The prestigious St. Patricks Plate — postponed from 28th November — took place on the Sandy Hills course in Rosapenna at the weekend with the continuing work on making that links even better necessitating in the competition being reduced to 16 holes.
This decision was made because of the ongoing work in respect of the remodelled 12th green, the designer of which is Beau Welling, an American course designer among whose creations is Quinta de Largo North.
The shaping and re-sodding of the green has been supervised by head greenkeeper Paul Travers and the work of stripping back the turf, shaping the green and surrounds and relaying it all took just four weeks. All members were unstinting in their praise of the work and the greenkeepers in the party were full of admiration for the way the work had been skilfully and speedily carried out.
The Alliance’s St. Patricks Plate was presented by the famous Jack Nicklaus on behalf of the Walsh family from Carrigart in November 2005. The defending champion was Eugene Corry from Newtownstewart while the first ever winner of this prestigious trophy was none other than the Alliance’s long serving secretary Barry Ramsay.
In all, it has been won by three members from Letterkenny GC while members from the following clubs have also been successful; Dunfanaghy, Ballyliffin, Newtownstewart and this year’s winner, Odhran Mc Gettigan, is the second member from Strabane GC to win it. Michael McGeady, from North West GC, has won it twice in succession.
The day itself, while blustery, was unseasonably warm with occasional light showers . The course proved to be playing at it’s toughest and only the most accomplished golfers were able to return scores near their handicaps. In the gross section, James Kelly was at the top of the leaderboard alongside Michael McGeady at the turn, both on 39, with Brian McElhinney just one behind.
Michael took the outright lead with a birdie at 10th when James recorded an ugly double bogey and Brian dropped two behind with a par. Brian then birdied the 13th while the other two ‘parred’. James then had another double bogey, Brian dropped a stroke while Michael parred and so with five holes to go the situation among the front runners was that Michael led on plus 2, Brian was +4 while James was now out to seven over.
On the final holes, Brian birdied 16th and 17th to go to plus two while Michael had pars and a bogey, which he incurred at the par 3 17th, to compile a three over score. James chalked up yet another ugly seven at the par five 17th to finish third.
In the Nett section there was only one player at his best, that being the irrepressible Odhran McGettigan who won by a massive six points and holds the plate for 2015/2016 season. Brendan McCarroll Snr, making his late debut this year, felt he had played ‘out of his skin’ but was left toiling in the Strabane GC member’s wake.
In fact, Odhran, playing off a twenty six  handicap, could otherwise have been 5th in the Gross section
St Patrick's Plate, Rosapenna Golf Resort, Sandy Hills (16 holes, par 65)
- Odhran McGettigan (26) Strabane 36 pts
- Brendan McCarroll (5) North West 30 pts.
- David Forbes (7) Faughan Valley 29 pts [b.o.t].
- Kevin Hunter (10) Faughan Valley 29 pts
- Eddie McHugh (17) Strabane 28 pts [b.o.t].
- Trevor McFarland (11) Newtownstewart 28 pts.
- Brian McElhinney (scr) North West GC. 67;
- Michael McGeady (scr) North West GC. 68;
- Stephen Martin (1) Foyle GC. 74; [b.o.t].
- James Kelly (4) City Of Derry GC. 74;
- Paul McGuigan (1) Foyle GC 77;
- Clive Davison (12) Portsalon GC. 79.
Golfer of the Year standings 2015/2016 Winter Alliance
- 21 points, Brian McElhinney and Clive Davison
- 20 Eddie McHugh
- 18 Odhran McGettigan
- 46 points, Michael McGeady
- 34 Brian McElhinney
- 25 Paul McGuigan
- 24 James Lindsey
The Alliance goes into hibernation now until it visits Portsalon on Saturday 6th February 2016. Whilst wishing the Alliance Captain, David Forbes, every good wish on his birthday he, in turn, and all the officers wish all golfers a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year and hope that they gain at least a two shot reduction in their handicaps in 2016.