Jim holds his nerve to take Naas captain’s prize in a thriller

A club record of 340 competitors lined up for John F Dunne’s Captain’s Prize at Naas recently, all seeking to make the first ‘cut’ after 18 holes.

A club record of 340 competitors lined up for John F Dunne’s Captain’s Prize at Naas recently, all seeking to make the first ‘cut’ after 18 holes.

The top ninety advanced to the following Saturday with the top 24 of that playing a further nine holes to decide the ultimate winner of this fiercly competitive annual event.

Not for the first time ‘water’ had a big play on the final day. Rain had forced the closure of the course on the Friday. However Saturday saw the sun appear and great credit to David Behan and his staff for their efforts which ensured a full 27 holes could be played on the Saturdy.

After 36 holes nine players were under par led by former two times winner Larry O’Brien (18) who was 9 under par followed by three time former winner Charlie McCreevey (17) at 7.5 under in third place; another former winner Willie Buggle (12) at 7 under. Martin McGeough (12) 6.5 under Ray Lynch (6) 4 under, Jim Stapleton (5) 3,5 under, Gus Fitzpatrick Jun (4) 3 under, Joe McWilliams (5), another former winner on 1.5 under and Alan Creighton (11) a former International Show jumper was .5 under So it was all to play for as the final 9 holes got under way played on the original ‘nine.’

Gus Fitzpatrick found water at 11th which saw him coming under pressure and with four to play Larry was sixunder, Willie 5, Jim 3.5 Ray 1 under.

A four hourse race?

Gus Fitzpatrick then eagled 15th to put himself back into mix. O’Brien tripled bogied 15 and doubled 16 to fall back to just 1 under. Willie Buggle double bogied 16 went swimming at 17.

At the 18th, it could not have been closer as 5 players were right in it.Ray, Willie, Larry and Gus need birdies to win. Jim needed a 6 and duly got down in two putts for his 6 to register 178 and a half and all the other 4 finished on 179.

What a memorable finish. Closest ever in club’s history. Willie and Gus would not touch water all night but were seen to be imbibing.

Great tournament and congratulations once again to one and all, especially to winneer Jim Stapleton (husband of this year’s lady captain).