Alan and Colin lead the qualifiers for final stages

Captain Bill McCandless was one of the qualifiers for the Haughton Smyth Cup final stages.

Captain Bill McCandless was one of the qualifiers for the Haughton Smyth Cup final stages.

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It was the Haughton Smyth qualifier at Banbridge Golf Club last Saturday.

This is a rather unique competition. The eight best nett scores and the eight best gross scores qualify for matchplay finals. You could say that the eventual winner is the complete all-round golfer.

It was bitterly cold last Saturday and not the most pleasant day for playing golf. Nevertheless, the standard of scoring was highly impressive.

The eight best nett scores came from Alan McGowan (15), who came in with a nett 62, Jamie Thompson (9) shot a nett 65, Simon Shaw (18) carded a nett 65, Malcolm Russell (8) a nett 66, Gerard Degney (18) signed for a nett 66, Brian Mulholland (12) a nett 66, Philip Strong (22) brought in a nett 66 and Norman Robb (25) a nett 67.

The eight best gross scores were Colin Wilton (1) with a 71, Alan McVey (6) a 74, Barry Tumilty (6) a 75, Kenny Stevenson (2) a 75, Bill McCandless (6) a 76, Mark McCoy (6) a 76, Matthew Mallon (6) a 76 and Kerry McCluskey (9) a 77.

Those 16 names will go into the hat for the first round of matchplay. The details of the draw should be available for next week.

My tip to win the Haughton Smyth Cup is Kerry McCluskey. I hope that is not the “kiss of death” for Kerry ahead of the match-play stages of the competition.