Smyth takes president’s prize

Smyth takes president’s prize

8 August 2018

TO paraphrase Elvis Costello, “It’s been a good year for the oldies” at Ardglass Golf Club, as MUSA stalwart Harry Smyth won Sylvia Lappin’s President’s Day prize last week, following in the footsteps of fellow senior Senan Sharvin who won on Captain’s Day the month before. 

With the course still playing fast, despite some recent rain, and with the greens looking immaculate, conditions were almost ideal.

Smyth, a former president of the club, took early advantage and was clubhouse leader by lunchtime on 41 points. The Ardglass native, now living in exile in Glengormley, was out in 39 for 20 points, with nothing worse than a bogey on his card.  

A double bogey at the 12th was his only blemish and he finished strongly, playing the last five in level par, and setting the target for the other 200-plus competitors.

In fact, his score remained unchallenged all day until Thomas Bell, playing in the final group, also came in with 41 points. The 10-handicapper reached the turn in one over, with eight pars and one bogey, but started to shots on the inward nine. A strong finish by the local man included a birdie at the 18th, but he had to be content with second place due to the winner’s superior back nine.

In third place was Kieran Mageean, with his best result since joining Ardglass earlier in the year. Playing off 12, Mageean was out in 40 shots for 18 points, but an impressive inward half which included an eagle at the 14th and a birdie at the last took him to a 40 points total. 

His strong back nine was enough to relegate Alan Micklethwaite to fourth place. The Coney Island man also finished on 40 points after a fine round which included birdies at the 5th and 15th, but must be regretting a double bogey, double bogey finish which scuppered his chances of the top spot. 

In fifth spot was another senior, Michael Nugent. An unremarkable front nine was followed by a homeward half which included five three-pointers, to give him a 39 points return. This gave the Newcastle man a wafer-thin margin over no fewer than eight players who finished on 38 points and just out of the main prizes. 

There was some consolation at least for Brian Gordon whose 38 points took the prize for Team Captains, and for Joe Kerr who also posted 38 points and took the seniors’ prize. Others on 38 points who unfortunately went away empty handed were Padraig Venney, Bobby Mallon, Dan Rooney, Noel Martin and Frankie McKee.

The final player on 38 points was Chris Prior, but his round was good enough to collect the best gross. The three best gross scores on the day were from Prior, Raymond Madine and Gerard Copeland. 

All three reached the turn on level par, with practically identical front nines of two birdies, two bogeys and five pars. The trio had varying fortunes on the back stretch. Copeland birdied 10 and 11, but then started to drop shots, finishing on 74. 

Madine double-bogeyed both 11 and 12, parred the rest and also finished on 74. Prior triple-bogeyed the 11th, but seven straight pars on the way home gave him a round of 73 and a narrow win, with Madine filling the runner-up spot.

Further prizes went to Kevin Carville (guest prize), Des Connolly (council prize), Peter McEvoy (past presidents’ prize), Margaret MacNabb (lady guest prize) and Ashley Rea (visiting guest prize). 

The five nearest-the-pin awards went to Anthony King, Canon Sean Rogan, Gerard Wilson, Fergie Fitzsimons and Paul M Fitzsimons, and big hitter of the day was Noel Burke, who took the longest drive prize.