Winter League Week 3 – Review

Winners of week 3 of the Joe Bray Winter Leagues - Des Carter, Kevin Flanagan & John Browne with comp. sec. Martin Carter

Winners of week 3 of the Joe Bray Winter Leagues – Des Carter, Kevin Flanagan & John Browne with comp. sec. Martin Carter

Last Saturday, 1st of March, saw the final week of the group stages of the 2014 Joe Bray Winter League. This year’s competition has been an extremely tight affair, proved by the fact that 6 teams still had a very good chance of qualifying for the final going into the final week. The top three teams would qualify and only 5 points separated the top 6 teams going into last Saturday. Conditions were perfect for heavy scoring and the course was in superb condition for the time of year.

An early move was made by John Browne’s team, consisting of John, Des Carter and Kevin Flanagan. A superb chip-in from Flanagan on the second was met with a resounding fist pump from captain Browne – an early marker had been set. Despite a poor miss on the third, Browne’s team went on to post 7 up for the front 9. They followed this with only one miss on the back 9 to record a superb opening 15 up score.

The team that came under pressure most from this score was Liam Buckley’s team who were sitting in third place at the start of play. But Liam was aware that a move was being made and he rallied his troops (Maurice Middleton and Paddy Gorman) to a resounding response. Liam’s team recorded an equally brilliant 15 up opening round. Suddenly the teams of Martin Carter and Tommy Archbold who were first and second respectively at the start of play, were being pulled back into the dog fight. Martin and Tommy’s team both recorded opening rounds of 11 up

The second round started with a hiccup for John Browne’s team as they missed chances on the second and third hole with a shot on both. But once again they knuckled down and shot an 8 up final 9 holes to finish on a superb score of 29 up. This score set the clubhouse lead and indeed it was the best score recorded from all three weeks. For this reason it was unlikely to be beaten which sent shockwaves back through the remaining teams on the course.

Tommy Archbold’s team rallied superbly in the second round to score and incredible 16 up for a total of +27. This score was always going to be enough to secure Tommy’s spot in the final – indeed in the end it was enough to top the group. Next in was Martin Carter’s team. Marter’s team added a +12 second round to their opening +11 for a total of +23. With Kevin Farrell’s team in on +26 at this stage, this left Martin’s team sliding down the table and an anxious wait began until ‘Clem’s’ team came in. Liam’s team pitched the last and the captain anxiously approached the on-looking spectators to see what the score was. He was told that they needed the last to have any chance. Liam knocked in his 8 footer on the last  to finish on +27 and give his team every chance.

When the scores were totted up though Liam had lost out on second place on the day to Tommy’s team on the back 18 and that extra point was enough to knock Liam’s team out of the final. The final table showed Tommy’s team top the table with 17 points. Martin Carter’s team finished tied with John Browne’s team for second on 15 points each meaning both teams progressed. Liam’s team missed out on 14 points and closely followed by Kevin Farrell’s team on 12 points.

2014 was without doubt the closest group stages of the Winter League since its inception a number of years back. There are varied opinions on who will win the final next Saturday (11.30am tee-off). I think each team has the right to think that they have the capabilities. Martin Carter’s team won the opening week comprehensively and were equally impressive in week 2 with only two players. Tommy Archbold’s team have been rock solid throughout and are definitely the most consistent team in the tournament. And John Browne’s team showed guts and determination when the chips were down in the final week to jump from fifth spot to third. Whatever the outcome – one thing is for sure – this final promises to be one to remember. So if you have nothing on next Saturday, why not come down to Collinstown and watch this promising spectacle.

At this stage I would like to thank Niall Conaty from Costcutters in Collinstown for sponsoring the prizes for the 3 weeks of the group stages. Niall has always given the club a lot of support and sponsorship down through the years and it is greatly appreciated by the members of Collinstown Pitch and Putt.

Click here for results of week 3 and the updated points table.

Back to 2014 News Items