A recent weekend of pairs and team events at County Armagh Golf Club gave players a rare chance to pool their talents in the hunt for honours.
In a Four-Ball Better-Ball competition on Saturday 14 April, a deadly duo of Laurence Corr and the in-form Oliver Connell emerged triumphant with 46 points.
That total kept them one clear of runners-up Leo King and Philip Dowey who, on account of their superior back-nine performance, pushed Gareth Reilly and Gavin McArdle into the bronze medal position.
The following day, a Four-Ball Team Classic saw the high-quality quartet of Tom Fox, Michael Cullen, John Vernon and Kieran Campbell rack up a massive 106 points to secure a comfortable victory.
Sunday's second place was filled by Mark Frazer, Jim McMullan, Andrew Conn and Philip Russell on 99 points.
Meanwhile, the same score was registered by Geoff McCartney, Johnny Brown, Norman Mallon and Colin Clarke, who had to settle for third place after losing out on a break of tie.
Such tournaments provide a welcome break from golf's inherent selfishness but, with the 2018 campaign's first qualifier having since been played, pursuit of individual glory will be the priority from here on in.
County Armagh's final par 3: the 13th, Rokeby Green.
The welcome break in the seemingly interminable cold and wet weather saw a large number of ladies participate in the PGA Tankard competition, generously sponsored by our club professional Will Carey.
Competing for the generous array of prizes, most golfers began their round in what has become their weekly attire: wet suits, woolly hats and as many layers as could be accommodated without rendering swinging a golf club impossible. After a few holes most ladies began the process of shedding layers as they basked in the welcome warmth of the sun.
Willes presence was marked not only by his generous prizes but many revised, or in some cases rebuilt swings were in evidence as players put the fruits of their winter lessons into play.
In her speech Elizabeth paid tribute to Will who has, in his first year, proved to be a huge asset to the club. The renovated shop and floral displays present a welcome to visitors and members alike and Elizabeth expressed the wish that Wills generous sponsorship and support pays dividends through increased trade.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney expressed her delight at the large number of ladies who had participated in the competition and were in attendance for the prize giving on a beautiful warm sunny evening. The long awaited blue skies attracted, fifty ladies to play in the 18-hole competition with a further twenty-one competing in the nine-hole competition.
The overall winner on the day was Lily McMullan with 38 points . Emma Garrigan took second spot with 37 points just ahead of Alexandra Mawhinney who secured third place with 36 points.
Lady Captain Elizabeth with the prize winners of the PGA Tankard Stableford Competition.
A full list of additional prize-winners is set out below-
As County Armagh Golf Club finally begins to emerge from a brutal and seemingly never-ending winter, the first trophy on its 2018 fixture list has been awarded to Oliver Connell.
Oliver was a regular prizewinner in 2017 and it's been a case of, "Please, sir, I want some more", as he's hit the ground running again this term.
In the CP McNabb Trophy, which was played for on the weekend of 7-8 April, the big 16-handicapper triumphed by virtue of a marvellous 42-point performance; golf, glorious golf.
Having notched 19 points on his way out, Connell really turned on the style during a 39-shot back nine that included birdies at the 12th and 17th.
That yielded a massive homeward haul of 23 points, which meant that even a late Oliver twist — namely a treble bogey at the 18th — couldn't derail his Saturday success.
Oliver's Army: CP McNabb Trophy winner, Oliver Connell, is joined by proud daughter, Alicia, and son, Calum, who himself was a prizewinner in the Easter Open a week previously. Also pictured is Club Captain, Colm Shannon, who made the presentation.
Leading the chasing pack that Connell so artfully dodged was Adam Hunniford, who matched both the victor's 42-point total and, remarkably, his breakdown of 19 points on the front nine and 23 on the way in.
County Armagh Golf Club hosted its annual Easter Open competition on 31 March and 1 April, a weekend when bitterly cold conditions were in direct contrast to the red-hot scoring.
The most sizzling of these performances in the stableford event sponsored by Cyril Johnson & Co Ltd came from Stephen Miller, who plundered no fewer than 25 points on a two-over-par front nine, which he followed up with a further 21 on the homeward trek.
On a super Saturday showing in which Stephen birdied the 4th and carded only one double bogey, he eventually signed for a blistering 46 points to seal a comfortable three-point winning margin.
The Easter Open stableford competition at County Armagh Golf Club was won by Stephen Miller, who was presented with his prize by Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured are other prizewinners in the Cyril Johnston & Co Ltd-sponsored tournament: (L-R) Paul Donnelly, Stephen Nugent, John Vernon, Calum Connell and John Maguire.
Miller will hope to reproduce such heroics when the qualifying tournaments commence later this month, and his 19 handicap is likely to start plummeting from that point.
Peggy Nelson Qualifiers
Fifty-eight ladies took part in the 18 hole Peggy Nelson Stableford qualifying competition on April 12 in cold, but thankfully dry, conditions.
The Peggy Nelson Salver was first played for in 1957/58. It takes place annually in clubs across Northern Ireland with the winners in each club going forward to a final. The trophy commemorates the contribution made to Ladies Golf in the Northern Branch of the ILGU of its long serving secretary, Peggy Nelson, one of the 3 Gardiner sisters from Killymoon Golf Club whose golfing exploits were legendary.
Mary Black, Gillian Poole and Emma Garrigan won their respective categories and will represent the club in the finals of this year's competition, which will be held on July 15 in Dunmurray Golf Club.
The Lady Captain, Elizabeth warmly thanked Mr Philip Corrigan proprietor of Carey Glass International for his generous sponsorship and for choosing to support the Ladies branch.
Sponsor Philip Corrigan, Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and some of the prize winners of the Peggy Nelson Stableford Competition.
The results were as follows:-
An unusually early start to County Armagh Golf Club's 2018 Ulster Cup campaign soon became a very satisfying one too, as the team booked its place in the competition’s first round proper.
The historic and prestigious GUI Ulster Cup, which is played in singles format, is open to golfers with a handicap over 10 and an age over 30.
With the tournament draw having pitted them against Greenisland in the preliminary phase, Marty Daly’s seven-man band pitched up on the shores of Belfast Lough for the first leg clash on Sunday 25 March.
Thursday 5 th April saw the first Medal competition of the year for the Ladies Branch which was very generously sponsored by The Dressing Room.
Lady Captain Elizabeth welcomed all the ladies along with the Vice Lady Captain Moya and Mrs Alison Wylie proprietor of The Dressing Room. The weather continued to prove challenging with strong biting winds which contrasted unfavourably with the beautiful conditions in Augusta for the opening day of the Masters. To add to the difficulties, the preferred lies which had been in play throughout the winter were abandoned as this was a qualifying competition. However, the winner of the April Medal, Alexandra Mawhinney did not let the adverse weather conditions stand in her way, returning an excellent score of nett 71.
A delighted and surprised Alexandra graciously accepted her first prize from Alison, thanking her for the generous sponsorship.
Alexandra Mawhinney 1st Prize Winner, Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney, Mrs Alison Wylie proprietor The Dressing Room and successful competitors in the April Medal Competition.
April Medal -Competition Results: -
The Chest, Heart and Stroke competition has long featured on County Armagh's annual fixture list, and the club maintained its well-established relationship with the local charity with a two-day stableford event on 24 and 25 March.
The long-overdue but most welcome appearance of some spring sunshine combined with the fact that players had the opportunity to compete on both Saturday and Sunday to produce much better overall scoring than had been the case in previous weeks.
However, no one could keep pace with Stephen Nugent, who posted a terrific 43 points to seal first place.
Stephen's success was built largely on an impressive front nine showing five pars and ultimately yielding a massive 24 points.
To celebrate the 125th anniversary of County Armagh Golf Club, the Captain and Lady Captain invite you to join them for a 9 Hole Vintage Ladies and Gents Stableford Competition followed by Afternoon Tea in the Clubhouse.
Friday 4th May 2018 at 2pm (shotgun start)
Kindly sponsored by The Vintage Bar and Lounge, Armagh
Add names to the list available in Men’s Corridor by 12 noon on Wednesday 2nd May 2018.
Entry fee: £5 includes afternoon tea
SEE BELOW FOR SOME COSTUME IDEAS....
Easter and the Masters traditionally signals the end of winter and the start of the new golfing season.
At County Armagh the competitions are now well under way. If you haven't got out so far then this weekend's Easter stableford sponsored by Cyril Johnston will give you an opportunity to get your swing into shape.
This Tuesday 3 rd April sees the start of the Tuesday Cup, sponsored again by Traynors Motor Store. I expect to see the usual competitive tussle for top of the leader board right to the last Tuesday in August. It's always a great competition to play in. Personally, I am looking forward to a good performance and I hope you enjoy it as well.
Next week is certainly a busy week as we have our very own Masters Par3 competition on Friday 6 th April. Sponsored by Iron Designs Armagh, the first nine holes will be set up as par 3s and the competition is open to both men and women. Get into the Masters spirit and see if you can master our specially designed par 3 course.