Sandford’s pride as club members back Irish Open

Terry Sandford.
Terry Sandford.

Terry Sandford has described his pride at how the team of marshals representing Portadown Golf Club performed during the Irish Open.

The high-profile event at Royal County Down attracted leading names such as Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald - plus Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.

The public packed out the venue across the four days of competition but Sandford was part of a 30-plus group from Carrickblacker playing a part in Irish Open history from inside the line.

“A number of clubs had been issued invitations to send along marshals and we had around 30,” said Sandford, who served as lead marshal for the Portadown squad. “We covered sessions every day from Tuesday to Sunday, from the practice outings to the main event.

“Each day required maybe 13 marshals for our hole, the second, so you would be out from about 6.45 each morning then finish around 5.45 that evening.

“It was a long day but great to be up so close to the professionals.

I was so proud of everyone from Portadown and how we went about our business

Terry Sandford

“I was so proud of everyone from Portadown and how we went about our business without any fuss or complaint despite some rough weather conditions.”

Sandford admits a viewpoint so close to some of the world’s leading golfers served as a reality check.

“To be honest, what we play is not golf when you see how the main guys do it,” he laughed. “We are just hackers.

“Once you see the guys operate up-close you really appreciate the skill.

“I have to say, everyone was very polite and the interaction was great during the practice days and PRO-AM before obviously stepping up the focus for the actual competition.

“It was wonderful to see so much support for the field, not just the marquee names.

“The public really came out and backed the event in massive numbers, with spectators respectful of our role.

“It was just a wonderful experience for everyone overall.

“It was nice to play some small part in such a great occasion.”

At Carrickblacker in the club competitions, the Monday Seniors featured Geoff Robinson first on 35 points.

The low section went to Andy Gribben with 32 points and Ian Carmichael finished head of the high section on 29.

The veterans’ prize was won by David Gordon with 30 points.

Hour bands for the Captain’s Day open draw are now available in the Pro Shop ahead of June 27.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) competition will be the Druim-an-Deur sponsored by Ulster Carpets.