The penultimate weekend of qualifiers in County Armagh Golf Club's 2017 calendar saw new member Ciaran Conroy carry off the September Medal with a stunning nett 63.
In the tournament contested on Saturday 23 September and kindly sponsored by Ian Dawson Solicitors, pars at the 6th, 7th and 8th helped Ciaran to negotiate the first nine holes in 41 strokes and, more significantly, left him four shots under his handicap at that halfway juncture. Similarly accomplished play would follow during a no-nonsense back nine of two pars and seven bogeys.
This performance would have been impressive at any time, but it was particularly so given the dampness underfoot and the gustiness overhead on a what was difficult day for golf. Unperturbed, Ciaran cruised to glory in the sixth and final monthly Medal of the golfing year and earned a new handicap of 19 that he'll no doubt reduce further in 2018.
Ciaran Conroy, winner of the County Armagh Golf Club September Medal, is presented with his prize by competition sponsor, Ian Dawson (Solicitor). Also pictured are category 2 runner-up, Dessie Cassidy, and Club Captain, Richard Stewart.
A handicap-equalling outward trek provided Gary Jordan with a stable platform from which to launch a blistering back-nine assault featuring five pars and just 41 blows. This all added up to a superb gross 65 and the overall runner-up prize for Jordan.
A two-under-par round represented Stewart Stevenson's latest exceptional offering in what has been a characteristically high-class campaign for the two-handicapper. Stewart triumphed in category 1 with a nett 66 that was bolstered by birdies at the 3rd, 10th, 11th and 14th. That nett total was matched by Michael Cullen, but he had to settle for second place after losing out on a break of tie. Ugly sevens at the 8th and 18th ultimately cost Cullen dear but should not overshadow the beauty of 12 pars and a birdie elsewhere.
Paul Rice's rollercoaster nett 68 included the highs of back-to-back birdies and nine pars and the lows of four double bogeys and two trebles. When he eventually unfastened his seatbelt and disembarked, the Keady man was awarded the top accolade in category 2. Edged into second place on account of Rice's superior back nine was Dessie Cassidy. His nett 68 was a more straightforward affair, comprising as it did five pars, 11 bogeys and two double bogeys.
Michael Crozier took the plaudits in category 3, registering five pars on his way to a hard-fought nett 69, while a steady nett 70 was enough for Barry McIlvanna to occupy the runner-up berth.
A wet and windy Wednesday could not dampen the spirits of the ever-consistent Ian Beaddie, who prevailed in the weekly Seniors Open competition on 27 September with a terrific gross 76 and its resulting 40 points. The under-50s Open on the same day was cancelled due to a lack of numbers and played as a sweep, which was won by Mark Frazer with an excellent score of 39 points.
Even more miserable weather seven days previously on Wednesday 20 September reduced both Open events to a combined sweep, where Conal Hamill racked up 37 points to emerge victorious from a talented field containing three other players. As Conal will maintain, you can only beat what's put in front of you!