Mourne Golf Club News

By Paul Gallagher


Stephen Barker has been in flying form of late to return two scores in the 60s in the space of four days on the Championship Links at Royal County Down.

The plus two golfer first went on a birdie spree last Thursday when he carded no less than five birdies and just one dropped shot at the eighth (the toughest hole on the course) to sign for a sensational four-under par 67.

It meant Barker won Mourne’s Stableford competition at a canter with 40 points. His closest challengers were Patrick McComiskey, Paul O’Kane and Kieran Polly, who were all five back on 35 points. Gerard Quigley was next with 34 points.

Barker was back at his best once more last Sunday when he signed for a two-under 69 in the Mourne GC Stableford competition. Although the Railway St owner made a double bogey at the fifth and dropped shots at 10 and 18, the birdie machine made six birdies in all for another great round.

The course record at Royal County Down is a longstanding 66, measured from the longer Championship tees. Although Barker’s rounds were from the medal tee of the day, to get so close to the elusive 66 from any tee demonstrates the quality of golf he has played.

That said, Barker’s 69 still wasn’t good enough to win on Sunday as Brian O’Neill finished top of the leaderboard with 40 points. He was closely followed by Hugh B Smyth in second, who edged out Paul Murray after both returned 39 points. Jack Bailie was fourth with 37 points, the same score as Barker.

Special mention to former Irish international Smyth, (72) who also shot his age when securing his second place. Smyth made a slow start with three bogeys on the front nine to turn in 38. However, he finished strongly with birdies at 12 and 16 and the rest pars to sign for a one-over 72. (For the record, Smyth is one of the course record holders at RCD).

The previous week’s action at Mourne saw Brian Gilleece pick up the April Medal Sponsored by Graham Construction. Gilleece won with an impressive nett 68 to win by one from Kieran O’Connor (69) in second with Jerome Keenan (70) third.

The Juveniles were also in action the previous Sunday and Ryan Thornton is a chip off the old block taking after his dad Simon and former DP World Tour winner. Ryan won the Juvenile Stableford competition with 37 points, one ahead of James Rodgers (36) with Aaron O’Boyle (33) in third.

The interclub matches are now in full swing and last week the Jimmy Bruen side narrowly lost 3-2 to Holywood, while the Fred Perry side also lost 3-2 against Banbridge. Barker and his fellow scratch golfers will be in action this week, playing the Barton Shield against Lurgan on Friday before trying to qualify for the Senior Cup at Clandeboye on Sunday. Michael Keane’s Pierce Purcell side is also in action on Friday.

(Team pics courtesy Danny Hillen)


Jimmy Bruen (home leg) L-R: Michael Nugent Jnr, Kieran O’Connor, Club Captain Gareth Malley, Gerard Toner and Michael McKenna

Jimmy Bruen (away leg) L-R: JP Hardy, John D Murray, Eugene Jennings, Co-team captain Sean O’Higgins, Rory McNiff, Barry McCrickard and Dermot Hawkins