Raymond lifts main prize at President’s Day

Raymond lifts main prize at President’s Day

7 August 2019

DOWNPATRICK’S Raymond Madine won Des Connolly’s President’s Day at Ardglass on Saturday with 41 points.

Des was on hand at 6.27am on a sunny morning to see the first of 227 competitors off the first tee. 

Playing in this first group of the day, Michael Deegan set an early target when he came back to the clubhouse with a score of 39 points. One of the most improved players in the club this season, the six-handicapper opened with eight straight pars on his way to an impressive gross 73. 

However, unfortunately for the Ballyhornan man, in the end his excellent effort wasn’t quite enough to get him in the prizes.

Chris Prior was the first to overtake the leader’s score when he came home in mid-morning with 40 points. Playing off five, Downpatrick man Prior reached the turn in one-over and with birdies at the 14th and 17th he reached the 18th tee on one-under. 

Unfortunately, his superb round ended in disaster with a double bogey at the final hole to see him finish on 71, still a great score and sufficient in the end to take third place. 

Prior’s round also turned out to be the second best gross round of the competition, only beaten later in the afternoon by Madine who turned in a level par round of 70. 

However, not only was Madine’s score the competition’s best gross, but it also proved to be good enough for the main prize. 

His winning round began with a birdie at the first, followed by six pars and two bogeys to reach the turn on one over. The five-handicapper’s back nine was a model of consistency, with eight consecutive pars followed by what turned out to be a winning birdie at the 18th.

The only other player to challenge the winner’s score was nine-handicapper Kevin Flynn. 

The Loughinisland man got off to a flying start, playing the first six holes in one-under. Despite ping a few shots over the next couple of holes he still reached the turn with 19 points.

A steady back nine with two birdies and nothing worse than a bogey gave him a final tally of 40 points, finishing level with Chris Prior.

Using countback, the two players were level on the back nine and still level on the last six, but the last three holes ultimately decided second place in favour of Flynn, relegating Prior to third spot.

When fourth and fifth prizes came to be decided, there were no fewer than six players on 38 points. 

Countback went into operation again and fourth spot finally went to Peter Milligan, thanks to his 23 points on the back nine, which included birdies at the 11th and 17th. 

Also on 39 points was recent SUSA hero Harry Smyth. The Ardglass native had an eight at the first and a seven at the ninth, but still fought his way to 17 points by the turn. 

The former club president then found his true form on the homeward track with seven pars, his back nine score of 22 points giving fifth place.

The others on 39 points who just missed out included Marty Lennon, making a welcome comeback to the game, Garvan O’Connor who had a steady gross 77, and Michael Deegan.

Yet another on 39 points was the former Down All-Ireland winner James Milligan, showing a recent return to form, and who had the consolation of lifting the seniors’ prize.

The hotly-contested past president’s prize went to Peter McEvoy, while the council prize winner was vice-captain Hugh Kelly. 

The team captains’ prize was won by Don McEvoy, who was not far away from the main prizes on 38 points. Junior Cup captain McEvoy started with five bogeys in the first six holes, but he was a man transformed after the turn with three consecutive birdies and four in total on a great back nine. 

With Madine and Prior already in the top prizes, the best gross prize was left open for Billy Blackwood, whose 72 just bettered Gerard Copeland’s similar score on countback. 

Blackwood’s round got off to a shaky start with a double bogey and the Lisburn man was four over after four holes, but birdies at 8, 9 and 15 helped him finish on two-over.

Copeland, winner of several gross prizes already this year, complied a steady 72 consisting of 12 pars, two birdies and four bogeys, but lost out to Blackwood’s better back nine. 

Next best but just out of the prizes were Adam Cryer, Marty Rourke and Michael Deegan, all with rounds of 73.

The list of Des Connolly’s generous awards continued with guest prizes going to Mark Magee, Tom Conaty, Peter Laverty and Marty Rourke, and the lady guest prize won by Geraldine Mageean.

The longest drive contest was won by the strong favourite Paul Bell and the traditional nearest the pin awards were won this time by Paul Fitzsimons, Jim Cunningham, Mark Sharvin, Colin Smyth and Anthony P King.

President’s prize to ladies was won by new member Anne McCreanor who claimed two nearest the pin prizes during her round which helped her amass 39 points 

Runner-up was Mary King with 36 points and Maura Fitzpatrick finishing third with 35 points, the gross prize going to Catherine Kelly 

The next big events on the Ardglass calendar are the Club Championship on Sunday, August 25, Paul Vaughan’s Professional Day on September 7 and the AJC Group Gala Day the following week.