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.

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