County Armagh Golf Club’s stableford action on 20 September was held in association with T-Met Ltd, and it witnessed Kevin Smyth consign his 99 playing rivals to the competition scrap heap.
On a Sunday of beautiful early autumn sunshine, no little heat and some blistering scoring across the board, Kevin scorched the Cathedral City course with an awesome 44-point showing that rightfully fired him to the leaderboard summit.
Two pars and two bogeys constituted a useful start before Smyth really signalled his winning intentions with a birdie at the 5th. Having reached the turn in just 37 hits, the then 15-handicapper added further pars at the 10th and 11th. And while an unexpected blip arrived in the shape of a double bogey at the 12th, the response was emphatic.
Kevin completed the remaining half a dozen holes in two-over-par to put the seal on an all-conquering gross 77 that earned him a satisfying two-shot handicap reduction to go along with his T-Met title.
Smyth’s closest challenger in the overall pecking order was runner-up, Paddy Burns, who also broke 80 with a fine display of his own. The former Honorary Secretary opened with an untidy six but, impressively, registered nothing worse than a bogey thereafter. That bountiful tally of 10 pars and seven bogeys handed Burns a wonderful 43-point total that, in turn, meant a 16-to-14 handicap cut.
Nathan Grimley has enjoyed a prolific 2020 campaign in which he has captured both the Woods Silver Salver and the Junior Scratch Cup. Nathan was well amongst the honours again here courtesy of a sublime gross 71 and accruing 41-point outcome that proved unbeatable in category 1.
A similarly tremendous one-over-par was returned by Jimmy Wilson, whose birdies at the 8th and 12th helped him to reach the 41-point mark too. The CAGC groundsman was pushed into the 0-12 second slot on account of Grimley’s superior back nine, but both men have had their handicap clipped from six to five.
For a second time in the same weekend, Johnny Palmer filled top spot in category 2. Hot on the heels of his 39 points in the Irwins M&E event 24 hours earlier, Johnny birdied the 6th and 12th amid a superb 42-point round on this occasion. Occupying the runner-up berth in the 13-18 section was Paul McCreesh, who racked up no fewer than 11 pars during his fantastic 41-point outing.
Christopher Crowe is another member who will have fond memories of his golfing year, and he was without compare in category 3. The Fairlawns champion of the previous week signed an excellent 42-point scorecard that hastens his handicap’s rapid downward momentum. Crowe now plays off 18 and has thus been promoted to category 2.
Darren McGuigan, meanwhile, almost achieved the same back-to-back feat as the aforementioned Johnny Palmer. Darren had prevailed in category 3 the day before but, despite a brilliant 40-point effort, he had to content himself with second prize among the 19+ crew this time. This was a highly productive weekend on the fairways for McGuigan and Palmer.
Three days later on 23 September, Brian Digby conjured some midweek magic to land victory in the Open stableford. Brian’s outstanding four-over-par round featured birdies at the 5th, 10th, 14th and 17th and garnered 44 points.
On the same Wednesday, a pair of Rodneys also tasted success. Rodney Lynas was crowned king of the over-50s as a consequence of a peerless 40-point offering that, lucratively, contained twos at Lonsdale and Shambles. And Rodney Villiers clinched first prize in the over-70s cohort by virtue of a most pleasing 39-point knock.