THE 61st John Ervine Memorial Golf Outing was played at the Slieve Russell Golf Club in County Cavan last Monday Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Slieve Russell golf course is one of the finest inland courses in Ireland. It is set in 300 acres of parkland including 50 acres of lake. It is a monster course from the back tees but, from the forward tees, it is very playable for the average golfer. The greens are huge and extremely fast and they take a little bit of getting used to.
The adjoining hotel is luxurious, to say the least. The group from Banbridge Golf Club were in ecstasy for three whole days.
DAY 1 - Everyone wanted to get off to a steady start, looking for a score of 30 points or better.
Roy Rankin led the way with 36 points and he had a three-points lead over Walter Smyth and Tom Fee.
Felix Duffy and Bobby Geddis were in a good position with 32 points each.
Aidan Lavery, Seamus McGrath and John Poots were quite happy with their 31 points. Verdun Bond finished with 30 points.
Sweep results (Day 1): - Low Section: 1st, Roy Rankin 36 points; 2nd, Walter Smyth 33; 3rd, Tom Fee 33.
High Section: 1st, Felix Duffy 32 points; 2nd, Aidan Lavery 31; 3rd, Seamus McGrath 31.
DAY 2 - Sherwin Curran shot the best score of the outing on day 2, a marvellous 37 points.
Walter Smyth and Tom Fee both had 34 points each. Alan Witherow, a visitor from Bangor, scored an excellent 33 points. Seamus McGrath had 32 and Felix Duffy had 31.
After two rounds the leaders were Walter Smyth 67, Tom Fee 67, Sherwin Curran 66, Roy Rankin 64, Felix Duffy 63, Seamus McGrath 63 and Verdun Bond 60.
Sweep results (Day 2) - Low Section: 1st, Sherwin Curran 37; 2nd, Tom Fee 34; 3rd, Walter Smyth 34.
High Section: 1st, Alan Witherow 33; 2nd, Seamus McGrath 32 3rd- Felix Duffy 31.
DAY 3. - This was the climax of the outing. The top four players, Walter Smyth, Tom Fee, Sherwin Curran and Roy Rankin, went out together in the final fourball.
Albert Morrison shot the day’s top score, 34 points, and he set the target, 85 points.
Verdun Bond was disappointed with his 27 points but he still took over the lead, with a three-round total of 87 points.
Seamus McGrath, who played really well over the three days, scored 33 points and he was now the leader with 96 points.
There was only the final fourball to come in. Could one of them beat Seamus?
Walter Smyth had an off day and he finished with a total of 94 points.
Sherwin Curran had an up and down round, some brilliant holes and one or two mishaps. He scored 30 points and he was level with Seamus on 96 points.
Roy Rankin played very steady in his third round, scoring 33 points, and he took over the lead on 97 points.
Tom Fee got off to a great start, scoring 19 points for the first nine holes. He stumbled a little over the second nine but still managed to total 33 points. That gave him a grand total of 100 points and victory.
Tom, of course, was delighted to win the John Ervine Memorial Cup for the second time, and he thanked David McCabe for organising everything so perfectly.
It was a very enjoyable outing, reasonable weather, superb course, magnificent hotel, delicious food and plenty of craic. What more could you want?
If you have never been on one of these outings, you don’t know what you’re missing. Why not give it a try next year?
Sweep results (Day 3): Low Section: 1st, Joe Whiteside 31; 2nd, Sydney Pepper 29; 3rd, Brian Parkes 28.
High section: 1st, Albert Morrison 37; 2nd, Norman Doak 28; 3rd, William Porter 25.
PRIZE WINNERS: John Ervine Memorial Cup: Tom Fee
Low Section: 1st, Tom Fee 100 points. 2nd, Roy Rankin 97; 3rd, Sherwin Curran 96; 4th, Walter Smyth 94.
High Section: 1st, Seamus McGrath 96 (Seamus also won a special prize, courtesy of Lesley Young who sadly couldn’t attend the outing); 2nd, Albert Morrison 85; 3rd, John Poots 85; 4th, Norman Doak 83.