Bill Brown’s Captain’s Day at Ardglass Golf Club last Saturday saw the first of over 222 players set off at 6 am in relatively calm weather.
Many of the early starters made the most of the favourable conditions and indeed all the major prizewinners were off the course by 11 o’clock.
Players later in the day generally had to contend with a mixture of drizzle, steady rain and occasional heavy downpours, with a freshening wind thrown in for good measure.
Captain Bill Brown thanked all the players who played on the day and thanked everyone who helped make the day a success despite the poor weather.
However, Bill Brown declared 5-handicapper Jonny Feenan was a worthy winner lifting first prize with a score of 41 points. Ardglass man Feenan, who has had a good run on form this year, was out in one-over, and started back with birdies at the 10th and 11th. With only one further shot dropped on the way home, he posted a level-par total of 70, comfortably the best gross score of the day. In the event, his strong finish enabled him to pip two other players who finished on the same number of points.
Speaking just after the prize ceremony, Johnny Feenan said: “I had 19 points on the front nine and 22 on the back none. I was one over on both halves. It certainly helped going out at 7am early as the weather deteriorated by the time we finished our round.
“It was a solid round – by the time we reach the tenth the rain starts dot come on, and by the 13th the wind had picked up. But I birdied the 11th, then three-putted the 16th for a bogey. Then I birdied the 17th and followed up on th e18th with a 25-feet putt to clinch it. I thought I might be in with a prize but was surprised to hear I was in the lead.
“My two playing partners Rob Shearer came in second and Eamonn George was 5th overall which shows we were playing fairly solid golf.
“The greens too were in brilliant shape as usual thanks to the green staff and John Moore.”
Johnny Feenan, a door sales executive, added: “I just manage to play once a week just now so I was really pleased to keep up my strokes today. My handicap will no doubt be cut to four, but that is great.”
It was two 18-handicappers, Stephen Harris and Philip Smyth, who filled the next two places. Playing together in the same group, both players were well in contention at the turn, with Smyth on 21 points and Harris on 20. The two men continued to trade bogeys and pars on the way in to finish level on 41 points. Ballygowan man Harris took second place by virtue of the better back nine, but both men will be regretting what might have been, as each bogeyed the closing hole!
Fourth place went to Downpatrick’s Mark Cunningham. Playing off 11, Cunningham had 18 points at the turn, played steadily on the way in and a strong 4, 4, 3 finish saw him home on 39 points. In fifth was Killough man Eamonn George. George had six pars on the outward nine to stand on 3-over, faltered slightly but then finished with six straight pars for a commendable round of 76 and a score of 38 points.
Winner of the Best Gross prize despite not playing in the favourable conditions was Daniel Vaughan. The plus-2 handicapper was an uncharacteristic six-over after seven holes, and then proceeded to play the remaining thirteen holes in 2-under to finish on 74. Runner-up in this section with an excellent 75 was Rob Shearer, whose round contained four birdies.
As the day wore on and the weather turned distinctly nasty, many players headed out heroically into the wet and windy conditions, but quite a number soon had second thoughts and returned bedraggled to the clubhouse. Only 11 players didn’t make it to the first tee box to test the course and the inclement weather.
As a result winning scores in the other categories were well below the usual Captain’s Day returns but for the most part the prizes were very competitively contested. One exception was the Past Captains’ prize where Mark Bohill’s 34 points won by a wide margin. Barry Gilliland narrowly took the Council prize with 33 points, with Jim Ferguson taking the Seniors on the same score, and Marty Rourke clinching the Team Captains’ category with 32 points.
Top three in the Guests section were Gerry Tumelty on 32 points, Cormac Cahalane on 31 points and Lorne Campbell on 30 points. Geraldine Mageean took the Ladies award and the Visiting Guest prizes went to Neil Greaves and Brendan Lappin.
There were five Nearest the Pin prizes, which went to Fergie Fitzsimons, Barry Gilliland, Paddy McEntee, Paul Synott and Gerry Ross, while a massive effort from the big-hitting Paul Bell took the Longest Drive prize.