Weather conditions were so atrocious for yesterday's North Western Alliance outing at Rosapenna that stages of the "Iron Man" competition taking place in the locality had to be altered.
Who would attempt to play golf in such weather? “Impossible!" I hear you say. Well, the hardy men of the North Western Golfing Alliance went out and played 18 of the toughest holes in those awful conditions.
At times, it appeared that the competition would have to be called off, as balls were oscillating on the greens. But "no" they insisted! No gale or storm force winds were going to deny these golfers their opportunity to play one of Paul McGinley’s ten favourite courses on these isles, and so they teed-off, played and returned their score cards.
In the Gross section, North West's Michael McGeady returned a fine 78, pursued by two local favourites, John G. Mc Bride from Portsalon and Strabane's Marty McDermott.
John G. had a "card wrecking" start to his round, taking eight at the par-five first that would have been enough for most competitors to make the decision that, with the weather the way it was, a return to the blankets would be justified.
But with his pride and golfing etiquette keeping him going, he shrugged off that setback to manfully continue and finished up in third place.
Marty had his difficulties also, but back-to-back birdies on the par-five eighth and par-four ninth sustained him enough to keep him playing and he was runner-up to Michael whose usual tidy round propelled him into second place in the golfer of the year.
In the Nett section, Jim Harley of Strabane Golf Club had a magnificent 35 points to finish three points clear of the field. Jim's playing partners finished first and second in the Golfer of the Year placings but now the "bragging" rights following this performance belong to him.
Jim had 17 points on each nine, but three blanks did not upset his game on this day. In second place was Paul Duffy from Faughan Valley.
Paul had a poor front nine which only harvested 14 points but his back nine of 18pts saw off the challenge of Connor McGettigan from Letterkenny, who made the turn with 17 points but promptly blanked the 10th and could only score 15 more points on the way home.
This was the last counting event for the Golfer of the Year and the only positions to settle were the runner-up places, as the first placings in both the Nett and the Gross had already been decided.
The winner of the Nett was Maurice McGettigan and his brother Odran, already in second place, was not overhauled although his Strabane clubmate, Eddie McHugh, made a gallant effort to deprive him of that runner-up spot, finishing just four points behind.
In the Gross section, Finnian O’Doherty from Letterkenny was already declared the winner following the last outing but Michael McGeady, who had only played in half of this season's events, finished just nine points behind the winner and overtook Noel Callan, Faughan Valley, who was lying second before yesterday's outing.
Attention now turns to Brian Wallace's Captain's Day at Dunfanaghy Golf Club on 19th March.
At Rosapenna Golf Club (Sandy Hills, Par 72; S.S. 72), Saturday 7th March
- Jim Harley (19) Strabane 35 Pts
- Paul Duffy (6) Faughan Valley 32 Pts
- Connor McGettigan (12) Letterkenny 31 Pts [b.o.t]
- Clive Davison (12) Portsalon 31 Pt
- Michael McGeady (Scr) North West 78
- Marty McDermott (3) Strabane 80
- John G McBride (scr) Portsalon 82
- Brendan McCarroll Snr; (5) North West 84
- B McCarroll Snr
- E McGlinchey,
- N Craig,
- E McHugh.
Next outing: Captain's (Brian Wallace) Day, Dunfanaghy Golf Club, 19th March 2015.