THE draw for the matchplay stage of the Haughton Smyth Cup has been made and, as always, there are plenty of intriguing games.
Here are the eight first round pairings:
1.Philip Mallon (9) versus Bill McCandless (6). Philip is a fine player but he is not a big fan of matchplay. Bill could win this without breaking sweat.
2.Jim Cochrane (11) versus Rory Madeley (3). Jim is also a better than average player but he is up against one of the best match-players in the club. Rory should prove to be too strong.
3.Kieran Magennis (5) versus Jonathan Shannon (5). This could be the match of the round. They are both 5 handicappers and neither will want to lose. It could go to extra holes.
4.Connor Mulholland (7) versus John Bell (6). John is one of the most consistent players in the club. He will go round close to level par and Connor will have to match that. He won’t find it easy.
5.Luke Woods (5) versus Ryan Simpson (12). On paper, Luke should win this game but Ryan will not go down without a fight. There could be a shock result here.
6.Garth McDonald (16) versus Paul McAleavey (5). Paul is a past winner of the Haughton Smyth Cup and he is keen to win it again. Garth is up against it, big time.
7.Brendan Berry (16) versus Callum McCandless (7). Brendan had the best qualifying score. It would a shame if he went out in round one. The two shots he lost off his handicap could prove crucial.
8.Jonathan Ward (3) versus Adam McGregor (10). Jonathan would like to get his name on this trophy. He should be able to beat Adam but I wouldn’t bet on it.
There you have it, the first round draw. There will be a shock result or two before we reach the final. It does favour the low handicap player. Jonathan Ward and Rory Madeley are the two lowest handicappers in the field. They could very well meet in the final.
On the other hand, it could end up with a father and son in the final. Bill McCandless and his son Callum are in different halves of the draw. Wouldn’t that be something special if they both made it to the final.