There was joy for Jim Carberry at County Armagh Golf Club recently, as he lifted the prestigious Gerry Lenagh Memorial Cup.
In an Open competition sponsored by Morgan McLernon Transport Distribution on 15 August, 209 hopefuls went in search of glory — but, after racking up a full 43 points, it was Jim who emerged with the coveted silverware.
Carberry’s best spell of a fabulous performance came either side of the turn, where a fruitful four-point birdie at the Quarry was quickly followed up with momentum-maintaining bogeys at the 8th and 9th and then a flurry of pars from the 10th to 12th.
A further par arrived at the 15th and even Jim’s slightly jittery finish couldn’t prevent him deservedly securing the ornate trophy, and a two-shot handicap reduction into the bargain.
Posting the same superb 43-point tally and losing out to winner Carberry only on a break of tie was runner-up, Rory Smyth.
Having registered birdies at the 2nd, 8th, 12th and 15th, Rory was an incredible three under par with just three holes remaining. His conclusion thereafter was — like Jim’s — understandably edgy, but a gross 71 is superb play and leaves the 2019 Golfer of the Year on the cusp of six-handicap status.
Two points back and occupying the bronze-medal berth was Nathan Grimley. The new five-handicapper also negotiated the city course with just 71 hits in a classy outing that contained 15 pars, two bogeys and a birdie at the 3rd.
Grimley’s superior back nine kept him just ahead of Brendan Lynch in the Saturday standings. Fourth-placed Lynch’s terrific 41-point scorecard was perhaps most notable for a run of five pars in six holes from The Gap to Obelisk.
Meanwhile, Paddy Hicks built on his midweek success of a fortnight previously with a grand 40-point tally that claimed fifth prize this time out. Softening the blow of the imminent end of the school holidays, Hicks fired back-to-back birdies at Shambles and Ballyheridan and has had his handicap pruned back to 12.
Immediately below Paddy on the Lenagh leaderboard was Joe McKenna, who hared out of the traps with consecutive pars at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th before he, too, eventually signed for a tremendous 40-point total.
Completing the nett podium lineup — sadly only a virtual one given the socially-distancing times we are in — was David Spratt. He garnered 39 points from a fine display that included half a dozen pars.
Finally, Shea Smyth clinched the gross award courtesy of his one-over-par round, the highlight of which was undoubtedly an eagle on the 12th. And runner-up in the gross rankings was Martin Gill, who also carded an excellent 71.