Fourteen handicapper Dean McLaughlin grabbed the Hastings Hill Cup with both hands at Portstewart at the weekend by outscoring the rest by three points.
He had scored 15 points for the opening five holes, including a birdie three at the second, before his only stumble of the day came with a five and no points, at the short fifth. After a single point at seven he recovered his composure to pick up two pars for six points and he finished the opening nine with 22 points in the bag.
The short twelfth and the par five fourteenth gave up just two points between them before Dean got into top gear again and parred the last four to add another twelve points to take his tally to 43.
Dean’s closest rival was Mark Scott who ended his round with 40 points. Two single point holes in an otherwise profitable front nine saw Mark on 19 points at the turn. His next dropped point came, after a run of five pars, with a four at the fifteenth but it was to be the last as the ten handicapper ended the back nine two over par and the eighteen six over for 40 points and second place. In the Low Section Russell Stewart equalled the winner’s front nine score of 22 points.
This included a birdie two at the sixth and a three at the ninth. Russell’s good form held up until the long fourteenth where no return came via a nasty seven. He finished well but that blank meant 17 points, 39 overall and a Section win only. The High Section was taken with a 38 point haul from thirteen handicap Brian McNeill and the shot he got back earlier in the year was finally returned as a result.
Things were going along nicely for five holes but went off the boil for Brian at eight with a one pointer. Same again at seven before a blank slipped onto the card at nine. Just 16 points carded at that point and the stop at the hut was welcomed. No more single pointers from there in, in fact birdies popped up at the short twelfth and long fourteenth to see him sign for a 22 point back nine and 38 total.
Mark Kilgore went round in two under par to win the Best Gross prize with the resulting 70. His first birdie came with a three at the long par four fifth and he went one better when he dropped in an eagle three at the par five seventh. A bogey followed at eight but he was out in 35 shots, one under par. Ten produced another bogey and Mark had to wait until sixteen for his next birdie, then two came! Seventeen also fell to a three for a back nine score of 35, matching the front, giving him 70 and his prize.