The McConnell Cup, one of the oldest pieces of silverware in the Ballymena Golf Club trophy cabinet, was down for decision recently.
The qualifiers for the matchplay stage were led by Eugene O’Dornan who, off a handicap of 22, posted a nett score of 10 under par 58 shots.
Eugene opened his account with a front nine of six pars and three bogeys. The first three holes of the back nine accounted for eight dropped shots but he went on to play the final five holes with four pars and a bogey.
He finished four points ahead of his nearest challenger, 16-handicapper Martin McClintock, who used his handicap sensibly on the outward nine with eight bogeys and a birdie two at the seventh.
Martin upped the ante on the second nine with six pars and three bogeys for a nett total of six under par, 62 shots.
Third nett was Allan McCullough (26) with a nett 63. A front nine of three pars, two bogeys, three double bogeys and a triple bogey kept him inside his handicap allowance. His back nine included six bogeys, a double bogey and a triple concession but a birdie on the final hole was priceless.
The next three prizewinners were all net 64s, with the second nine hole score the deciding factor. Fourth prize went to John E Quigley (20) who was through the front nine in eight over. His back nine was also eight over but his last six holes were better than fifth nett Chris Worthington (24) who had equal nines of 10 over par.
However, his second nine score was one shot better than seven handicapper Gerard Rafferty. His opening nine holes were played in level par - including an eagle three at the par five ninth - but, having started his back nine with a birdie, he then shed three shots over the next two holes, in a round of three over par 71 gross.
The best gross card was a one over par 69 from three handicapper Christopher Magee, which included birdies at the ninth, 13th and 17th.