Pat Kirk Open produces close finish for Strabane

Despite the incessant rain which fell throughout the week the late summer schedule at Strabane Golf Club has survived relatively unscathed. Much credit must go to Paul McFadden and his team of greenkeepers for the sterling work that they do in maintaining the Ballycolman course in a pristine state, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Participants in Saturday’s Pat Kirk Open found the course in excellent shape, though playing to its full length given the soft underfoot conditions. The competition produced a close finish with the top three players each carding scores of 40 points. Conor Sharkey (13) was declared the winner on a tie-break, with Mark McCrea (11) and Hugo McCusker (12) filling the second and third place berths. Category One was headed by David Friel with 39 points, one better than the Category Two winner David Mullen. Aiden McCrossan was best in Category Three with 36 points, while the gross prize went to Enda Kennedy with a fine level par 36 points.

The second part of the weekend’s double-header saw a talented field of players do battle for the Frylite Open Scratch Cup. Local favourite Enda Kennedy carried the good form of the previous day into the event as he posted a winning 29-hole tally of 116, three shots better than runner-up Conal Cooke. Given their scoring record over the past few months, it was no great surprise to see these two fine players at the head of the leaderboard. Stephen McCay’s game has been in great nick throughout the year and he was again in the shake-up, taking third place with a 120 shot aggregate, two shots less than fourth placed Paddy Kennedy. Also figuring prominently were:

5th Gordon Forbes (Newtownstewart GC) 122
6th Aidan Boyle 124
Round One Martin McDermott 71
Round Two Karl Barr 47

In the nett section, Ronan Foley and Ben Corry tied on the 113 mark with the former getting up on the break of a tie. Barry Patterson took third place with 116 nett, while Conor Sharkey (68 nett) and Ballybofey’s Lee Caldwell (43 nett) topped round one and round two respectively.

The Monday Open proved to be the only serious casualty of the week’s rains, though it was able to proceed, albeit shortened to a 10-hole event. Stuart McFeeters posted 25 points to take the top award, with Pat McDaid and the in-form Conor Sharkey finishing in the minor places, each with 24 points. Ben Corry took the gross prize with 21 points.

Tuesday’s ladies’ competition was the Knockavoe School stableford. Bernie O’Kane had the best return of the day, her 35 points giving her a couple to spare over the field. Philomena Cooke topped the 0-24 category with 33 points, while Maeve Crowe’s 32 points was best in the 25-36 category.

Teresa Casey and Damian McGranaghan were in imperious form in Wednesday’s mixed foursomes event, their superb 40 point tally seeing them well clear of the pursuing pack. Mary Gallagher and Patsy Rouse carded 33 points to finish second, with Lorna Duffy and Karl Barr a couple of points further back in third place.
Billy Doherty led the way in Thursday’s “TBF McElholm & Co” open stableford. In testing conditions, his 39 points was a marvellous effort. Mind you, he was pushed all the way by second-placed Terence McDermott and James Patton who both had fine cards of 38 points. Martin McDermott won the gross category with 33 points.

In representative golf, Strabane teams have given a good account of themselves in a couple of finals. Brian Patton’s Roberts Cup team played the first leg of the final at home to Enniskillen and have established an impressive 10-2 lead. In the O’Haire Cup final, Strabane were also at home in the first leg and lead by 13.5-2.5. The Juniors played the semi-final of the Fred Daly Plate (first leg) at home against Warrenpoint and have taken a 4-3 advantage, a result which keeps them in with a chance of making it through to the latter stage. Winners for Strabane were Plunkett Langan, Ryan McGowan, Ciaran Doherty and James Bradley.

All eyes this week are on Bandon GC in Cork where Ulster Mixed Foursomes Champions Strabane will play in the all-Ireland deciders. On Thursday, they face up to Leinster champions, Mullingar, while Portumna and Tramore contest the other semi. The winners will meet in Friday’s final. Our best wishes go with Liam Curry, Philomena Cooke and their team.

Congratulations to young Jordan Arthur on his selection to the Ulster U-15 training panel at Greenmount, a deserved recognition of the rapid progress made by this dedicated young golfer over the past couple of years.

The upcoming “Centenary Marquee Weekend” is now only a couple of weeks away and is sure to be one of the major entertainment events in the town this year. Over a three-day period, the club will host local bands on Friday September 11, John McNicholl and his Band on Saturday September 12, and will end with the Robert Mizzell Band on Sunday September 13. Tickets for all events can be purchased (02871382271) or payment will be accepted at the door.

Scratch Cup Draw

Find below the draw for Frylite Scratch Cup on Sunday August 30th:

Frylite Scratch Cup Draw (.xls)

Ulster champions title for Strabane mixed foursomes team

image_02_smallSTRABANE Golf Club’s Irish Mixed Foursomes team travelled to Cookstown on Thursday last to contest the provincial final against a much-fancied Castleblaney squad and came away with the title of Ulster Champions.

To say that Strabane upset the odds would be an understatement as they completely overwhelmed their Co Monaghan opponents, winning the first three matches to put themselves in an unassailable position. Enda Kennedy and Angela Houston set the tone from the outset by inflicting a heavy seven and six defeat on their opposite numbers. That sensational result was followed by impressive victories for Aidan Boyle and Ann Duffy, and Darren Crawford and Caroline Connolly. Both of these matches ended on a three and two scoreline.

image_01_smallSuch was the dominance of the Tyrone outfit that they also led in the matches that were still on the course: Martin Roarty and Mary McCrory led by three holes and were on the verge of closing out their match, while Conal Cooke and Bernie O’Kane were quite comfortable at one up. After the nail-biting climax to their semi-final victory which saw the contest go to extra holes, this was Strabane at the peak of their powers and much credit must go to Liam Curry and Philomena Cooke for the astute manner in which they have handled their resources.

Their task is far from complete, though, as their motivational skills will be tested to the limit when the team moves on to Bandon in Co Cork for the all-Ireland finals on September 4 and 5. On the basis of last week’s performance, this team is well equipped to go all the way.

image_04_smallOn the domestic scene, Brian Cairns was in tremendous form in the Felix’s Bar Medal on Saturday last, his winning score of 61 nett leaving him a clear three shots to the good. Paul McLaughlin and Joey Roulston both carded excellent scores of 64 nett to finish second and third respectively. Paddy Doyle’s nett 66 was best in category one. The category two prize went to Martin Elliott with a nett 67, while Eddie McCrea finished on top of category three with a round of 70 nett. Ben Corry has been a formidable figure in competitions this year and he again found himself among the prizes, taking the gross award this time with a round of 74.

Ciaran Duffy has run into good form of late and his victory in last Monday’s Open was no great surprise. He posted 41 points to win by one from Letterkenny’s Fergal Callan. Ben Corry took third place on this occasion with a one over par return of 39 points, while Paddy Kennedy claimed the gross prize with a typically solid level par 69. Ballybofey’s A Fullen won the visitors’ category with 35 points.

image_03_smallThursday’s Northern Confectionery stableford went to James Patton with a best-of-the-week tally of 43 points. Gavin Reilly from Ballybofey and Stranorlar carded 40 points to occupy the runners-up berth, holding off third-placed Keith Patterson on the break of a tie. Ben Corry took the gross prize with a two over par 71. Ballybofey’s Bryan Reilly had the pleasure of seeing his tee shot a the second hole finish in the bottom of the cup.

Visiting players outgunned the locals in last Tuesday’s ‘Donna’s Flower Box’ ladies’ open event. Michelle Glasheen from Rathbane GC took the top award with a superb 39 points, a full five shots clear of the field. Marilyn Henderson from Castlerock GC and City of Derry’s Brenda Chauhan each posted 34 points, with the former claiming second place on countback. Maeve Corry finished fourth with 34 points, with Omagh GC’s Rachel Elliott taking the gross prize with 22 points.

Other winners were: category 0-18, Helen McGaughey, Newtownstewart GC, 32 points; category 19-28, Elizabeth Allen, City of Derry GC, 32 points; category 29-36, Teresa Logue, 32 points. Norma Brogan and Catherine Neeson took the nines, with Ballybofey’s Christine Lynch topping the visitors’ category.

image_05_smallThe Fir Trees/St Vincent de Paul Scramble on Sunday produced the following result: 1, Kevin McGinley, Shane McLaughlin, Pearse McLaughlin, Daniel Toland, 50 nett; 2, Paul McGill, Stephen Kennedy, Raymond Allen, Clark Klam, 52 nett; 3, Frankie Houston, Gerard Walsh, Anthony Brennan, Kieran McBride, 55 nett.

The club’s juniors bowed out of the Donegal League after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Portnoo, but they have gained much in terms of experience and hopefully will put that to good use in their upcoming Fred Daly Plate match this weekend.

Fixtures: Saturday, Pat Kirk Open; Sunday, Frylite Open Scratch Cup; Monday, Bank Holiday Open.

Testing conditions for Fir Trees Open in Strabane

Saturday’s Fir Trees Open at Strabane Golf Club proved to be one of the stiffest tests of the season. A stiff southerly breeze, which whipped across the Ballycolman course ensured that good scoring would be at a premium.
It transpired that not one player managed to break 40 points, one of the few occasions that this has happened this season. Best round of the day was posted by 11-handicapper Senan Roarty, his winning score of 39 points giving him a point to spare over runner-up Paul Duddy.

Darren Crawford produced a superb round of two over par to card 38 points in finishing third. Category one went to Noel McConnell with 37 points, while Frankie Houston went one better in taking category two. Cecil Kerr topped category three with 36 points with Cathal Patton claiming the gross prize with a four over par tally of 36 points.
Conditions for last Thursday’s Nugent’s Stableford were much easier and in a close finish which saw the top dozen or so players separated by only a couple of points Cathal McLaughlin emerged as the victor with an excellent 42 points.

Conal Cooke, playing off a two handicap, had a brilliant three-under par round of 41 points to take second place on the break of a tie from third placed Ronnie Wiley. Kieran Doherty continued his fine run of form to take the gross award with 40 points.

Top points tally of the week was posted by Declan Lynch in the Monday Open, his excellent 43 points getting him home ahead of Karl Barr who dropped only one shot to par in compiling 41 points. Terence McGranaghan took third place with a typically solid 39 points, while Stephen McCay had the best gross score – a two over return of 39 points.
Mary Duffy won the ladies’ Georgina Gregg Cup on Tuesday, her gritty 74 nett giving her a one shot advantage over the field. Jean McGinley’s nett 77 gained her the 0-24 category award, while Mary Casey was best in the 25-36 category with a 75 nett.

Wednesday’s mixed foursomes, sponsored by Murphy’s on the Green, went to Dympna Coyle and Declan Lynch ahead of Mary Duffy and Patsy Rouse. Both pairings carded scores of 36 points, one better than third placed Kathleen Hoynes and Liam McDevitt.

Patterson enjoys welcome return to form at Strabane

image_02_13_08_09_smallBARRY Patterson had a welcome return to form in the Highland Bakery stableford at Strabane Golf Club on Saturday. Playing off a 12 handicap, Patterson compiled an excellent 42 points to win the event by a point from rapidly improving George McCay. Paul McGill continued his current fine run of form by dropping only a shot to par in posting 40 points to take third place.

Noel McConnell’s game has been in a bit of a lull recently but he got his season on track again by taking fourth place, also with 40 points. Fifth place, again with 40 points, went to Stephen Alexander, while Conal Cooke produced a brilliant sub-par 68 to take the gross prize. Other winners were: category one, Ben Corry, 40 points (level par 69); category two, John Langan, 39 points; category three, Seamus Walsh, 39 points; first nine, Damian Roarty; second nine, Liam Curry; best visitor was North West Golf Club’s Delwyn Montgomery.

image_01_13_08_09_smallLast Monday’s Open went to Freddie Patterson who, after a long sabbatical from the game, has quickly regained his optimum form. Off a handicap of seven, Patterson conceded only a couple of shots to par in carding a winning 41 points. Runner-up, with 39 points was Foyle Golf Club’s John McDowell, with Paddy Kennedy in third place, his level par round of 69 gaining him 38 points. Stuart McClelland, also from Foyle GC won the visitor’s prize with 38 points, while Karl Barr took the gross award with a four over par return of 38 points.

It was the turn of the ladies on Tuesday as they turned their attention to the Lady Herdman Cup. Anne Sharkey has been on a run of decent form lately and she finally made it to the top of the leaderboard, taking the top award with plenty to spare. Her winning score of 72 nett gave her a three point cushion over Geraldine McCrory who settled for the category 25-36 award. Norma Brogan’s 78 nett was enough to assure her of the 0-24 category prize.

image_03_13_08_09_smallThe Tommy Forbes sponsored mixed teams competition on Wednesday went to the quartet of Aidan Boyle, Mary Duffy, Conor Sharkey and Theresa Casey. Together they amassed 44 points to comfortably win by three points from Denis Porter, Mary Gallagher, Frankie Houston and Eleanor McMorran.

The best scoring of the week came in Thursday’s Doherty’s Fuels stableford with no fewer than eight players smashing the 40 point barrier. Martin Rouse is undoubtedly the most improved player in the club this year having lowered his handicap by an amazing seven shots over the past five months. His marvellous 43 point return on Thursday saw him home by a point from Ciaran Duffy, who dropped less than a handful of shots to par in posting his best score of the season. Paul McGill was again in the mix, his 41 point return (one over par 70) giving him third place. Enda Kennedy took the gross prize with a one-under par round of 68.

In inter-club events this week, Strabane’s O’Haire Cup team made it through to their final at the expense of Newtownstewart. Having dominated the earlier home leg, Strabane soon racked up the necessary points to ensure their participation in the decider. The Ballycolman club will play host this week to the Ulster Final of the Jimmy Bruen tournament, with Killymoon and Foyle locking horns tomorrow (Friday).

One of the highlights of the entertainment year will take place in the clubhouse this Saturday night when Gary Gamble takes to the stage. Doors open at 9.30pm.

Olive Turner takes the honours on Lady President’s Day at Strabane

image_03_06_08_09_smallCONDITIONS were far from ideal for last Tuesday’s Lady President’s Day at Strabane Golf Club, with heavy and persistent rain never far away. Nonetheless, players turned out in force to honour Eleanor McMorran who has been such a driving force behind ladies’ golf at the club for many years.

Top performer on the day was Olive Turner, her 74 nett winning score giving her a shot to spare over Geraldine McCrory and Adeline Shiels who finished second and third respectively. Ann Sharkey was a close fourth with 76 nett, with the gross prize going to Shauna Patton with a gritty 92. Other winners were: category 0-18, Norma Brogan, 78 nett; category 19-28, Mary Gallagher, 78 nett; category 29-36, Oliver Reid, 80 nett; senior, Rosemary Wilson, 77 nett; committee, Catherine Neeson, 82 nett. Betty Kelly and Ann Duffy won the nines with Newtownstewart’s Ivy Humes taking the visitor’s prize.

image_01_06_08_09_smallSaturday’s ‘Bureau Express’ stableford was won in emphatic fashion by Foncie McNally, his 42 point tally giving him an impressive three point cushion over the field. Runner-up, with 39 points, was Michael McColgan, with Freddie Patterson a point adrift in third place. Neil Alcock carded 38 points to take the category one award, Martin Elliott topped category two with 36 points, and Mickey O’Neill’s 34 point return gained him the category three prize. Paddy Kennedy’s three-over par return of 35 points was the best gross score of the day.

The Monday Open produced a photo finish with Dougie Patterson just edging out Martin McDermott, as each player posted excellent scores of 42 points. Letterkenny’s Marty Quinn took third place with 40 points, while Conal Cooke dropped only one shot to par in taking the gross prize. Ronan Brennan of Foyle GC headed the visitor’s category with 35 points.

The husband and wife pairing of Frankie and Caroline Connolly took the honours in Wednesday’s Mixed Foursomes, their total of 39 points getting them home by a point from Peter Doherty and Lorna Duffy. Stephen Curry and Annette Patton finished third with 36 points.

image_02_06_08_09_smallStephen Quinn’s form over the past few weeks suggested that there might be a victory on the horizon and that proved to be the case on Thursday last as he amassed a fine 41 points to take the Quinn’s Spirits Open. Runner-up Pat Gallagher pushed him all the way only to lose out on the break of a tie. Conor Sharkey was a point back in third place, with in-form Ben Corry’s round of 71 assuring him of the gross prize.

The St Patrick’s GAA team event on Sunday produced the following result: 1, Keith Patterson, Barry Patterson, Cathal Griffin, Roy Patterson, 96 points; 2, Kevin McGinley, Shane McLaughlin, Pearse McLaughlin, Danny Toland, 94 points; 3, Foncie McNally, Michael Forbes, Brian Forester, Seamus McPhilemy, 91 points; 4, AT Moore, C Neff, N Allen, A Neff, 91 points.

The club’s representative teams were in outstanding form during the week, notching up a trio of notable successes. Pride of place goes to the Irish Mixed Foursomes squad who have made it through to the provincial final after a titanic tussle with Foyle GC at the City of Derry course. Enda Kennedy and Angela Houston got the team off to a dream start winning the opening encounter by an impressive seven and six margin. Darren Crawford and Caroline Connolly lost their unbeaten tag in the second match out, losing out on the final green by one hole.

Things took a turn for the worse when Martin Roarty and Mary McCrory lost the third match four and three. At this stage, even experienced team captain Liam Curry was looking decidedly twitchy. However, Aidan Boyle and Ann Duffy levelled matters with a steady four and three victory, so all attention was on the last match out.

After 18 holes the match was still all square and, with tension almost tangible, the combatants set off down the 19th. After halving the first extra hole, Conal Cooke and Bernie O’Kane seized their opportunity at the 20th and struck the vital blow to take Strabane through to a final against either Castleblaney or Greenisland. Also through to the final is the Donegal Senior League team which travelled to Ballybofey on Thursday evening needing three matches to progress. Those three necessary points were duly racked up and Strabane will meet Rosapenna GC in the decider, a match which will be interesting to say the least.

Brian Patton’s Roberts Cup team had an excellent 7.5-4.5 victory in the away leg of their match against Killymoon, a result which will make them hot favourites to take the tie overall with the home leg still to come.