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Irish Mixed Foursomes
AIG Cup Results
The Junior Foursomes team travelled to Donaghadee Golf Club on Thursday 18th April for the first leg of their first round match. The weather was kind to them, as it was a beautiful sunny day; sadly the result was not so kind! The first and third pairings battled hard, but the local knowledge of their opponents meant that they could just not get a run of holes together and both pairings came away without any points. The second pairing fared better and indeed were one up going on to the 18th but their opponents putted brilliantly to rescue a half. With slim pickings from the away match, Team Captain May Baxter and her team knew they faced a mammoth task on home turf, but they were determined to battle and not throw in the towel. The match was played on Monday 29th April and the team had a bit of a shake-up due to last minute handicap cuts, but there was plenty of experience on the team and a desire for revenge. At the turn, things were looking promising with the final two pairings both well up at the 9th by three and four holes respectively. The first pair were having a tough battle and sadly when they lost and the good play of the others was all in vain as the team had to concede defeat. Yet another year when we set out with great hopes but alas never realised them. The importance of away points was made all too obvious to the team! The team would like to thank Captain May Baxter who not only had to do all the organisation, but also had to step in to play twice due to unforeseen circumstances. There is always next year!
Squad : May Baxter (Team Captain), Katrina Bradford, Tara Walsh, Anne Knox, Pam Morrow, Ita Hanna, Heather Shaw, Elaine Bell
The Minor Cup team completed the second leg of their match against Kirkistown Golf Club at home on Sunday 13th April. Having taken three matches away from home , the team was confident that they could secure the victory on home turf, but they were taking nothing for granted. Team Captain Elaine Bell had a few changes on the team from the first leg and the first of these was Alison King. Her break in Donegal must have done her some good as she wasted no time in securing the first point with an emphatic 6&5 win. The second point came from Orlaith Lennon who was 4 up after nine and she kept up the pressure to win 4&3. The race was on to see who could secure the winning point and Roisin Anderson was first past the post with another great win 6&5. This meant that the other matches involving Julie Jordan and Anne McFadden were called in. Team Captain Elaine Bell was delighted with the victory and the team now awaits the conclusion of the match between Rossmore and Banbridge to see who their second round opponents will be.
Squad : Alison King, Orlaith Lennon, Roisin Anderson, Julie Jordan, Anne McFadden, Ursula Dummigan, Catherine Jinks
The Ulster district Senior Cup qualifiers took place over the weekend of 18th and 19th May 2019. The squad travelled to North West Golf Club in Buncrana hoping that this might be their year. On Saturday morning, the team faced Bangor Golf Club in the quarter final and on paper they looked to have the stronger side. Conditions were damp and cold but the conditions did not dampen the spirits of the team as they came through with a fairly comfortable victory.
Lurgan 4 V Bangor 1
Niamh McSherry (+2) beat Mandy McEvoy (4) 7/6
Maeve Cummins (0) bt Rachael Graham (6) 6/5
Niamh Ward (1) V Jacque Hamilton (8) 7/6
Cara Murphy (5) V Finola Duncan (9) Halved
Fiona McGrady (6) V Barbara Fox (11) Halved
The following morning the team had a very early start for the semi-final against the much fancied Royal Portrush side who have been winners of the Ulster and All-Ireland titles so many times in the past few years. The team knew that this would be no easy task and so it proved. As the matches progressed it was clear that this match would be going to the wire. Over the first nine, fortune seemed to be favouring Royal Portrush, but over the back nine the Lurgan front three really hit their stride. Niamh McSherry put the first point on the board playing some fantastic golf against Lucy SImpson. Maeve Cummins faced the experienced Helen Jones, who got off to a very quick start and Maeve found herself three down. However, it was not long before she too found her form and the score was reversed with Maeve going three up. Lurgan were hoping to close out the match on the 16th, but the Portrush player refused to lie down and managed to take the match to the 18th. Nerves were beginning to jangle a bit as Maeve approached the 18th one up. She may have felt nervous, but did not show it as she managed to close out the match. Two points on the board and one more needed. The last two matches were not going Lurgan's way so the pressure was building on Niamh Ward's shoulders. Again, Lurgan approached the 18th one up and needing the vital point. Niamh played two tremendous shots to the green and when her opponent left her second just short of the green, Lurgan dared to hope. In the end, it all came down to two putts. Niamh calmly holed her putt, leaving her opponent facing a must sink putt. To the relief of Lurgan, the ball skirted past the hole ensuring victory and a first ever Ulster Senior final for the club.
Royal Portrush 2 V Lurgan 3
Lucy Simpson (0) lost to Niamh McSherry (+2) 3&2
Helen Jones (3) lost to Maeve Cummins (0) 1up
Hannah Henderson (4) lost to Niamh Ward (1) 1up
Judith Allen (4) bt Cara Murphy (5) 5/4
Anna McVicker (7) bt Christine Hagan (8) 3/2
The team faced a quick turnaround and had no time to reflect on their win, within an hour they were back on the course to face another strong team, Royal County Down. Once again Lurgan were facing formidable opponents. Niamh McSherry was facing one of Ireland's top amateurs in Paula Grant and this was a fantastic game. Niamh was matching the RCD player shot for shot and but could not get ahead in the match and finally succumbed on the 16th. Maeve and Niamh Ward were having tight tussles and were well placed in their matches but Lurgan were going to need a third point from somewhere. As it turned out the fourth and fifth matches finished with no points the second and third matches were called in and recorded as halves.
Day 2 Final Senior Cup
Royal Co Down Ladies 4 V Lurgan 1
Paula Grant (+4) bt Niamh McSherry 3/2
Beth Coulter (+2) V Maeve Cummins (0) Halved
Anita McCaw (5) V Niamh Ward (1) Halved
Mollie O’Hara (5) bt Cara Murphy (5) 5/4
Kate Evans (5) bt Christine Hagan (8) 7/6
The team may have just fallen short at the final hurdle, but this was a fantastic achievement for the girls. They made a little bit of club history by reaching their first ever Senior Final and can be rightly proud to be the runners up this year. The standard of golf was outstanding and once again our girls have done the club proud. There is an outside chance that they can make the All-Ireland final as three runners up from all the regional finals will be selected on the basis of lowest team handicaps. It was a pleasure to witness the maturity and great golf played by the girls as they broke their own glass ceiling by reaching the final, something that has eluded them in recent years. Their first thought at the end of the final was not to be disappointed, but to start thinking about next year and how they could overcome the final hurdle. Congratulations girls, you made club history and can be rightly proud of your efforts over the weekend.
Squad : Niamh McSherry, Maeve Cummins, Niamh Ward, Cara Murphy, Christine Hagan, Fiona McGrady, Aoife Brown
Peggy Nelson Trophy & Miss Fran McCann's Prize
Easter Trophy/Mrs P McCracken's Prize
Carroll Cup / April Monthly Medal
The bad weather on Tuesday not only played havoc with the ladies’ hairdos but had an impact on the timesheet with only thirty ladies braving some blustery showers. Our new Scottish star, Gwen McCracken, didn’t let the weather put her off her stride, and came out at number one with a nett 69. Gwen played her card on the Alternate Day but the weather wasn’t any more favourable, so maybe her long distance running training helped her to endure the conditions better than some of the rest of us. Her score will see her handicap reduce to 14 and this could kick start a good season for Gwen.
Cara Murphy is now a seasoned gross winner and this week her 77 gross was worthy of claiming the prize. Birdies at 10 and 17 were Cara’s highlights and with the CSS moving to 74, she solidifies her Category One handicap status with another handicap cut.
Pam Morrow made a welcome return to the winner’s circle with a nett 74. Pam had featured heavily in the first few weeks of the season, but by her own high standards she will be disappointed to have slipped back a bit, so hopefully this win will see her back on the right track. Pam just held off Orla O’Dowd by a shot, but Orla’s score was good enough to see her into the playoffs for the match play stage of the Carroll Cup. Roslyn Millar continues her run of good form and won Section Two with a nett 75. A quick look at Roslyn’s card shows that she is playing excellent golf and was a bit unfortunate on the back nine to let her score take a bit of a hit, but there’s plenty more to come from Roslyn.
Helen Stewart won section three with a nett 77. Helen will have been delighted to get her score in given the weather conditions and richly deserves being rewarded with a prize. Stroke competitions can be very trying, as it can be soul destroying to take a big score at a hole, so all ladies are to be commended for not being put off by the weather, especially as some of them have had several soakings this week already when playing team matches. Katie Allen was our only 9 hole competitor so an easy win for Katie!
The two best gross and nett go forward to the match play stage of the Carroll Cup and the matches are as follows:
Pam Morrow v Cara Murphy
Orla O’Dowd v Gwen McCracken
Two great matches and we hope they all play well and enjoy them.
The Monthly Medal was played in conjunction with the Carroll Cup and Gwen McCracken needless to say won the Silver section with Roslyn Millar winning the Bronze section.
Australian Spoons Greensomes
Tuedsay 7th May saw the ladies pair up to play in the Australian Spoons which takes the form of a greensomes stableford competition. Eighteen pairs tackled the challenge in mixed weather conditions, with the late afternoon people suffering the worst of the weather. This however, did not dampen the spirits or affect the scores too badly as the pairs taking the spoils all came from the late afternoon players. It is said that last shall be first and the first shall be last and so it proved today. One of the last pairs out, Jacqueline Conn and Sarah Denver, who incidently won the club qualifying of this competition last year, landed an excellent 40 points to take the top spot. Pars at 2,5,7 and 8 and a fantastic two at the 11th hole were the highlights of their round. The runners up were Elaine Bell and Anne Knox. This pair had 16 points round the front nine, but played the back nine in tidy fashion with pars at 12,17 and 18 seeing them amass 21 points round the back nine. The gross prize was claimed by the ever-reliable Cara Murphy and her young partner Aoife Brown. This pair combined well and played an impressive round with eight pars and four birdies to their name. The winners, Jacqueline and Sarah and plus the best gross pair, Cara and Aoife qualify to take part in the Ulster District final which this year takes place at Royal Belfast Golf Club on the 23rd July 2019. We wish them all the best.
Greer Cup/Monthly Medal
Professional’s Prize/PGA Tankard
This week fifty one ladies played in one of our “big days” when they played for prizes kindly provided by our professional Peter Hanna.
The three young ladies who came away with the spoils of victory were three of our Senior Cup squad who made history when they finished runners up in the Senior Cup regional finals at North West Golf Club last weekend, so just rewards for working so hard and representing our club so well.
The winner with an excellent score of two under gross for 38 pts was the in form Maeve Cummins. Maeve’s card featured five birdies and three bogeys including a two at the 8th which was one of only two twos on the day. Maeve has now joined the ranks of the plus handcappers with a nice cut to +1 which she will be delighted with.
The other two was scored at the 12th by one of our up and coming stars Aoife Browne and contributed to her scoring 37 pts which was good enough for the runner up spot. Aoife had a slow start on the front nine but back to back birdies on 11 and 12 led to a much better scoring back nine and in addition to finishing runner up Aoife cut her handicap to 8. Aoife may not be able to navigate her way round 'stroke' city, (ask Christine Hagan about the circuits of the maiden city!), but she can certainly navigate her way round a golf course.
Completing the trio of youthful winners was Niamh McSherry with 33 gross pts giving her her first gross since returning from America. We are all delighted to see Niamh back although she is probably still coming to terms with where she is herself after flying home from America on Thursday, playing in Donegal on Saturday and Sunday and then hitting the fairways in Lurgan on Tuesday. It would exhaust most of us just thinking about it!
Tara Walsh returned to the prizes this week with 36 pts. Tara had a very steady card with only one blip at the 8th and there surely must be a big score on its way to Tara soon. 36 pts was good enough to top section two as well and Grizel Tarkington was the lucky lady in this section. Grizel is always out early and maybe her head wasn’t just in gear on the first few holes when she dropped a few shots but by the time she hit the back nine she had found her groove and scored 4 pars to make her score.
The final section prize went to Deirdre McGlone with 31 pts. Deirdre has had a quiet start to the season but it all came together for her this week and hopefully now she has tasted victory it will make her keen for more. The nine hole winner was Evelyn Magee with 15 pts.
Congratulations to all the prize winners and a big thanks to Peter Hanna for sponsoring the prizes and for all the support and encouragement he gives us on a weekly basis.
Mrs Pamela Morrow's Prize/British Legion
The McGeagh Cup was up for grabs on Tuesday and Christine Hagan well and truly stamped her name on the trophy with a magnificent 69 net. Christine had three fine birdies at 4,5,and 15 on her way to her score and in addition to getting her name on the trophy, she reduced her handicap to 7. Maeve Cummins continued her good run of form and after a tight tussle with her playing partner NIamh McSherry, she just sneaked the gross with a level par 72. Sarah Denver and Christine Hagan were the last two players to take to the course and it was worth the wait as Sarah picked up the Section 1 prize with a net 71. Sarah had a great round going and just ran out of steam on the last few holes to allow Christine to get away from her, but in addition to her section prize, she will have been pleased to reduce her handicap further to 16.