WELCOME TO ISLE OF MAN GOLF
Competitors in the 2019 WA Kirkpatrick trophy were greeted by sunshine and blustery, swirling winds at a superbly manicured Douglas Golf Club, Sunday. With the wind seemingly against on the the opening holes, normal distances covered went out the window and approach shots, had to be drilled through the wind, coupled with swirling winds causing havoc with all players for the majority of the day. Just placing tee shots in “user friendly” area was a test. A bogey on some holes would be classified as a good, safe score on the day. 36 holes in the one day in these conditions was going to provide a strong test of skill, nerve and patience.
First man out set the tone for what would be a very interesting scoring day, with most players probably wondering how they had managed their score, Kevin Moore of the host club posting a four over par 73 was to set what was an excellent benchmark for the others to strive towards. Indeed, with relentless conditions on the day any two round combination starting with a seven would be snatched straight away! Tales of woe, with one player carding an 11 on the tricky second hole, would be in abundance throughout the day, no shame at all in signing for a score in the 80s.
But what of the other competitors vying for the prestigious trophy? Well, Ramsey's David Kinrade, himself enjoying a good run of form, posted a 74 shortly after Kevin. Then came the scores from the "super group" of Julian Sutton 78, Rob Noon 70 and Peter Glover a shot better on 69. This was followed by former Douglas member Mark Curphey on 72 and playing with past island championship semi finalist Nicky Kelly (74) was Order of Merit leader Neil Caine, matching 1st round best score of 69. Talented youngsters Lewis Howland of Castletown and Matthew Nicholson of Mount Murray, may have surprised themselves with their 71s to be in the mix at the halfway stage, as did another former Douglas member, now Rowany golf club, Matt Astall on 72. Lee Morgan of Peel kept up with the leading pack with 73, as did Stuart Wallace of Mount Murray, who knows the Douglas course very well with 72. One player, regrettably missed from the preview report last week and who will Im sure will be delighted with his joint best first round score of 69, the ever green Mark Pugh of Peel, apologies Mark!
As the final 18 holes got underway players had some gauge of how tricky it was to be again. Kevin Moore couldn't quite match his morning's round and signed for 77, next in David Kinrade a shot better on his mornings 74, for 147 total. It wasn't long until the Noon, Sutton, Glover show arrived down the 18th; it was to be Glovers day though, after he and Noon matched each other blow for blow in an afternoon 71, courtesy of a lower morning round he stood leader in the club house on 140, truly excellent golf given the conditions After an hours wait, Neil Caine submitted a second round 71, mirroring Peter Glovers two rounds. With an all systems go charge Ramsey's Jamie Arniel certainly didn't dissapoint and must have been extremely proud of what would be the lowest afternoon score of 69 for a 143 tally. Showing the slightly younger golfers how its done, Mark Pugh added a steady 72 to his 69 for a 141 total tying with Rob Noon, painfully one shot off the leading score. Certainly a favourite over the years, not just for his colourful attire but his excellent golf, Keith Ward, fired in a sweet 71 to accompany his morning round 74, for 145. Mark Curphey went one better than Keiths overall total for two very consistent 72's for a threatening 144. Whilst rising star of Manx golf, Joe Raeside, twinned his first round 73 for a very consistent 146 total, definitely one to watch out for in next month's island championship.
Lewis Howland put together a 77 for a grand total of 148, but more importantly for him the best two round net total on the day for 134, beating Matthews Nicholson and Astall by two shots.
An anxious wait for club house leaders Neil Caine and Peter Glover, tied on 140, through out the afternoon. Danger man and current Douglas GC course record holder Liam Cowin produced a top quality second round 70 to go with his 1st round 74, for 144, still steady golf. As each group signed their cards it became apparent that it could be last man standing, Daryl Callister,that could spoil the party. However, after a long day the last score in would fall short by a handful of shots. And so it was to a sudden death play off over the 1st and 18th holes. Both Neil and Peter matched each other with fours for the first two play off holes and then in groundhog dayesque, it was up the 1st and down the 18th once more, again neither player could be separated a further pair of 4s each. Playing down the 1st hole in the fifth play off hole, it was to be Neils day, when after he had holed out for a par three, Peter's putt for par just failed to fall, and so 2019 sees a new name on the "Willy Kirk Trophy" in the form of Neil Caine, congratulations from all competitors and officials Neil!
IOMGU President Niall Keenan, Douglas GC Club Captain Jim Cairney welcomed Miss Irene Pugh’s representative, Ms Jenny Clucas, in presenting the various prizes and overall trophy to the respective winners. Again, it must be noted that without the continued kind generosity of Miss Pugh, the event would almost certainly not carry the prestige it so deserves, thank you once again Miss Pugh.
Best Gross First Round - (69) Mark Pugh - Peel
Best Net First Round - (64) Lewis Howland - Castletown
Best Gross Second Round - (69) Jamie Arniel - Ramsey
Best Net Second Round - (67) Keith Ward - Mount Murray
Overall Best Net - (134) Lewis Howland - Castletown
Runner Up Net - (136 count back) Matthew Astall - Rowany
Third Net - (136 count back) Matthew Nicholson - Mount Murray
W.A. Kirkpatrick Winner - (140) Neil Caine - Mount Murray
Runner Up - (140) Peter Glover - Douglas
Third place - (141) Rob Noon - Douglas
Finally, a special thanks must go to all concerned at Douglas GC for providing an excellent, fair course on the day and an great refreshments for all competitors, caddies and spectators alike. Also, to the IOMGU officials and Douglas GC members who gave their time and service on the day too.