It was father son battle royale for the 2017 Lakeland Open title at the weekend as Enniskillen five handicapper Andrew Sheridan edged out his dad Paul Sheridan by two points over two days of top class competition.

Castle Hume’s Gerard Agnew took third while the Ladies’ section was won by former Enniskillen member Cora Concannon who now plays out of Shandon Park in Belfast.

The competition, now in its 24th year, is a two-day event played over 36 holes with men and ladies playing both courses on successive days.

This year the weather was warm, dry and sunny for the most part and as result 120 men and over 50 ladies competed for their respective prizes.

Much of the success of the competition lies in the meticulous planning and preparation undertaken by the both clubs match and handicap committees. Led by Micky Kearney from Castle Hume GC and Stephen Craig from Enniskillen GC, representing men and Mary Fee, Barbara Thompson and Eileen Cochrane representing the ladies of both clubs.

Their commitment and efforts ensured that the event was an enormous success.

In addition, the work of both club’s greens committees, volunteers and greenkeeping staff was also a significant part of the competition’s success.

It is quite a logistical feat to organise and run a competition of this magnitude but it underpins the closeness and mutual respect that both clubs have for one and other that the event runs like a well-oiled machine.

That said, it is all about the competition and given that The Lakeland Open is the biggest marquee competition held in Fermanagh, it attracts both local members and visitors alike in pursuit of local golf’s biggest prize.

Day One of the men’s competition teed-off in Castle Hume which was resplendent in full summer bloom and perfectly manicured fairways. Castle Hume’s greens have long been lauded for their speed and challenge and they certainly didn’t disappoint as many golfers learned to their cost on the day.

To play well in Castle Hume requires excellent ball striking ability as its length needs golfers to think out their course management and ball placement. Overnight leader in the clubhouse, at the end of Day 1, was Willie Neary (13) from Castle Hume with a magnificent 42 points which left him perfectly positioned for his second round.

However, as has been the case in previous years it is very difficult to defend an overnight lead on a different course. Lying eight over after six holes left him a mountain to climb as his challenge faded in Enniskillen despite a steadier back nine which gave him 33 points for his round. Second placed overnight was Joe Rafferty (6) from Enniskillen with 40 points but again the curse of the overnight leader board struck as he recorded eight bogeys, eight pars and birdies on the fifth and 16th holes for a second day total of 35 points. Third after Day one was Fred Cowan (18) with 39 points. Best of the rest was George Elliott (8) from Castle Hume.

Day Two saw the men’s competition move to Enniskillen which, like Castle Hume, was in magnificent shape and with a bright, sunny day forecast scoring expectations were high among golfers.

Enniskillen presents a different challenge for golfers as its shorter length belies the constant need for accuracy due to the tree-lined fairways and smaller, target greens. A blistering start from Mark Masterson (9) from Castle Hume saw him finish the front nine five over par, level with his handicap.

On the homeward nine he also finished level par for his handicap with bogeys on the 12th,13th, 15th and 18th holes and a total of 43 points.

However, the chasing pack were snapping at his heels with Enniskillen’s Andrew Sheridan (5) and Castle Hume’s Gerald Agnew (20) scoring 41 points each. Gerald Agnew’s round included five pars and eight bogeys with double bogeys on the first, third and fifteenth holes. It was a no score on the seventh and a triple bogey on the Par 5 eighteenth that proved to be his downfall and deprive him of what could have been the round of his life.

As has been the case in previous years it is the golfer who plays the most consistent golf over the two days that triumphs and Andrew Sheridan has been on stellar form since returning home from University in June.

Starting with a handicap of nine he has worked hard to improve his game and saw his handicap tumble to five over the past couple of weeks.

Playing to his handicap in Castle Hume he finished level par with 36 points which still gave him quite a bit to do to catch Day One leader Willie Neary. Playing his second round on his home course gave him a slight edge but it was the quality of his golf as he made his way round that made the difference. An almost flawless front nine, with a bogey on the fifth immediately cancelled by a birdie on the sixth saw him finish the nine level par gross. His back nine started with a bogey on the 10th which again was cancelled out by a birdie on the 16th leaving him level par gross for the back nine and 41 points. Behind these were two more Enniskillen players Simon Johnston (20) and Paul Sheridan (9) with 40 points and a point further back were Alan Sharpe (10) and David Robertson (13) both from Castle Hume.

With so many talented low, single handicap players in both clubs the toughest prize to win is the gross prize as there is no room for error. A dropped shot here or there on the course can have a devastating impact on a card particularly when the player has only a few shots to play with. Cream of the crop in the 2017 Lakeland Open was Danny Daly (2) who shot a magnificent level par gross in Enniskillen to claim the honour. Birdies on the second and 11th holes cancelled out bogeys on the15th and sixteenth to see him finish on 70 points after both rounds.

In the end, Andrew Sheridan’s 77 points gave him first place outright but second place went to a better back nine count-back as four players finished with 75 points: Gerald Agnew, George Elliott, Joe Rafferty and Paul Sheridan. Following a count back Paul Sheridan made it a father and son first and second with Gerald Agnew claiming third place relegating George Elliott to fourth.

Results Winner 2017 Lakeland Open: Andrew Sheridan Enniskillen GC 77 points Second: Paul Sheridan Enniskillen GC 75 points Third: Gerald Agnew Castle Hume GC 75 points Gross: Danny Daly Castle Hume GC 70 points Day 1 Winner Castle Hume: Willie Neary Castle Hume 42 points Day 2 Winner Enniskillen: Mark Masterson Castle Hume 43 points Ladies’ Competition The Ladies started their competition, this year, at Enniskillen GC as over 50 golfers took part.

Making an excellent start was Cora Concannon, returning to the club where she began her golf and the scene of many of her triumphs as a youth player. Now playing out of Shandon Park, Belfast her return to golf was inspired by her own children who are also enjoying the game although they still have a bit to go to catch up with Mum’s achievements. An excellent 40 points on Day One left her four points ahead of Patricia Durnien (Enniskillen) and five points ahead of Marion McGinnity (Castle Hume) as the Ladies headed to Castle Hume GC for Day Two.

Castle Hume’s longer course proved a challenge as the Ladies tee boxes bring some of the hazards into range and coupled with tricky greens it takes courage and ability to plan your way around the course to stay out of trouble. However, Cora Concannon demonstrated that she had lost none of her competitive edge as she recorded an excellent 32 points on the day giving her an overall 72 points for both rounds.

Having scored 30 points on her home course in Enniskillen, Deirdre Slater was facing a tough battle in Castle Hume. Known for her quiet gentility, Deirdre made her way around Castle Hume avoiding trouble and making the most of her opportunities when they arose. Finishing with an excellent 37 points, gave her a total of 67 points for her two cards. Doreen Frazer’s 33 points in Enniskillen left her well positioned on her home course for Day Two and she didn’t disappoint as she recorded another 33 points at Castle Hume finishing with 66 points over the two days.

Results: Winner Ladies Lakeland Open 2017: Cora Concannon Shandon Park GC 72 points Second: Deirdre Slater Enniskillen GC 67 points Third: Doreen Frazer Castle hume GC 66 points (Better Day 2 Card) Day 1 winner at Enniskillen: Patricia Durnien Enniskillen GC 36 points Day 2 Winner at Castle Hume: Maura Newman Castlehume GC 34 points (Better Back 9)