THE NORTH-Western Alliance returned to Ballyliffin on Saturday last for a re-arranged outing and those taking part enjoyed a facility in prime condition not to mention a glorious sunny day.
While other courses in the area remained closed until the afternoon due to frost, Ballyliffin was playable much to the delight of those who travelled.
Indeed, the Inishowen club is deserving of the highest praise for the on-going work on the first nine and with the new Captain, the redoubtable Colm McCarroll, there’s no doubt that under his leadership and vision Ballyliffin, even in these difficult financial times, continues to press on with their programme to upgrade the both links courses.
The changes to the bunkering shows the determination of the club to go higher than their present ranking of 16th in the 100 best courses in Ireland.
Another point of note was the skill of the greenkeeper staff in carrying out this work but, then again, they are well used to it having completed a similar job on the back nine last year.
Meanwhile, the competition on the day proved extremely competitive as, after nine holes, there were three players on level par. In fact, after 11 North-West’s Justin MacLochlainn had moved ahead but two disappointing bogeys and an ugly double bogey at the 17th put him out of contention. There was a similar story in relation to Sean Forbes and he also slipped away.
In the end the winner, Damien Mooney, used his prodigious length to good use in reducing the par fives to ‘fours’ which saw him home against Michael McGinley who had made a late surge to come through the field.
Narin & Portnoo professional, Connor Mallon, will rue a double bogey at the last which saw him relegated to third place.
In the Nett Category, while Letterkenny members dominated last week, this week it was the turn of Strabane members and the toast of the Ballycolman club was Kieran Martin who won following a three-way break of tie.
This was Kieran’s first Alliance victory. His card was a model of consistency - all pars or bogeys - unlike those he defeated in the tie-break, having managed to keep the double bogeys off his card.
The hard luck story of the day centred on Faughan Valley member, John Lewers, who must have thought he had the competition won when he stood on the 17th tee. He sent his drive very - and I mean very - far right and while he managed to locate his ball, many tribulations later he holed out for a particularly forgettable “10” on this difficult par five .He was undaunted, however, and he parred the 18th to finish level par for his round.
Even more hard to take was the player who totalled his back nine and wrote it opposite the “18th score,” so instead of recording a ‘4’ he recorded a remarkable ‘4,’ a salutatory lesson demonstrating that the job isn’t done until the paper work is completed and checked.
The next outing will take place at Rosapenna this Saturday, February 19th.
North Western Alliance Outing to Ballyliffin (Glashedy Links) - Saturday, February 12th - Nett Category - 1, Kieran Martin (13), Strabane, 69 nett; 2, break of tie, Keith Lapsley (5), Dunfanagahy, 71; 3, Odhran McGettigan (24), Strabane, 71; 4, Stephen McCay (5), Strabane, 71; 5, John Lewers (13), Faughan Valley, 72; 6, Danny McLaughlin (14), Letterkenny, 73.
Gross Category - 1, Damien Mooney (scr), unattached, 73; 2, break of tie, Michael McGinley (scr), Grange, 76; 3, Connor Mallon (scr.), Narin & Portnoo, 76; 4, Justin MacLochlainn (2), North-West, 76; 5, break of tie, John Harding (3), North-West, 78; 6, Sean Forbes (4), Strabane, 78.
The following players carded “2’s” and each will receive four balls each - K. Lapsley, J. Harding, S. McCay, O. McGettigan, P. MacLochlainn, K. Doherty, B. McFadden, B. Corry and C. MacLochlainn.
News From North-West
Harry Coyle continued his promising early season form last week when competing in the popular Tuesday Open “Meal Deal” competition at Lisfannon.
The 13 handicapper posted a winning score of 40 points having carded birdies at the 6th and par five 18th.
The runner-up was Pat Mackey (14) with 37 points.
The “Open Meal Deal” event continues today and every Tuesday where visitors may play in the competition and enjoy a meal in the clubhouse after their round for E20.
Meanwhile, former club President, Mr. Dudley Coyle (21) emerged the winner of last week’s Thursday Society.
His fine score of 40 points in the Singles Stableford event gave him a two points win over John O’Brien (9) and Eddie Curran (17), both on 38 points.
“Twos” were recorded by, Gerald Gallagher, Brendan C. Coyle and Joe McGinley.
Finally, the North-West club has added a new category to its membership this year with the introduction of a beginners’ rate. Thisvapplies to those who have been a member of a club or held an offical GUI handicap. The new subscription is priced at an introductory rate of E220, The Youth category has been extended to age 25 from this year also and at E140. A G.U.I levy of E17.50 is due on all categories excluding house membership. For full detailsContact the Shop on 003537493-61715 or secretary on 00-353-7493-61027 or 0035386-6047299.