Underfoot conditions were hard with icy patches making play all the more challenging for the early golfers as they set out at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
The temporary greens were also making it tricky to hole out. Playing conditions eased a little later on as the sun appeared.
In Division 1 through the Niuc Steven Penney (1), after a brisk opening with three birdies and a par, held a two point advantage over John McCarry (4) who eagled the second and Lyle Foster (3) with David Keys (4) and Neil Candlish (3) who both ‘dinged’ the Niuc a further two points back. George Watt (4) who started off with a ‘ding’ was another two points behind.
McCarry joined Penney at Broadmeadows and after the seventh Keys who had a run of three pars had moved up to within one point of the leaders. Foster, Candlish and Watt were at one, two and three points respectively further back. Penney and McCarry were still level with one to play and were joined by Keys but an eagle at the last by Penney saw him home to win by two points from Keys (par) who took the Gross with McCarry (bogey) taking second place. Watt (par, birdie), Candlish (par, par) and Foster (double bogey, birdie) finishing together another two points behind.
Michael Montgomery (7) held a narrow one point lead from Thomas McNeill (6) after four in Division 2. A further point behind came Fergus McKelvey (7) who was three points ahead of Gareth Beckington (6).
Montgomery hit bogey trouble over the next three holes and lost his lead with McNeill forging ahead into a two point advantage with the help of two pars. McKelvey joined Montgomery with Beckington another two points adrift. McNeill went further ahead after a par at the next and led by three points with one to play. However disaster struck at the last when he ran into bogey trouble and failed score.
A revived Beckington swooped late with two birdies to overtake McNeill and claim first place by one point.
Division 3 saw Robert Topping (8) with a one point advantage over William Crawford (8) (‘ding’ at the Niuc) and John Fitzgerald (10) through the fourth followed by Brian Sims (8) another point back. Only one point separated the four players approaching the eighth. Crawford had joined Topping to lead by one point from Fitzgerald and Sims.
Crawford came home with two pars to win by two points from Topping (bogey, bogey) with Fitzgerald (par, double bogey) and Sims (bogey, bogey) a further point behind.
Trevor Galloway (10) set the early pace in Division 4 and with the help of a birdie at the second led by two points from Ralph Clarke (11) and Colin Black (11) (‘ding’ at four) through four. With the help of two pars over the next three holes Clarke moved ahead by one point from Galloway after the Treasury. Black was a further point down with two to play.
With a bogey, par finish Clarke held on to win by one point from Galloway (bogey, par) with Black (par, bogey) another point behind.