Brian McElhinney shook off a first hole bogey to win the Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance tournament at Castlerock.
The North West GC pro, who began his round at the 10th, pulled his approach to the green and failed to get up and down for a morale-denting dropped shot but that turned out to be the end of his problems.
He struck back immediately at the next hole with an eagle three, rolling home a 20-footer after a drive and rescue to the green. A run of five pars followed until he reached the long 17th which he birdied from 15 feet, after finding the putting surface with a drive and a seven iron.
Turning in two-under-par 35 he produced some flawless golf on the way home, picking up four more birdies.
A drive and wedge to three feet at the first hole gave him birdie three, he then blasted out of a greenside bunker to one foot for a four at the long fourth, got down from 15 feet for birdie three at eight and sank another long ranger from 30 feet to finish with a birdie two, four-under-32 and a round of 67.
Brian had just one stroke to spare over second placed Chris Carvill (Belvoir Pk) with brothers Neil Graham (Portstewart) and Gareth Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre) sharing third place on 72.
Amateurs Andy Beattie (Mourne) and Billy Purdy (Holywood) shared 44 nett points with Beattie taking first place on countback. International +3 handicapper JR Galbraith (Whitehead) took the gross prize, also on six-under-par 67.
Lurgan professional Peter Hanna led home the winning team on 98 points with his amateurs being Lurgan colleagues Paddy Meehan (12) and Brian Matthews (17) plus PGA Northern Branch secretary and tournament organiser Phil Posnett 4 (St Patrick’s).
Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance at Castlerock
67 (-6) – B McElhinney (North West).
68 – C Carvill (Belvoir Pk).
72 – N Graham (Portstewart), G Graham (Groomsport Golf Centre).
73 – M McCrudden (Roe Pk), A Cathers (Ardglass), C Loughrey (Castlerock), P Farrell (Laganview), P Hanna (Lurgan).
Nett, 44 pts – A Beattie 17 (Mourne) … 1st;
44 – B Purdy 13 (Holywood) … 2nd;
42 – L Hale 17 (Shandon Pk) … 3rd;
42 – W Farrell 5 (Shandon Pk) … 4th;
41 – K Gilliland 15 (Castlerock).
Gross, 67 – JR Galbraith +3 (Whitehead).
Team: 98 pts – Pro P Hanna with amateurs P Meehan 12, B Matthews 17 (all Lurgan) & P Posnett 4 (St Patrick’s).