The curtain came down on a very entertaining Winter League at Ballycastle with team Clarke overturning a five point deficit on the final weekend to win this year’s competition.
Team Clarke timed their dash to the finish line perfectly, scoring maximum points in each of the last two weekends to give them a winning total of 64 points.
Club Captain Robin McHugh was the leader of team Clarke and he was ably assisted by Aiden Higgins, Seamus Killough, Barney McCahery, Patrick Dallat jnr, Paul McCloskey, Liam McLaughlin and Patrick Dixon, whose eight card total of 274 was the best individual score in the team.
Runners-ups in the league were team Goosen, who jumped from fourth to second with an eight point haul in the final week giving them an overall total of 61 points.
Derek Bell captained team Goosen and his team-mates were Hugh Sayers, George McVeigh, Chris Kelly, Patrick Campbell, Pearse Donnelly, Eamon McIlroy and Jonathan McBride.
Eamon and Jonathan had a great tussle for the individual prize in the team with Eamon taking it on the ninth card after they had both finished with a total of 266 points.
Last week’s leaders, team Daly had a disappointing end to their Winter League campaign as they only mustered two points in the final week to slip down into third place with a total of 61 points.
Things could have been even worse for team Daly as they were very nearly nudged out of the prizes altogether by team Azinger who finished a single agonising point behind them in fourth place. Michael Campbell captained team Daly and alongside him were David Getty, Gerry Norwood, Denis Allen, Louis Sweeney, Peter Dowds, Gerald McGuckian and Owen Kennedy who picked up the individual prize in the team with a total of 263 points.
Also winning individual prizes in the Winter League this year was Allan McCook from team Azinger with 265 points, Martin Morgan from team Ballesteros with 264 points and Danny Taggart from team Harrington with 255 points.
The race for the Overall Individual title in the Winter League was one of the closest ever this year and went right down to the very last hole with Michael Close emerging victorious on an impressive eight card total of 282, an average of over 35 points for the sixteen holes each week. Michael from team Immelman carded a crucial 37 points on Sunday to improve his total by a dozen and this helped him finish just ahead of Declan McCarry from team Faldo who also returned an excellent 37 points on Sunday to improve his total by six and leave him with a superb eight card tally of 279 points.
As a result of Michael’s overall win, the member of team Immelman with the next best score received the team prize and Francis og McGinn was in the perfect position to take advantage of this good fortune with the budding young golfer finishing ahead of the rest of his team-mates on a total of 242 points.
Another young golfer making a big impact in his team was Niall McGarry who carded a sensational 41 points on the last day to give him a total of 252 points and whisk the individual prize away from under the noses of fellow team Els members Gerry McGouran, Lawrence McQuillan and Gerry Gillan.
As it turned out, Niall’s great score on Sunday also saved his team-mates from getting the wooden spoons this year with those dreaded kitchen utensils going to the members of team Faldo instead.
Ballycastle Golf Club would once again like to express its thanks to P.J. McIlroy & Son for their sponsorship of the enjoyable Winter League competition. All the winners mentioned above will receive their prizes at the Men’s Annual Dinner which takes place in the clubhouse on Saturday 24th March at 7.30pm.
There was tremendous scoring in the section two stableford competition on Sunday with Niall McGarry, playing off fourteen, covering the sixteen holes in four over par to give him a winning score of 41 points. Second place went to Barney McCahery, playing off eighteen, with a total of 40 points which included a brilliant one over par back nine yielding an incredible 26 points!
The top three in section one all recorded 36 points on Sunday with Eoin McCloskey finishing first thanks to his one under par back nine which earned him 23 points. Gerry McGouran’s 21 point back nine ensured he collected the second prize ahead of Gerard Waide on count-back. Danny Taggart broke the hearts of all those making a two on Sunday as he went one better, recording a hole-in-one at the par three 13th!
Sean McCormick won Saturday’s section one competition with a total of 38 points. John Armstrong finished second and Michael Page was third ahead of Liam McLaughlin on count-back after all three members returned 36 points. Aiden Higgins won the section two competition with a score of 38 points, Donal Gillan was second with 37 points and Allan McCook finished third with 36 points.
Vincent Gallagher won last week’s Wednesday open competition at Ballycastle with a total of 35 points. Steven Devlin finished second, Paul McKillen third and Allan McCook fourth, all with scores of 34 points over the sixteen holes.
Ballycastle Golf Club are holding open competitions next Saturday, Sunday and Monday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Saturday’s competition will be an open stableford with the winner awarded the Louis Sweeney Cup. Sunday’s competition will be a ladies & gents open fourball betterball and Monday’s competition will be a ladies & gents open stableford. As an added bonus for members on Sunday, the leading pair in the fourball betterball competition will also be invited to represent the club in this year’s Irish Daily Mail All-Ireland Foursomes Trophy.