Murray the shining star at Ballycastle


It was amateurs, rather than professionals, who wrote the headlines during the Ping PGA Ulster Golfers’ Alliance event, at Ballycastle, despite Noel Murray firing a four-under-par 67 to win the pro’s competition.

Dungannon scratch player Joe Timlin, a regular winner at these events, shot an ace at the 115 yards 10th hole which helped him to top the amateur’s gross leaderboard with a two-under-par 69.

In the unpaid players’ nett section the winner was John Taggart, who plays off a 16 handicap out of Massereene. He returned a super 44 points with the remarkable feature being that he pencilled in a ‘ding’ at the last hole. Had he scored there he could have had an eye-raising return.

This was a two-tee start tournament and Massereene assistant Murray teed off at the ninth hole with a par but he trimmed the long 12th and 18th to four blows each. He was on both greens in two, 20 feet from the flag, and got down in two putts. However, in between, Murray dropped shots at the short 13th, where he flew over the green, and the par four 14th, where he was wide and failed to get up and down at either hole.

Murray made another birdie four at the first hole, getting down in two stabs from 25 feet, and birdie three at the second from four feet. For three of his birdies he used a three wood off the tee.

A three stab at the fourth cost Murray a stroke but he carded a trio of threes at par four holes five, six and eight, driving the green to 20 feet at the fifth and pitching to six feet at six and eight.

It was double success for Murray as he lead his Massereene colleagues to victory in the team event. Noel, John Taggart (16), Sean McComb (13) and Liam Kelly (19) collected 100 points.

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