteen with a birdie three to keep Michael ahead of the course. His first dropped shot of the round came with a six on the par five fifteenth but this was soon history as the short “Summit” fell to a two for yet another three pointer. Two bogies to finish took the shine off a good round and put Michael into a tie break with runner up Ronnie McMullan with his 26 points. The thirteen handicapper had scored better than Michael on his way out, hitting two three pointers, with 14 points carded at the turn.

His disappointing six on twelve was compounded by an even more disappointing blank on fifteen and another one pointer at the short sixteenth. Those three holes proved to be crucial in the countback as they limited Ronnie to 12 back against Michael’s 14.

Third spot was taken by sixteen handicap Andrew Millican with 25 points. Andrew started the day with two three pointers and added two more at four and five before missing out on a score at six. 14 points were on the card though and the up and down round continued for Andrew with one point coming from twelve and two more three pointers from thirteen and fourteen.

Things slipped away from Andrew after that and he ran out with just 11 points from the last seven to get to 25 for the day.

GOOD FINALE FOR EAMON AT RATHMORE

On a day of high scores Rathmore GC’s Winter League Eamon Donnelly hit a birdie two at the final hole to win the day by a single point.

He scored 44 points from his fourteen handicap to edge out Uel Loughery on 43. After double bogeying the second Eamon recovered to knock in a three for birdy on five and dropped just two shots to par after that.

This gave him 22 points for the outward nine. A very similar pattern came from the back nine with two shots going west via a six on thirteen, dropped shots appearing on sixteen and seventeen and a final closing birdy for three points on the last hole for another 22.

Uel was ahead at the halfway stage with 23 points scored. He had picked up birdies on four, five and eight and dropped no shots in compiling his front nine score. Uel’s final birdie was his four on the tenth and his only dropped shot of the round came with his five at sixteen.

This gave him 20 back and secured his second spot by two points from Gerard Bradley who finished on 41. The 12 handicapper was four over for the outward nine for 20 points before hitting the birdie trail with a four on ten and a two on eleven. A few shots drifted away after that but the main telling point came at eighteen where no score was returned and a great score became a good one.

JP McKnight was fourth with 40 points. He failed to register on nine to turn with 20 points secured but struck a birdie four on ten to boost his chances. Twelve and seventeen however gave JP nothing for the card and he ran out in fourth spot.

Best Gross went to Trevor Stewart for his four over par 73. He was three over after nine but picked up birdies with a four on ten and a three on sixteen. Three dropped shots meant a one over par back nine to end his round on four over gross.

JOHN FREEMAN TROPHY

Des and Brian Walker topped Section One in week four of the John Freeman Trophy.

Des was first with 35 points, 17 of which came from the front nine even with a blank at the seventh. His steadier back nine gave up 18 points to keep Des one clear of Brian on 34. Brian just fell short of playing to his handicap with 17 points going out. His birdy three on fifteen made up for shots lost with double bogey on fourteen and he was able to match the front nine to finish on 34.

Section Two gave the higher scores of the day with Thomas Hayes scoring 39 to win it. He blanked the fourth and took some time to get back on track, a few double bogeys appearing and hampering his scoring to just 16 points. Better was to follow as Thomas knocked in a birdie two on eleven and restricted his dropped shots much better than the front nine.

He pulled 23 points from the inward half and got to 39 overall to finish one in front of Des Morrison on 38. Des dropped very few shots going out and, even though he missed scoring at the third, he managed to get 20 points lodged by the turn for home. Des then played to his handicap to add 18 back for his runner up placing.

MIGHTY QUINN WINS AT THE ROCK

Gary Quinn used his thirteen shots well at Castlerock at the weekend to nab the Weekly Stableford competition on countback.

He played comfortably for the first six of the thirteen holes in play to get 12 points on the card at the turn and things got better from there in. Five consecutive pars meant fifteen points to Gary so, even with a bogey, double bogey finish he still gathered another 18 points from the back seven to get to 30 points total with a good tiebreak score as well.

Four players had tied on 30 points but James Douglas was the first to suffer in the breaking procedure. James was playing off nine on the shortened layout and was ahead of his handicap after six with 13 points scored. He picked up three for a par at the short fourteenth but claimed just one from the next to go back to level twos for the back seven.

The Summit, the short sixteenth, gave up a two for three more points and this was a spur to James as he plucked six points from the last two holes to end up with 30 points. His 17 back proved to be just one short of the winner’s tally.

The High Section was taken by another 30 pointer, Tony Gahan, playing off twelve. He was four over par for the opening six with 14 points coming from these. After an untidy start to the second half Tony finished par, birdie, par for nine points.

These helped him to 16 back and 30 overall. Gary Gaile was the last of the 30 pointers and took top prize in the Low Section. With just four shots coming to him Gary coped well, dropping his only shot in the front six at the opening hole.

That steady form stayed with him to the end with no further shots being dropped and a nice birdie four being struck at seventeen. In the Senior stakes in was Roy Deans who came to the top with 28 points being lodged. Roy blanked the first and took just one point at the third before settling down to get 11 points from the opening six. That settled condition lasted to the end as Roy pulled 17 points from the course to finish on 28.

PADDY WINS AT RPGC

Four handicapper Paddy O’Donnell scored 37 points to win the Stabeford Competition at Royal Portrush on Saturday.

His steady progress on the front nine was only interrupted by a bogey on the seventh hole, all the rest were parred, and this performance gave Paddy 19 points. The long tenth gave him his only birdie of the round but his play was consistent enough to drop just three shots from there and take 18 points from the inward nine to get to 37 for the day.

Gary Stevenson matched this total but lost out in the tiebreak machinations to end up with the Silver position. Steven McCann, with a series of blanks on his way out and some great shooting on the back nine took just 14 points from the opening nine and 22 coming in for his 36 which clinched the Bronze for him.

Gerry McAleese, even with running up an eight on the long ninth, took the Best Gross with his round of 77. He was out in 40 and back in 37 with a good birdie four on seventeen helping.

DEREK TAKES PORTSTEWART MEDAL

Derek Browne scored an impressive net 53 at Portstewart on Saturday to win the Medal Competition by a single shot. The nineteen handicapper played the fourteen holes utilised in four under his handicap to push Robert Thompson into runners up spot. Robert scored a gross 70 which nets down to 54.