Tuesday 24 October 2017 01:27:05 AM

Hugh Kelly Is Top Of The Class At Paul Mageean Open
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A TOTAL of 304 golfers participated in the annual Paul Mageean Golf Open at Downpatrick Golf Club last Friday. In temperatures reaching 25 degrees, many tried to burn up the course but it was two seasoned golfers who led the field by mid-afternoon.

Ardglass veteran Brian Polly was turning back the years with some excellent play around the greens, but a missed an opportunity at the 16th which left him with a respectable 41 points. Local Fireman Donal Newman hosed down the competition with steady play from tee to green and also carded 41 points but with a better count back.

Former Downpatrick Golf Club member Raymond Madine, now playing out of Ardglass, is always to be feared on a course that he knows so well and true to form he turned on the style making good use of the dry conditions to return with a 42.  As the day got warmer Madine must surely have thought that his score would be hard to beat. At 2.00pm Michael O’Higgins from Mourne GC stood on the first tee and drove 260 yards straight down the middle. This was to be his first of 5 birdies and par golf saw him come off the course at 6.10pm with 42 points, and a better back nine saw him lead the field.

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As preparations were being made for the presentations at 10.30pm, Mark McGrath, principle of Saul Primary School walked up the 18th in almost darkness, and a par putt brightened his card with an amazing 43 points to win the tournament.

In the Ladies section, local girl Carol Toner saw off competition from Ormeau’s Claire McCaughey to lift 1st prize with 36 points on a better count back, Lady Captain Carmel Hanvey was close behind with 35 points to claim 3rd spot.

Going round on 70 earned Paul Fitzsimons with the gross prize.

Nearest the pins were won by Barney Madine, Alex Meharg, Gerard Killen, Robbie Hutton, and Mark Cahir.

The battle for the prestigious Paul Mageean Trophy was hotly contested, and 16-year old Anthony Doherty (a nephew of Paul’s) showed why he is one of the most promising juvenile members at Downpatrick when he scorched to 2 over par after 12 holes. The 13th saw Anthony shoot a double bogey and the touch had left him for the rest of the round.

Then Hugh Kelly, Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School in Downpatrick, was quietly clocking up the points, and by the time he got to the tenth, a green he knows very well,  he was challenging for the prizes. Steady par golf saw Hugh come home with 40 points to win the Paul Mageean Trophy by one point, and make it a double for local headmasters on the day.

The Mageean family would like to thank everyone for their support and help at the event which raised £6500 for MacMillan Cancer Support.