Four-way tie for golfing honours at Blackwood

Tony McGee

It sure was tight at the top of the professionals' leaderboard following the Northern Branch organised pro-am tournament, at Blackwood, with four players tied on level par 71 and all with dreams of what might have been, writes Tony McGee.

Richard Kilpatrick, Nicky Grant, Chris Loughrey and Gary Wardlow tied for the honours with birdies flying around throughout the competition but all four players having moments that wrecked their chance of outright victory.

Banbridge attaché Kilpatrick was first to set the bar with a three-birdie, three bogey, 12 pars round with his short game letting him down at times.

He three-stabbed the first, 13th and 18th greens for bogey fives while his approach work was much better.

He was on in two blows at the ninth, rifled an eight iron to six feet for birdie two at 12 and pitched to four feet at the long 14th for birdie four in his regulation round.

Former international amateur Grant will surely reflect on his double-bogey six at 17 which cost him outright victory. He lost a ball off the tee there when one-under par heading for home.

The former Clandeboye amateur got off to a super start with birdies three and four, from six and five feet at the first two holes, and another birdie at four, sandwiched between bogey three and five at the third and fifth holes, missing the green both times.

Grant drove into greenside sand at 10 for bogey five but got the shot back when on in two at 14 before that double on 17.

Castlerock pro Loughrey sprinkled five birdies over his card but balanced that with five bogeys as he missed the green at the short seventh, three-putted the 10th and drove into trees at both 13 and 15. He birdied the fifth, sixth and ninth holes from six, four and 12 feet and his other birdies flew in at 11 and 18, where he holed from 12 feet to catch the leaders.

Spa club pro Wardlow was steadiest of the lot with just two birdies and two bogeys on his card.

The birdies landed at long holes nine and 14, as he hit the surface with two shots each time.

At 13 he drove into a bunker for bogey five and at 17 he had to take a penalty drop after driving into tree.

It was a good day for Mahee Island members as Siobhán Andrews, Arnold Andrews and Jack Bennett combined with local pro Stuart Bleakley to win the team event on 90 points, while Siobhán outshot all male amateurs to win the nett individual award on 41 points.

PGA Northern Branch Pro-am Tournament at Blackwood

Professionals: 71 (Level) – R Kilpatrick (Banbridge), N Grant (Blackwood), C Loughrey Castlerock), G Wardlow (Spa).

74 – S Bleakley (Blackwood), R Whitford (Knock), J Scullion (J Scullion Golf).

Amateurs: Nett, 41 pts – Siobhán Andrews 38 (Mahee Island).

40 – Steven Bell 13 (Blackwood) … 2nd on countback.

40 – Matthew Coffey 10 (Backwood) … 3rd on countback.

Team: 93 pts – Pro S Bleakley (Blackwood) with amateurs Arnold Andrews 16, Siobhán Andrews 38 & Jack Bennett 15 (all Mahee Island).

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