An outstanding nett 63 on 15 July enabled Philip Richards to get his hands on the latest piece of silverware on offer at County Armagh Golf Club, namely the Allen Cup.
The stroke competition sponsored by JR McMahon Menswear was clearly tailor-made for Richards and, after just six holes, he had fashioned a highly agreeable position of being four under his handicap.
The towering left-hander's round then threatened to come apart at the seams with consecutive double bogeys at the 7th and 8th halting his progress. However, in the face of this potential adversity, Philip certainly measured up, posting pars to suit at the 9th, 14th and 15th in addition to a bespoke birdie at the 11th as he recaptured that early momentum.
Richards concluded proceedings with a pair of nicely fitting fives to complete a debonair performance that saw him eclipse his 172 Saturday opponents and secure a hard-earned two-shot handicap reduction.
County Armagh Golf Club President, Walter Neville, presents the Allen Cup to Philip Richards and daughter Nina after daddy's win in the JR McMahon Menswear-sponsored competition. Also pictured are category 2 winner, Alec Nesbitt, and runner-up, Gerry Kelly.
Despite such a spectacular score, Philip's victory margin was a mere single stroke as Nat McGeown posted a wonderful nett 64.
The eventual runner-up started at a blistering pace with back-to-back birdies at the 1st and 2nd. A return of three pars and three bogeys from the next six holes was somewhat more mundane if still entirely acceptable, but McGeown found yet another birdie at the 9th to reach the halfway point on level par.
Having constructed such a sturdy front-nine platform, Nat's serene, handicap-equalling homeward trek was sufficient to seal a splendid gross 76 that means he'll be playing off 11 next time out.
The lowest gross total of the day was registered by the increasingly impressive Lee Campbell with a one-over-par 71. The now five-handicapper's nett 65 comprised three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys and notched him a category 1 win. Three shots back was second-placed David Grimley, who was ambling along rather aimlessly until a fantastic finish of two birdies and two pars in the last four holes catapulted him into the prizes yet again.
Alec Nesbitt reeled off no fewer than 12 pars in his outing and would have troubled Richards at the top of the overall standings but for a treble bogey at the 11th and a double bogey at the 18th. As it was, Nesbitt's fine nett 66 handed him the category 2 honours ahead of Gerry Kelly, who himself will regret a devilish 6, 6, 6, closing sequence. Kelly's golf was largely sinless elsewhere, and birdies at the 3rd and 15th helped him to a nett 67.
Two more players carded a nett 67 in category 3, where Sean Brannigan edged Rodney Lynas into second place on a break of tie. Sean dropped five shots at the two holes immediately either side of the turn which, happily, was completely out of keeping with the five pars and 11 bogeys with which he negotiated the other 16. Lynas, meanwhile, has had his handicap trimmed to 19 after a solid offering that included four pars and a birdie at the 6th.