Among the final pieces of silverware on offer from County Armagh Golf Club's 2017 fixture list were the Half Century Cup and the Arthur Mayne Cup, both of which were contested on Saturday 2 September.
As its title might suggest, the Half Century Cup is competed for by those whose 50th birthday has been and gone, and emerging triumphant from this practised coterie was Jimmy Wilson with a hefty 41-point salvo. After birdies at the 2nd and 5th arrived either side of bogeys at the 3rd and 4th, Wilson proceeded to par all but one of his remaining 13 holes, with his only other dropped shot of the day coming up on the 10th. This meant that Jimmy would sign for a fantastic gross 71 that enabled him to add the Half Century Cup to the Junior Scratch Cup that he lifted earlier in what has been a brilliantly fruitful campaign for the now five-handicapper.
County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Richard Stewart, awards the Half-Century Cup to Jimmy Wilson. Also pictured are Ian O'Hea and Paul McCurry, who came 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Another player to have featured frequently among the prizes in recent months is Ian O'Hea, and he notched a runner-up finish here by virtue of a 40-point round that owed much to a marvellous back nine containing six pars and a birdie at the 18th. Testament to O'Hea's successful season is the reduction of his handicap from 15 to 12 since the qualifiers began in April — there's seemingly much to be said for warm-weather golfing training.
Paul McCurry equalled Ian's 40 points but had to content himself with third place after losing out on a break of tie. Indeed, McCurry would have worried Jimmy at the very top of the standings but for a regrettable no-score at the last. Nevertheless, this was a terrific showing where Paul's first 17 holes comprised a birdie, 10 pars and six bogeys.
The over-65s did battle for the Arthur Mayne Cup and prevailing among this hotbed of venerability was the club's Honorary Secretary, Paddy Burns. The unbeatable scorecard showed a front nine of 40 strokes, a back nine of 40 strokes and a stableford total of 40 points, as Burns turned in a symmetrically superb performance to seize the trophy. The now 12-handicapper birdied the 17th and racked up seven pars, while his only score worse than a bogey came at the opening hole.
Runner-up to Paddy was another Past Captain in the form of Eric Hamilton. The 2016 Captain's Day champion registered seven pars of his own during a high-quality 39-point outing that sees his handicap reduced to 17.
Paddy Burns is presented with the Arthur Mayne Cup by County Armagh Golf Club Captain, Richard Stewart. Also pictured is runner-up Eric Hamilton.
Meanwhile, all those rendered ineligible for the aforementioned cups on account of their relative youthfulness participated in a stableford competition. Victorious here with the joint highest tally of the day was Kevin McElvanna, whose 41 points were accumulated via a career-best gross 81. A treble bogey at the 5th was the sole blot on McElvanna's impressive Saturday copybook as, elsewhere, the Madden surgeon was largely faultless in posting nine pars and eight bogeys. McElvanna now plays off 14 and should he achieve his next target of shooting a sub-80 round — as seems likely — that handicap will tumble further still.
Gerry Cullen reached the turn with a terrific 21 points before declaring on an 18-hole total of 38 to seal second place and a one-shot handicap cut. A point adrift of Gerry and bagging third prize was Kenny Edgar, who was three over par on each nine of an accomplished gross 76 that included a hat-trick of birdies at the 6th, 12th and 17th.
Before a scrappy conclusion in which he garnered only a solitary point from his closing two holes, Daryl Lawson turned in a formidable 16-hole display consisting of a birdie, seven pars and eight bogeys to win the Wednesday Open on 6 September with 40 points. Ian Millar was the top man among the seniors with a characteristically assured 38-point offering that, perhaps most satisfyingly, ended with three consecutive pars immediately after threatening to hit the skids with a no-score at the 15th. And the same event witnessed Conlon Rice score a spectacular hole-in-one on the 11th — well done, that man!