The rescheduled Jim’s Paper & Paints Open was played over the weekend having been postponed due to poor weather earlier in the summer.
Generously sponsored by Richard and Jenny Latimer this competition invariably attracts a large entry and this weekend’s event was no different. Run over both Saturday and Sunday and with re-entry permitted the competition scores were among the highest recorded all season.
In fact, there were nineteen cards returned which had 36 points or better including eight which scored 40 points plus.
Interestingly, the top three scores all came from Saturday’s entries but top of the leader board after both days’ play finished was Club Captain Ian Lyttle (15) with a stellar 46 points.
The Captain’s unorthodox driving style and his penchant for using his putter anywhere within fifty feet or indeed further from the green (if the occasion demands it) is renowned in local golfing circles. But as the saying goes ‘if it ain’t broken – don’t fix it’ and on the day, it certainly wasn’t broken.
Six pars on the front nine with only bogeys on the second, fourth and fifth holes gave him a three over front nine. A birdie on the 10th kept his run going and successive bogeys on the next three holes were a prelude to another birdie on the 14th. Bogeys on 15 and 16 were followed by a par on the seventeenth before a finishing bogey on the 18th. Breathless golf in any language and four over on the back nine combined with his front nine ensured his win was ‘painted’ on. His other reward was a cut of two shots to his handicap which is something that will please his playing partners as it will give them some hope of recouping their losses from the last few weeks.
Another man making a welcome return to the winners’ enclosure was Bob Clements (18) whose 42 points earned him second place in the competition.
A steady front nine comprising eight bogeys and a par on the sixth hole left him delicately poised for an assault on the back nine.
Starting with a bogey on the 10th he traded pars with bogeys over the next four holes before succumbing to the dreaded double bogey on the 15th. Recovering well with a par on the sixteenth he was rewarded with a birdie on the 17th before completing his card with another bogey on the 18th.
Third place went to Harry Thompson (6) who has rediscovered his form over the last ten days. A solid front nine which included six pars, two bogeys and a birdie on the ninth left him just one over par gross. Keeping his head, he attacked the back nine and playing steady golf, he managed a par, birdie, par start for the first three holes.
A dropped shot on the 13th didn’t faze him as he made par on the remaining five holes to finish level par gross and 41 points for his endeavours. Like Clements, on any other day his card would have been enough to win.
Finishing behind Thompson and also on 41 points were Michael O’Kane (11) and Colin Bell (15). Just a point further back, on 40 points, were Nicky Wilson (2), Martin Trainor (15) and Dermot Gates (13).
Midweek Open
The 9th/10th August midweek open was sponsored by former club captain and president Brendan O’Neill. Now that the longer summer evenings are behind us golfers need to be on the tee by 4:30pm to be certain of being able to complete their round before daylight fades.
Day One of this competition saw the resurgent form of Stephen Gault (9) shoot an impressive 42 points which should have been more than enough for him to be outright winner. However, an equally impressive round by Michael Leslie (22) saw him finish with 43 points which was just enough to keep him ahead of Gault. Leslie’s front nine included a double bogey on the third hole but this was eased by a birdie on the sixth leaving him just five over gross for his front nine. A no score on the 10th looked like a card wrecker but bogeys on the next four holes kept his momentum going before a double bogey on the fifteenth. Two more bogeys followed that before a par on the 18th completed his card and was just enough for the win.
Stephen Gault’s sublime front nine saw him record seven pars with bogeys on the fourth and ninth holes for a two over gross front nine.
A dazzling start to the back nine saw him two under after four holes following birdies on the tenth and twelfth holes but bogeys on the 14th, 16th and 18th holes stalled what looked like a record breaking card.
Nevertheless, a one over back nine and three over for the round was an impressive evening’s golf and highlights his continuing return to form.
It was a case of deja´ vu´ for Stephen Gault on Day Two as Harry Thompson’s (6) 38 points were enough to keep him ahead, on a count-back, with both finishing on 38 points.
Whilst scores were lower than the previous day, overall, Thompson still managed birdies on the fourth, eighth and 18th holes which reduced the deficit of a double bogey on the first hole. Nine pars and five bogeys completed his card but it was still a long way off the Day One score of Michael Leslie.
Stephen Gault’s card also included three birdies – sixth, eleventh and seventeenth holes however, in contrast to Thompson’s double bogey start Gault had a double bogey finish on the eighteenth.
Six bogeys and seven pars completed his card which, although behind his Day 1 score still gave him second place overall in the competition.
Stableford Sweep  
Following the celebrations of President’s Day on Saturday a smaller number of golfers than usual ventured onto the fairways for Sunday’s competition.
Making a return to first place on the podium, after an absence of several weeks, was Andrew Mowat (5) with 40 points. Birdies on the fourth, eighth, 12th and 18th holes demonstrated the quality of his short game in and around the greens. Four bogeys and three pars gave him a two over front nine.
While five pars and back to back bogeys on the sixteenth and seventeenth holes saw him finish the back nine two under gross.
Just a point behind, on 39 points, was Fiacre O’Donnell (18) who struggled over the front nine. Double bogeys on the first, fourth, fifth and a no score on the ninth didn’t look like a good day on the course.
However, a birdie on the eighth and a par on the ninth got his card heading in the right direction as he started the back nine. Playing more composed golf around the back nine saw him record three pars and six bogeys for a five over back nine and a second-place finish.
Ryan Smyth (14) took third place with 38 points just ahead of Stephen Gault (9) who also finished with 38 points.