Few members are more familiar with the surroundings of the County Armagh Golf Club winners' enclosure than Paul Doyle, and the big man added another victory to his collection on 10 June.
In the Sunday Stroke tournament, Paul was firing on all cylinders during a flawless back nine of eight pars and one birdie that backed up his highly respectable 36-shot outward journey. The consequential gross 71 and nett 65 clipped Doyle's handicap back to five and edged out runner-up Paul Donnelly on a break of tie.
Donnelly is enjoying a successful season of his own, and this latest prize-winning display comes hot on the heels of his triumph in last month's Bumblebee Cup. Donnelly has clearly been entirely comfortable with the lower handicap that that red-letter day granted him, and he reduced it still further here with a terrific outing that included six pars.
The 14th Hole at County Armagh: par 4, index 9, Sequoias.
Having bagged fourth position in the Lonsdale Cup eight days previously, Tom Fox was competing at the upper echelons of the leaderboard once again this time out. A tremendous one-over-par front nine culminated in back-to-back birdies and sent Fox to a nett 66 that, although marred by a seven at the 15th, was sufficient to see off all comers in category 1. The best of his challengers was Darren Wilson, who haemorrhaged five shots at the 7th and 8th but was simply superb elsewhere in recording 11 pars, a birdie and, ultimately, a nett 67.
Sunshine. Golf. Beers. Burgers. Saturday 9 June was just about the perfect day for all of the 180 competitors at County Armagh Golf Club, but it was an extra special one for Kevin Ward.
In the Professional's Competition kindly sponsored by full-time club professional and part-time barbecue maestro, Will Carey, a virtuoso performance from Ward saw him carry off the big prize.
Will Carey, sponsor of the recent Professional's Competition at County Armagh Golf Club, is pictured alongside Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and prizewinners (L-R) Lee Campbell, Martin Murphy, Ian Ritchie and Lee Kirrane.
Kevin reached the turn at just five over par having been helped along by pars at the 2nd, 4th and 9th and a bonus birdie at the 6th. And even better would follow on a back nine consisting of another birdie up on Rokeby Green, a handful of momentum-maintaining bogeys and a particularly meritorious run of three pars on the trot from the 15th to 17th. That all added up to a magnificent nett 63 that earned Ward a new handicap of 14 as well as the highest accolade in Will's showpiece event.
Nobody really wants to watch England v Tunisia this evening, right?
Instead, come along and lend a hand at the second 'spruce' up session at 6.30pm. Bit of weeding, divot replacement etc. Thanks again to all our volunteers.
Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney welcomed everyone to the presentation of prizes and expressed her relief that the main competition and the visiting Lady Captain's event had been played in pleasant conditions as the stormy night and early morning rain had threatened proceedings. Seventeen visiting Lady Captain's had enjoyed a coffee morning reception, a nine-hole competition followed by a lovely lunch and prize giving.
The winner of first prize in the Club Stableford competition was Cait McKinney who returned an excellent score of 40 points , to beat runner up Breda Teahan who recorded 39 points. Third place honours went to Colette McSorley with 37 points.
Cait was delighted to accept her prize and wished Elizabeth a successful Lady Captain's Day on Saturday 23 rd.
Cait McKinney winner of the Club Stableford Competition with Lady Captain Elizabeth Mawhinney and a number of competition winners.
The remaining winners on the day were
County Armagh Golf Club's increasingly impressive Ulster Cup crew recently extended their stay in this year's tournament with what turned out to be a routine third-round dismissal of South Armagh outfit Ashfield.
Marty Daly's charges adopted a no-nonsense approach to the first leg on Sunday 3 June, and the home team were on red-hot form in the searing Cathedral City sunshine. In the construction of a surely insurmountable 6-1 and 24-hole lead, there were home wins for Patrick Brannigan, Paul Corvan, Paul McCurry, Batty McGurgan, Nigel McMahon and Cormac O'Hare, while only a last-hole defeat for skipper Daly prevented a clean sweep.
The scintillating scoring of the previous day's Lonsdale Cup was in evidence once more 24 hours later, when the players at County Armagh Golf Club again cruelly dismantled the challenge of a course rendered vulnerable to low rounds by the simply sublime golfing conditions.
On 3 June, Henry Lyttle contradicted his surname to record a rather large 44-point total that left him two clear at the top of the leaderboard in a stableford event sponsored by King Bros Quarry.
Playing off a 21 handicap, Henry registered seven pars on the way out, which meant that he had banked a mammoth 24 points by half-time. The 20-point back nine that followed was characterised more by understated excellence, as pars at the 15th and 18th put the icing on his Sunday Stableford cake, with an added sweetener coming in the shape of a three-shot handicap reduction.
Henry Lyttle, winner of the recent King Bros Quarry competition at County Armagh Golf Club, is presented with his prize by sponsor, Robert King. Also pictured are Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and other prizewinners (L-R) Colin Clarke, Jarlath McReynolds, Caolan Doyle, Danny Maxwell and Kieran Grimes.
A couple of points adrift of Lyttle and assuming second position overall for the second day in a row was that man Jarlath McReynolds, who matched his Lonsdale sub-par antics with another gross 67 here.
The Lonsdale Open represents one of the most prestigious and eagerly anticipated events on the County Armagh Golf Club fixture list, and the historic Lonsdale Cup is arguably the most coveted piece of silverware the club has to offer.
In the stroke competition sponsored by Armagh City Hotel on 2 June, then, the Lonsdale was granted its due reverence and respect by both the heavenly weather and the stunning scoring among 189 hopeful contenders. And heading up that field to be crowned a most worthy 2018 Lonsdale Champion was Ed Hughes, who returned a breathtaking nett 61.
Four consecutive pars from the 5th to the 8th helped Ed to reach the turn in 39 strokes, which was three under his then 16 handicap. Even better was to follow, however, as birdies at the 12th and 13th, which nestled nicely among his pars at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th, meant that Hughes was just three over par with three holes left to play. Hughes's 5, 5, 6 climax from there was understandably jittery, but it couldn't prevent his romping to Lonsdale triumph with a fantastic gross 77 that also clips his handicap to 13.
County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and Barry Donaghy, representing Armagh City Hotel, present the Lonsdale Cup to champion, Ed Hughes. Also pictured are other prizewinners (L-R) Rónan O'Reilly, Tom Fox, Jarlath McReynolds, Shea Brady, John Maguire and Peter McParland.
Next to Ed in the Saturday pecking order was the red-hot Jarlath McReynolds, who negotiated the city course in just 67 hits. McReynolds's mastery was particularly evident during a three-under-par homeward dander, yet this nett 63 and overall runner-up award was to constitute only the first phase of a highly satisfying weekend's work.
A large number of lady members competed for the Marie Curie Classic Competition on the 7th June on a beautiful hot and sunny day. The course was in magnificent condition for the annual competition which was again sponsored by Rice's Supermarket, Keady who have been associated with the charity for many years.
Whilst the warm sunshine was most welcome the cooler surroundings of the clubhouse were the perfect setting for the very well attended presentation. Mrs Phil Rice, on behalf of the sponsors organised the fabulous display of generous hampers which she presented to the grateful prize-winners. The overall winners were the experienced pairing of Bernie Rice and Geraldine Rafferty who returned an excellent score of 45 points. Geraldine thanked Phil for the beautifully presented hampers which Rice's always provide for the competition and expressed her delight at winning a competition which contributes to such a worthy cause. The Lady Captain Elizabeth also thanked Phil for the long-term sponsorship which her family business has consistently given to the club.
Mrs Phil Rice representing Rice’s Supermarket Keady presents hampers to the prize winners of the Marie Curie Classic Competition held at Co Armagh Golf Club on 7th June.
On another hectic, not to mention searingly hot, weekend of inter-club matchplay competition, no fewer than four of County Armagh Golf Club's teams were in action on Sunday 3 June. And grabbing the headlines this time were the All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy panel, who booked their place in the last 16 after a victory over Knock that was marvellous and nail-biting in equal measure.
In the first leg in the Cathedral City on Sunday 27 May, the home side started in a bright and business-like fashion. The pairing of Oliver Connell and Stephen Nugent notched an early point through a casual dismissal of their opponents out at Ballyheridan, while their colleagues were ahead in three of the other four games.
The visiting East Belfast outfit rallied strongly at that juncture, however, and proceeded to claim two comeback successes. One of those concluded in dramatic fashion when Ian Ritchie's par putt on 18, which would've halved the match, lipped out and his Knock counterpart got up and down from below the green as though he'd been playing the course all his life.
County Armagh Golf Club overcame Knock to reach the last 16 of the All-Ireland Four-Ball Trophy.
Paul Wasson and Norman Mallon then had to content themselves with a half point after a birdie brace from the Knock skipper and his partner undermined the home duo's previously commanding position. And in the last remaining individual contest, Paul Kelly and Gavin McElmeel gained a priceless win to leave the overall tie tantalisingly poised at 2.5-2.5 with County Armagh two holes to the good at the halfway stage.
There has been a welcome influx of junior boys and girls to County Armagh Golf Club since the arrival of Will Carey as our professional last year, and the Club received more good news recently with the announcement of a Junior Golf Bursary.
This initiative is being supported by the family of the late Pat Toner, who was Club Captain in 1961 and President in 1974-75, and his late wife, Colette, the 1992 Lady Captain.
Pictured at the Junior Golf Bursary presentation ceremony are (Front, L-R) Jarlath McReynolds (Joint Junior Boys Convenor), Joe Rooney, Caolan McReynolds (Junior Boys), Lauryn McKeown, Yasmin Monaghan (Junior Girls), Sylvia Ashe (Junior Girls Convenor) and (Back, L-R) Paddy Toner, Colm Shannon (Captain), Petrina O'Hare (née Toner), Barry Toner, Elizabeth Mawhinney (Lady Captain) and Paddy Burns (Honorary Secretary).
The Toner family met club officials to officially launch the bursary last week when Barry Toner, on behalf of the Toner family, presented a sizeable cheque to the current Captain and Lady Captain.
The Toner family hope to continue to support this programme in the coming years. Everyone at County Armagh Golf Club is sincerely grateful for their fantastic generosity and will endeavour to put it to good use.
With the course at County Armagh Golf Club suddenly in the sort of dry and bouncy state that was almost unimaginable just a fortnight ago, Eamon O'Hagan and Lee Kirrane took full advantage of the wonderful weather to land the spoils in two recent Sunday Stableford events.
First, on 20 May, four consecutive pars midway through the front nine helped Eamon to a satisfactory 18-point halfway tally before he really hit his stride coming home. The former schoolteacher birdied the 11th, recorded two further pars at the 13th and 14th and then, crucially, negotiated his way back to the clubhouse with four harmless bogeys. That all meant a terrific 39-point total that handed O'Hagan a slice of glory and pruned his handicap to 14.
The 3rd hole at County Armagh Golf Club: par 3, Lonsdale.
After his category accolade a week previously, Patrick Darragh was back among the prizes with an overall runner-up placing here. Darragh missed out on top spot only on account of a marginally less productive back nine and, indeed, his day shared some similarities with Eamon's as he, too, parred everything from the 4th to the 7th and earned a 15-to-14 handicap clip as a result his excellent 39 points.
Just shy of 200 hopefuls took to County Armagh Golf Club's fairways on 26 May, as the packed field made the most of this continued spell of sublime weather.
In the Open Stroke tournament sponsored by Hillview Lodge Driving Range, eventual champion Christopher Lester signalled his winning intentions right from the off with a birdie at the opening hole. Pars at the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th then ameliorated most of the damage caused by unwelcome treble bogeys at the 2nd and 8th.
So, Lester reached the turn in a handicap-equalling 41 shots but it was thereafter that he really made his bolt for glory, as another birdie at the 10th kick-started a wonderful two-over-par back nine display. The now 13-handicapper's 4, 5, 4 concluding sequence was deserving of particular credit, and the resultant nett 65 ensured that Christopher could add this Open title to the various honours that he claimed in his prolific 2017, most notably the Bumblebee Cup.
County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and Gary Baird from Hillview Lodge Driving Range, sponsor of the Open Stroke competition, are pictured with prizewinners (L-R): Oliver Connell, Anthony Conlon, Leo King, Stephen Catterall and Adam Cromwell.
The overall runner-up plaudits were taken by Leo King, who also posted a terrific nett 65 but was denied first prize on a countback. This was a truly regal performance from King nevertheless. His four-over-par knock was an accomplished affair made up of a birdie, five bogeys and a dozen pars, including six on the bounce at the beginning of the back nine.
With young Adam Cromwell having snapped up the first Medal of the season at County Armagh Golf Club last month, the second was on offer for the best performer in an Armagh Business Centre-sponsored stoke competition on 19 May. And as 174 combatants did sunshine battle for the coveted silverware, the last man standing was the increasingly prolific Stephen Nugent.
Given the fruitful fashion in which in which he has commenced the 2018 campaign — numerous category honours have followed his top prize in March's Chest, Heart and Stroke — the Keady player has been threatening a really big win, and he got it here by virtue of a fabulous nett 64.
Nugent's success was built on admirable constancy and error evasion, as his only score worse than a bogey came in the form of a relatively harmless five at the 9th. Elsewhere, Stephen's steadiness brought six pars and 11 bogeys, including a 5, 4, 5 climax that was especially impressive given the stakes.
In addition to being presented with the May Medal for his superb Saturday showing, Nugent has taken receipt of a new handicap of 18, and his sound golfing progress shows no sign of abatement.
Stephen Nugent is presented with the May Medal by Eileen Stewart from Armagh Business Centre, competition sponsor. Also pictured are County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, and other prizewinners, Conal Hamill and Eamon Connolly.
Matching the triumphant total of nett 64 but losing out to the champion on break of tie was Conal Hamill, who filled the overall runner-up berth. There is little substitute for experience and, as the Moy man rolled back the years, he rolled home the putts to reach the turn in just 37 strokes.
County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon, is joined by Mrs Kathleen Mallon for the presentation of prizes in the Iggy Mallon Memorial Cup.
The Mixed Greensomes competition was won by Jerome Leer and Mary Black. Runners-up were Paddy Burns and Patricia Hughes, while Stephen Miller and Lynne Brown were third. The gross prize went to Andrew Miller and Alexandra Mawhinney.
County Armagh Golf Club enjoyed double delight on the inter-club matchplay front recently, as both the Fred Daly Trophy and Jimmy Bruen Shield squads earned impressive wins in the first rounds of their respective competitions.
The Fred Daly Trophy employs a simple singles format, and an early matchup with Portstewart appeared a tricky proposition for the County Armagh youngsters. However, under the expert guidance of their captain, Jarlath McReynolds, the lads gained a dominant 4-1 advantage over their North Coast counterparts from the home leg on Saturday 12 May. And the boys extended that margin in Portstewart eight days later, when a 3-2 scoreline in their favour put the seal on a convincing 7-3 overall triumph.
The victorious County Armagh panel, who will meet Cairndhu in the second phase, consisted of Calum Connell, Steve Donaghy, Mark Hagan, Simon McGurk, Jamie McKenna, Caolan McReynolds and Joe Rooney.
County Armagh's Fred Daly side set up a meeting with Cairndhu by seeing off Portstewart.
The inability to field a side to compete in the Fred Daly Trophy in each of the last three seasons represented something of a nadir for junior golf at County Armagh. This success is especially poignant, therefore, and owes everything to the enthusiastic approach to junior coaching shown by Will Carey since he took up the reins as Club Professional last year, and the tireless efforts of joint juvenile convenors, Michael Calvert and Jarlath McReynolds. Thankfully, the future now looks bright.
"Twenty-twenty" is a phrase most readily associated with an optician's surgery or the modern-day short form of cricket. However, on 13 May, Gareth Frizell employed a golfing version of the 20/20 formula to scoop top prize in a stableford event at County Armagh Golf Club.
Gareth's winning scorecard showed 20 points on each nine, and his fine 85-stroke offering also ensured a one-shot handicap reduction. Double bogeys at the 3rd and 12th were the only minor blots on Frizell's Sunday copybook, because his steadiness everywhere else enabled him to complete the other 16 holes in 12 bogeys and four pars, the most memorable of which resulted from a chip-in on Oul Coach Road.
County Armagh Golf Club's signature hole: the 11th, par 3, Shambles.
I have decided my charity this year will be the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Cancer unfortunately touches the lives of many people. Everyone needs friends when times are tough. The Friends of the Cancer Centre is a local charity available when you or your loved ones need it most.
As one of Northern Ireland's leading cancer charities, Friends of the Cancer Centre is dedicated to making a real difference to local cancer patients and their families by providing life – saving and life changing care and support.
The charity's work focuses on three key areas – patient care, patient comfort and research – with each making a direct and positive impact on thousands of lives each year.
Their work in local cancer research allows the charity to fund additional research staff and vital research equipment which allows for the development of new and improved ways to treat cancer.
All their work relies entirely on public support.
On a recent visit to the City Hospital I saw at first hand their good work and decided that they would be my charity.
I hope on my Captain's Day you will be able to make a small donation to this good cause. If you are not playing that day or would like to donate in advance I have set up a just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/colm-shannon
The Lady Captain will also have her charity and we hope that in some small way you will be able to support both of us.
With the weather showing a belated improvement and the course having dried out considerably as a result, things at County Armagh Golf Club are beginning to look and feel a bit more like one might usually expect for this time of year.
And in the PGA Tankard on Saturday 12 May, Andrew Hayward took full advantage of these more manageable conditions to expertly lead home a field of more than 160 hopefuls.
Hayward was anything but wayward as he kept it very much on the straight and narrow during a front nine that contained a birdie at the second-hardest hole and just 38 strokes. Playing off 15, that gave Andrew a very healthy halfway status and meant that mere solidity coming home should be enough to shoot a decent number; and so it proved.
A double bogey at the 16th was a minor setback that could've led to an irreversible loss of momentum — it's happened to many of us — but Hayward responded in some style, registering two closing pars to crown a terrific 40-point victory in the competition sponsored by Armagh Potato Company Ltd.
PGA Tankard winner, Paul Hayward, receives his prize from County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured are Charlie Johnston from Armagh Potato Company Ltd, competition sponsor, and other prizewinners (L-R): Paul Kelly, Shea Smyth and Eamon Connolly.