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All the news from Captain’s Weekend

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Captain’s day 2011

After the qualifying round of the previous weekend, view competition proper took place on Saturday last. Captain Mr Joe McCann was up at the crack of dawn and out on the links to greet competitors as they arrived. Ninety nine of Strandhill’s finest golfers had survived the first cut and all the indicators were for a lovely mild day as the first three ball of Shane Martyn, check John O’Donoghue and Philip Osborne headed for the first tee at 7.20 a.m. Thirty two three balls were to follow at intervals culminating with the three top qualifiers Martin Campion, help Tristan Probst and Martin Cadden at 12.20 p.m. A spell of rain around 10.30 lasted a mercifully short time and though the breeze stiffened progressively through the day conditions have to be said to have been benign and scoring was reflected so. The 27 hole format for the day sees a second cut take place after 18 holes with the top 21 placed golfers braving another nine holes before the Captain’s Day Prize Winner for the year can be determined. A lot of golf was played between 7.20 a.m and 5.30 p.m and a lot of dreams were shattered and tempers frayed and for every exultant golfer stood another who vowed to have the clubs on ebay before sundown. The breaks on a golf course however have a tendency to level out, a lucky bounce is as likely as a bad one and so on Saturday evening we had the 21 men who had so far played 36 holes to put themselves on the startline for the final shootout. The cut had fallen at the very high standard of 69 nett. Shane Martyn, our first man out at 7.20 posted an early lead of 66 and he was joined by four others on that mark as the day unfolded. When play was concluded after 18 holes, 19 players were squeezed into a narrow band of scores from 66 to 69 nett. But two men had slipped the field. Peter McDonnell on 62 and Noel Tivnan on 63, both playing off 14 appeared to have the prize between them with a healthy cushion and only 9 more holes to be played. At a little after 6 o’clock the seven surviving threeballs headed for the fray. This is the biggest prize in the annual calendar, a ‘major’ for the club golfer and while some of the ’21’ were thrilled simply to be still involved at the ultimate stage others were obviously of more determined bent. But scores can’t be forced on the golf course and the gap between the leading duo and the rest of the field proved insurmountable. Aiden Heffernan belied his youth and inexperience to charge through to third place. Dessie Timbs, always on the scene at these events ground out fourth place ahead of Con Hegarty who enjoyed a fine finish. Paul Cox, a fine young low handicapper edged out Sean Fenton for sixth, though Sean can be well pleased with his day’s efforts. In eighth place Padraig Watters struck a blow for the older generation seeing off two young men who’s combined age would be shy of Padraig’s. Brian Henry took ninth and that man again Shane Martyn our 99th qualifier from the previous week and the first man on the tee at 7.20 hung on to claim tenth spot. Mark Wehrly held it all together splendidly to claim the gross prize, a much coveted award. But that was the sideshow. At the head of affairs McDonnell and Tivnan were the headliners and provided a memorable dual. Talk of Watson and Nicklaus in Turnberry 1977 might be a little exaggerated, but only a little. Noel drew first blood early on to join Peter at the top. The count back procedure gave him the edge at this stage. Neither man shirked the challenge and it was nip and tuck to the end. On the 17th hole Noel missed the green well left and performed a near miracle to minimise his losses. However Peter now had a one shot lead and a share of the spoils on the last would see him home. Both men safely negotiated their way to the 18th green and both stood over 10/12 foot putts which were going to decide the outcome of this year’s Captain’s Prize. An appreciative crowd gathered round the green to add to the atmosphere and no doubt the nerves of our two protagonists. Noel stood up first and punched the air as his putt hit the centre of the cup amid great applause. Suddenly Peter was left with an all or nothing situation. There could be no tie, he either holed his putt to win or Tivvy would take the prize. There was frantic whispering and probably sidebetting going on around the green as Peter stood over a trappy downhill putt that few would fancy in such fraught circumstances. Displaying no nerves, he sent it rolling smoothly, tracking at the cup, and with more fist pumping and applause we had our Captain’s Prize winner for 2011. Congratulations from everyone at Strandhill to Peter McDonnell, it was a putt worthy of winning ANY golf tournament.

Captain Joe and his family and guests enjoyed a superb dinner in the clubhouse before the presentation of prizes took place. The night was rounded off with music by the Curly Bobs and here’s hoping that Joe enjoyed his Captain’s Day as much as everyone else did, to this correspondent’s eyes he certainly appeared to!

Finally a special word of thanks to Jason Kelly and his staff for producing, yet again, an absolutely superb golf course on the day. Thanks lads, your great work was not unnoticed.

Other prizes on the day:

Seniors

1. David Lindsay

2. Alan Lillis

Past Captain

Donie McGowan

Captains Prize to the ladies

1. Marie Rooney

2. Gillian Ballantyne

3. Therese Cosgrove

4. Virginia Curran

Captain’s Prize to the juniors

1. Conor Wynne

2. Ruairi Fox

Non-qualifiers.

1. Jim Coyne

2. Sean Conlon


Fixtures;

Friday 15th Mixed Foursomes (open)

Saturday 16th Nevada Bob’s ssf (open)

Sunday 17th Club ssf (open)


Teams;

Mixed news, literally, on the teams front this week. Hugh Gallagher’s gallant charges were unfortunately knocked out of the Cecil Ewing Shield by neighbours County Sligo. On a more positive note however, Kieran Egan’s mixed foursomes team continue to sweep all before them and by defeating Enniscrone have now qualified for a connacht semi-final against Claremorris Golf Club to take place in Portumna on Friday July 22nd.

To that end a fundraising table quiz will take place in the clubhouse on Friday evening next (July 15th). Please spread the word and invite family, friends and neighbours to come along. On the same evening at 5 p.m. trials for the Connacht Shield team will take place. Team Captain Andy Leggett would like to see as many golfers as possible out for this and hopefully to stay around for the quiz afterwards.

Clubhouse Functions;

A tablequiz will take place in the clubhouse on Friday evening July 15th. (see above).

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