Ivan Rushe, due to the nature of his profession, had to take a prolonged golfing sabbatical but he has returned this year and it would appear that he has lost none of his considerable talent for the game.
Last Saturday close to 200 members of the Banbridge club played for the IPGA tankard. It was the first qualifying competition of the season and that added a little extra edge.
The course is drying out really well and the innovations to the course are magnificent.
Ivan certainly found it to his liking as he went round in a six over par 75, nett 61 and a winning points score of 44 points. His handicap has been cut from 14 to 12 and that might quieten him down for a short period.
Paul Doherty (12) was runner-up with 43 points.
The low section (0-12) was won by Brian Grimes (12) with 40 points. The runner-up was Adam McGregor (10) with 39 points.
John Poots had his handicap reduced on general play during the week but it didn’t seem to make much difference. John (17) won the middle section (13-17) with 43 points. Stephen Pepper (13), playing his first game of the year, was runner-up with 41 points.
Joe Thompson (18) won the high section (18+) with 40 points. He pushed Lee Willdridge (19) into second place on countback.
The best senior player was Fergie Cosgrove (14) with 41 points.
Finally, the coveted best gross prize went to Neil Madeley with a two over par 71. He beat Andrew Quinn by one point.
Cecil Wilson had 41 points but went home empty-handed and Robert Canning, Malcolm Russell and Colin McDonald all came close with 39 points.
Later in the season, Ivan Rushe will play in the grand final of the IPGA Tankard in the company of the lady winner and the club professional Jason Greenaway. Now that is something to look forward to.