Mere days before departing on a two-month tour down under, Art McCrory ensured that his Aussie odyssey started on a happy note by triumphing in the Smith Cup final at County Armagh Golf Club.
Having received a first round bye, Art's ultimately successful campaign in the matchplay competition for the 0-12 cohort got under way with a victory over Stephen Catterall. Then followed a defeat of Patsy Hegarty that sent McCrory to the semi-finals, where the 12-handicapper dispensed with regular playing partner Brian McGuigan.
And that set up a final showdown against Rónan O'Reilly in which Art eventually prevailed by 2&1 to deservedly get his hands on the coveted Smith Cup silverware, which was no doubt subsequently paraded around the Antipodes.
Art McCrory, winner of County Armagh Golf Club's Smith Cup, was presented with the trophy by Club Captain, Colm Shannon. Also pictured is beaten finalist, Rónan O'Reilly.
There's an old saying that, “Two things you don't want to see being made are laws and sausages”. To that list, runner-up O'Reilly might want to add “routes to the Smith Cup final” given that his passage past David Leeman, John Vernon and then Lee Campbell at times limped from the scrappy to the downright farcical.
Nevertheless, the six-handicapper will be content with his best ever Smith Cup showing, having previously reached the last four back in 2003, although he couldn't keep pace with McCrory in this year's decider.