Bill’s back in the limelight with a big win at Banbridge

Bill McCandless was on top of his game in the first qualifying competition of the season.
Bill McCandless was on top of his game in the first qualifying competition of the season.

Last year’s captain didn’t take long to get back into the limelight at Banbridge Golf Club.

And Bill McCandless did it in style, firing in a sweet one over par 70 to win the Darren Clarke Charity event.

Bill (6) is a terrific player, strong in every department of the game and his nett 64 beat Mark McCoy on countback.

He played the second nine holes in one over par and Mark was three over for the same stretch.

Bill will represent the club in the Grand Final and there is no better man for the job. The win should also get him a tidy handicap cut, as qualifying returned just in time.

Young Mark McCoy (7) birdied holes two, three and 17 on his way to a gross 71, which was good enough to secure second place.

As many as 160 players took to the fairways. The calculated standard scratch score was nett 69 and 18 players managed to beat that target.

The eight players with nett 68s were Sam Wilkinson, David Mawhinney, John Crothers, Eugene Weir, Paul Magennis, Richard Coburn, Gareth Martin and Robert Canning.

Sam Wilkinson (25) won the high section and David Mawhinney (18) was runner-up in the same section. Sam had one eight and three sevens on his card. With a little bit more care, Sam could have come very close to winning.

Peter Hillen, Barry Tumilty and Malcolm Hanna each finished with nett 67s. There were no prizes for Barry and Malcolm but Peter (11) managed to secure the award for best senior.

Jim Gracey (11), Harry Shannon (15), Rory Madeley (5) and Alan Dale (12) all played extremely well and ended up with nett 66s.

Jim Gracey was very unfortunate not to get a prize with such a good score.

Harry Shannon was runner-up in the middle section. He had a nice little two at the 12th but he also had 13 bogeys. A couple less and he might have been the winner.

Rory Madeley was runner-up in the low section. Rory went round in 71 shots, two over par. He had 16 pars, two bogeys and, surprisingly for him, no birdies.

Alan Dale won the low section. He has been playing some superb golf since the start of the season. A few bad holes have spoiled his rounds.

That nearly happened again on Saturday as he took seven shots at the second and eight at the 14th. Those two par fives don’t usually bother him. If he could have parred both of them, he would have won by three shots.

Morris Phillips (15) was the only player to shoot a nett 65 and he won the middle section. Morris had a near perfect round. His only blemish was a double bogey at the long par three tenth.

Finally, the coveted gross prize went to Connor Doran (+1) with a one over par 70.