There was a tangible air of excitement and apprehension around Banbridge Golf Club last Saturday.
The golfers were playing the first major competition of the season, the Bill McMaster Memorial Trophy. All 18 holes were opened and that included the newly designed 10th and 11th holes. This was the day that everyone was looking forward to.
Over 130 players took part and nine of them equalled the calculated standard scratch score of nett 67 or 38 stableford points. A further 10 players managed to break the CSS.
Those on 38 points were Robert Haire (19), Malcolm Russell (10), Philip Mallon (10), Bill McCandless (6), William Horner (23), Colin Dodds (13), Colin McKinney (17), Joe Whiteside (17) and Seamus McGrath (15).
The only prize-winner from this group was Robert Haire who was runner-up in the high section.
Wallace Henry (16), Eugene Weir (6) and James Gracey (11) each had 39 points but the only one of them to get a prize was Wallace Henry who was runner-up in the middle section.
No less than five players scored 40 points and there was a prize for each of them.
John Poots (18), yes, that man again, won the high section. Hugo Downey (8) was delighted to win the low section. Rory Madeley (3) won the best gross with a one under par 68. He beat Connor Doran (+1) on countback.
Joe Glass (14) has hit the ground running and he won the middle section. Neil Comiskey (11) picked up the second place prize in the low section.
That left two players with 42 points each. They were both called Conor and they both play off six. It took countback to separate them.
Conor Campbell shot his best round for some time, a level par gross 69. He came within a fraction of winning the Bill McMaster Memorial Trophy but he had to be content with second place.
The winner was the big hitter Conor Mulholland. who also went round the new course in 69 shots. Connor’s golf game has matured over the last few seasons and it will be no surprise to see him feature on teams like the Senior Cowdy and Junior Cup.
The feed-back regarding the new 10th and 11th holes was really positive. Alan McVey played them in five shots, a birdie two and a birdie three.
Did anyone else match this? And Seamus McGrath was the only other player to get a birdie two at the 10th.
SUNDAY 23 MARCH
It’s only March and John Poots has already won the Sunday Sweep three times. He is in wonderful form.
1st- John Poots (18) Nett 34.
2nd- Michael McGreevey (12) Nett 37.
THURSDAY 27TH MARCH
Sam Wilkinson is one of the most enthusiastic senior players in the golf club. Sam has already had two second place finishes this year and nobody will begrudge him his first win.
It was a rewarding day for Dennis Lockhart. He picked up the prize for third place and he split the 2’s pot with Seamus Rooney.
1st- Sam Wilkinson (24) 38 points.
2nd- Peter Hillen (11) 33 points.
3rd- Dennis Lockhart (13) 32 points.