Abbeyleix members played their first competition over their excellent new 18 holes lay-out last weekend despite the fact that this time last year work had not commenced on the extension to the nine holes. Many may find it unbelievable that the Mel Flanagan designed and built course could be constructed in just 11 months but those who played in President's A J Cole's prize on Sunday were full of praise for the new par 72 layout. The new layout includes 11 new greens, 3,050 yards of fairway, a wild fowl sanctuary which includes a man-made lake and all in 11 months.
It is indeed fitting that the first competition over the new course should be the President's prize as in A J Cole the Abbeyleix club has a man who has spearheaded the drive from a nine hole course to one of the best 18 hole layouts in the midlands. Such is the enthusiasm amongst the members that in order to have the course ready for the weekend a number of members took to the task of clearing up various areas on the course. And as a result of the work scoring in the President's prize was excellent with Larry Ryder, a nine handicap, edging out John Murphy (10) on the break of a tie after both shot 66. Donie Walsh was the best of the 68s to take third place from Val Kavanagh, Gearoid Purcell, Pat Nangle and Simon Cahill while the gross was won with a 75 by Ronan Purcell.