Twenty seven competitors turned out for the 2013 Collinstown Club Strokeplay Championships. The weather was superb and the course was even better. The scene was set for what promised to be a very competitive championships and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.
The Intermediate Championship this year had a high quality field with the likes of Martin Carter and Paddy Browne returning to the grade by virtue of a change in handicap parameters, -3 handicap is now in the Intermediate grade. This was going to make life very difficult for Stephen Ruane who was bidding for a third consecutive title. Not phased by the competition though, Stephen returned a rock solid 104 total for his 36 holes which gave him the lead by a single shot. Lying in joint second was Kevin Farrell and the evergreen Paddy Browne on 105 with Martin Carter a
further shot back on 106. Really it was only between these 4 for the title as the final round began. A customary fist pump from Browne on the first green signaled his intentions and so the mood was set. Unfortunately Paddy could not reign in the leader as neither could Kevin Farrell, so this left it a two horse race between Stephen and Martin “McClair” Carter. Many would have though that Stephen’s excellent 51 return for he final 18 would have been plenty to win the title but McClair wasn’t reading the script. Martin followed a birdie on 13 with a hole in one on 14 on his was to a 49 and a tie for the overall lead. This meant a 3 hole playoff between the two men for the title. Stephen holed a 10 footer for birdie on the first playoff hole and both men birdied the 17th which was the second hole in the shootout. With a 1 shot lead going to the final hole, Stephen held the back of the green while Martin missed on the right. When Martin failed to hole his chip, the game was up and Stephen had achieved his 3 in a row. Martin had to settle for the final 18 prize with a 49.
The Gents Junior event had the highest entry of the day and indeed, it delivered a high quality championship. The leader after 36 was Gary Middleton with an astonishing 11 under par 97. But even more amazing perhaps was the fact that his lead was not out of sight – Stewie Tarleton was still in the ball game with an equally impressive 101. In the final round Stewie excerted some early pressure on Gary but Gary remained calm and collective and seen off the challenge. A level par final round from Gary was more than enough to seal the title. Mick Scally won the final 18 with a level par 54.
The Ladies Championship unfortunately only had 3 competitors but the three that played gave the competition the full respect it deserves. Anne Kelly shot a respectable 115 for the opening 36 to lead the championship by 10 shots going out in the final round. Although Anne was not at her best in the final round, she had enough in hand to win comfortably from the other 2 Ladies. Moira Nugent picked up the final 18 prize with a 65.
And so that left the Gents Senior Championship. Larry McGinn and Mick Buckley set the early pace with superb 94′s. Unfortunately though Larry could not compete in the final round which left Mick the leader by 3 shots from John Browne. An early double bogie from Browne meant that Mick was home and dry and the rest were playing for the final 18 prize. And in fairness that battle took on a life of its own as only a shot separated Liam Buckley, Peter Dolan and John Browne with a few holes to play. In the end Liam Buckley took that prize with a 49.
Pride of place must go to Mick Buckley though. he put on an exhibition of Pitch and Putt all day long. He followed his earlier 48, 46 with a superb final round of 44 to stamp his authority on a championship that, by his own admission, he wanted very badly.