Alan Hanlon wins Custume Scratch Cup

Alan Hanlon receiving the trophy from Davy Reddin with Custume chairman Martin Kenny

Alan Hanlon receiving the trophy from Davy Reddin with Custume chairman Martin Kenny

Alan Hanlon broke all sorts of records on Sunday last. Firstly he broke his own record number of wins of the Custume Scratch Cup – this being his seventh win of the trophy. Also he became the first player in the history of Pitch and Putt to win a scratch cup both right-handed and left-handed. Alan decided a number of years back that his swing was fundamentally flawed – this was a swing that had brought him 30+ scratch cup wins, a Leinster title and a European team championship winning medal with Ireland. Yet, ever the perfectionist, Mr Hanlon decided that it could be improved but only by switching to his natural hand – left handed. This was way beyond reconstruction – this was a “start again” maneuver.  It has taken the great man many many lonely evenings of frustrating practice over the past few years but finally all his work bore fruits on Sunday evening last in the Custume course in Athlone.

Alan started with a very solid 49 which was littered with missed opportunities. With the clubhouse lead standing at 10 under at that stage though, the man from north Dublin knew that he was right in the mix. But I doubt even he could have predicted the barrage of birdies he made in the second round. He was 8 under for 14 holes of his second round ( 13 under total at this stage) when word reached him that the clubhouse lead was now 12 under by Rene Bloem. What followed was Alan of old – a chip in on 15 & 17 coupled with brilliant putts on 16 and 18  giving him 4 closing birdies, meant that he had recorded an astonishing second round 42. His 17 under total was 5 clear of second place man Rene Bloem.

As both men teed off for the final round in the last two-ball, one had to wonder would Alan see the job through. I think all those questions were answered on the first hole when the great man chipped in for par to extend his lead to 6. This was the Alan Hanlon that spent years destroying the best of fields in scratch cups up and down the country – he was well and truly back! Alan kicked on from there to comfortably build his lead as the final round progressed. Even a hole-in-one for Rene Bloem on the 9th could not ruffle his feathers – he was on a mission. With 4 holes to play Alan had reached a total of 24 under and his nearest rival was Mick Foley who had finished on 16 under. He was able to enjoy the home straight and the generous applause from the watching crowds. Another birdie on the 16th brought his total to 25 under and the job was well and truly done.  Simple pars on 17 and 18 were a formality and when the final putt dropped, Alan allowed himself a satisfactory smile – the job was complete!

In his speech Alan had very kind and respectful words to say about the Reddin family, he also mentioned his affection for the Custume club and course and thanked many of his friends for their continued support. One suspects that this might just be the first of many once again!

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