Warwick leads qualifiers in McConnell Cup

Alan McCullough, Ryan Hamill, Terry O'Neill and Lee Hamill who played in Saturday's Slemish Bowl qualifier at Ballymena Golf Club. INBT 10-175CS

Alan McCullough, Ryan Hamill, Terry O'Neill and Lee Hamill who played in Saturday's Slemish Bowl qualifier at Ballymena Golf Club. INBT 10-175CS

The McConnell Cup qualifying for matchplay provided a clutch of low scores at Ballymena Golf Club, with the first six returns all being six under standard scratch.

The leader on the day was Roy Warwick, who posted a nett 60 off his handicap of 22 and he had a better second nine holes from Kevin Higgins (11).

Roy played a steady opening nine holes of seven over, while the closing nine contained four pars, three bogeys and two double bogeys.

Second placed Higgins carried on from his win the previous week with a nett 60 from his handicap of 11.

Kevin’s opening nine holes saw him score six pars, a dropped shot at the third and birdies at the sixth and eighth.

The inward nine saw him add another six pars along with two bogeys and a double bogey, which was equal to a round of four over gross.

Third nett was Brian Casey who, with a shot on handicap at each hole, returned the best of four nett scores of 61.

Casey opened with four pars to which he added three bogeys, a double bogey and another par. The homeward nine contained six pars, two bogeys and four dropped shots at the 11th, but to Brian’s credit, he finished with four straight pars.

Fourth nett was Derek Francey (14), also with a nett 61, with a front nine of three over to which he added a back nine of four over and his last six holes - which included a birdie at the 18th - were a shot better than Clifford Worthington.

The 12-handicapper arrived on the ninth tee on level par, only to run up a double bogey on the par five ninth. The inward nine resulted in seven pars, a double bogey at 11 and a dropped shot at 17.

David Crockard (15) was sixth, also with a nett 61, with equal nines of 38 shots.

David Smith (5) took the best gross prize with a round of one under par 67 shots.

ST PATRICK’S DAY OPEN

The open stableford event on St Patrick’s Day resulted in an unbelievable total of 50 points from winner Gavin Mark - and that with winter rules still in force.

Gavin started with a ‘ding’ and also double bogeyed the third but birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth helped him to 26 points for the first nine holes.

Five bogeys, a double bogey and three pars helped 26-handicapper Gavin to a further 24 points and his half century of points included nine three-pointers, three four-pointers and a five point haul at the sixth.

Gavin had six points to spare over second-placed Steven Thompson (19) whose second nine of 23 points included a birdie at the 17th.

Third place was taken by Stephen Craig (21) wit ha points total of 43, of which 24 came the outward nine holes.

The best gross card came from Chris McCrory (8) who played the eighteen holes in a score of five over par gross, 73 strokes.