GOLF: McShane wins after close finish at City of Derry GC

Pictured is the 18th hole 'Journey's End', at City of Derry.
Pictured is the 18th hole 'Journey's End', at City of Derry.

A large field turned out for the second playing of the Open Competition in memory of City of Derry esteemed deceased member Barney McDaid.

The weather was predicted to be unhelpful but Barney must have had a word with the weather convenor in heaven because the clouds cleared, the sun shone on Saturday and the predicted thunderstorms avoided skirted the Prehen course.

At the end of play Michael McShane (23) ran out the winner by a single point from a closely bunched chasing pack.

A front nine of 23 points was the bedrock of McShane’s score and included a fine four point birdie 3 at the difficult Par 4 9th hole, ‘Daly’s’.

McShane was coasting along on the back nine, just adding pars and bogies at will and letting his score tick up, until he hit the rails as the strenuous finishing holes took their toll. Two blanks on 17 and 18 will leave him wondering how many shots on his handicap he could have lost if he had avoided those blemishes! Still he will enjoy a lower handicap for next week’s competitions.

Brian McClelland (17) played steady golf to compile 39 points and take second prize from Cormac McKeone (4) on break-of-tie.

McKeone’s 22 points on the front nine seemed to have him set for victory but the tricky Par 3 15th, ‘Billy’s’, proved to be a card-wrecker again as McKeone courted trouble and recorded his only blank of the day. The best visitor’s score was the 29 points record by Paul O’Doherty.

The front nine went to Andy McFaul with 21 points and Gary Leckey recorded the same total to collect his back nine prize. Ernie Heywood (1) featured in the Gross Section for the second time of the week.

Ronan Coyle had a story to tell on Saturday as he managed a rare feat when he carded a 2 at the stroke index 1 Par 4 14th, ‘Aintree’! With his drive bisecting the fairway he needed only a five-iron to encourage his ball to complete it’s 401 metre journey. Ronan is available for lessons should his father Terry care to ask for advice!

As the sun peeped over the hills at City of Derry on Sunday morning there seemed little prospect of any play as vicious showers had lashed the course through the early hours of the morning.

However, the prolonged sanding programme of the last few years on the Prehen course paid dividends and after a short delay battle commenced!

The hardy few who braved the frequent showers were rewarded with soft, receptive greens but their golfing skills were challenged by a swirling, gusting wind.

With the weather clearing as the day progressed the later players were rewarded for their persistence with spectacular views over the hills and the River Foyle. Mind you, by that stage the winning scores had already been recorded by the early starters!

John Flynn (12) proved yet again that he is a man to be counted on when things get stormy as he banked a 37 point total.

Flynn’s winning margin was a mere two points over big hitting playing partner Gavin Morren (14).

Despite blanking two holes on the opening nine Morren still managed to card a respectable sixteen points.

However, the difficult Par 3 ‘Billy’s’ halted his progress and despite a valiant effort he could not match the power of Flynn and finished with a 35-point total to take second prize.

Six-handicapper Vincent Devenny opened his account with 18 points over the front nine but a prolonged downpour made scoring on his back nine holes difficult and he could only add a further fifteen points to close with a 33-point total and third prize.

A date for the diary is Saturday June 4th, as the Palais Swing Band will be playing at City of Derry. Tickets are available from the clubhouse and are priced at £10.