Early starters take the top prizes at Raceview
THE Ulster Branch centenary competition at Ballymena Golf Club on May 18 certainly favoured those who took to the course early, as weather conditions later in the day turned the course into a surface more conducive to water polo.
A total of 22 pairs hit off the first tee in the betterball format and as per rule, more than 50 per cent of those cards were returned, therefore the winning returns stood.
The winning pair were John Jamieson (6) partnered by David Smith (6) and with both playing off three-quarters - that being five shots each - they posted a total of 43 stableford points.
A front nine of six pars plus birdies at the second, fourth and seventh was added to on the back nine with seven pars, a double bogey on the 17th and Smith birdied the last hole for a total of 20 for the nine and that overall total of 43.
Second spot was taken by Eric Sands (14) partnered by Richard Armstrong (10) and they had a total of 42 points having scored 21 on each nine.
A first nine of five pars, three bogeys plus a birdie on the third was added to on the second nine with three pars, five bogeys plus a birdie on the 13th for another 21 points and a grand total of 42, and on a better second nine total from third-placed Albert Craig (8) in partnership with Sammy Murray (16) who also scored 42 points.
An outward nine of five pars, three bogeys plus a birdie on the eighth converted into 23 points.
The inward nine resulted in them having everything from a three to a six and it amounted to four pars, three bogeys, a double bogey on the 11th and a birdie on the 13th, adding 19 more points to their overall total.
The Sunday open stableford was played in much better conditions than the previous day and the winning score of 45 points came from Gareth McCullough (19).
Gareth’s first nine was a picture of using his handicap to his best possible advantage as he scored six pars plus dropped shots on the first, third and fourth.
The second nine resulted in five bogeys, a double bogey on the 15th plus pars on the 16th and 18th and for good measure, he birdied the 13th, adding another 22 points and a comprehensive winning margin of six points from second-placed Thomas Surgenor.
Eighteen-handicapper Surgenor had a steady front nine of nine straight bogeys for 18 points.
The back nine was somewhat better where he scored five pars, two bogeys plus double bogeys on the 11th and 12th, which equated to 21 points and an overall total of 39 points.
The best gross card came from John A Jamieson (6) who played the course in five over par, 73 shots.
His opening nine contained seven pars with a dropped shot on the first and sixth and the closing nine was made up of four pars, four bogeys plus a birdie on the 15th.
The Ulster Fourball team had a tremendous result in their game away to Bushfoot where they came away winners by four games to one.
The first game featured Des McCartney, partnered by Carl McAuley, and they set the trend with a win by 3/2.
That was followed by a one up victory from Brian Hazlett and Ronnie Kernohan, while Richard McCrea and Warren Overton added a 3/2 win.
The final pairing featured William Montgomery and Brian Dempster and they had a solid victory by 4/3.
Against that win by the fourball team, the JB Carr team met their Waterloo at Malone Golf Club where the host team won by four matches to one and that was in the country final.
Fred Dawson and Ken Herbinson lost 2/1 while Noel Totten and partner Billy Russell lost to a very sound home pair by 5/3.
David Mulholland and Billy Greer lost out on a tie hole and the last two games were called in with Eric Smyth and Stephen Surgenor one up playing the last, while Jim Drennan and Leslie Frew were all square.
The competition down for decision this Saturday, June 1, is sponsored by James Henry Services, while Sunday, June 2 sees the Specsavers-sponsored day.
The Wednesday open competition on June 5 is sponsored by Montrose Garden Centre.