SUMMER seemed to arrive early on Sutherland’s East Coast last weekend for the start of the season’s open competitions.
Brora and Golspie were in high season condition but the anticipated rack of low scoring failed to materialise with the competition scratch score (CSS) rising at both venues.
However, at Golspie on Saturday, Muir of Ord Golf Club secretary John Forbes bettered his last year’s visit by one shot to repeat his scratch win of 2016 with a card of 68. In a year that saw Forbes win the North District’s Order of Merit, his handicap has gone from plus one to plus two, and at the start of this season he shows no signs of carrying any mothballs.
Forbes finished four shots ahead of Strathpeffer’s one-handicapper Gary Ross with Laurie Chancellor (Inverness) and Munro Ferries (Tain) sharing 73s. Ferries was relegated to fourth place on better inward half countback.
Playing with an artificial limb, Roddy Laing was the only home member to get into the voucher list. With a golf handicap of 17, his play got a big boost when he was the only competitor to match the normal CSS of 69. In the big field Nairn and Tain provided the two other handicap winners, Michael Lamont (Nairn) (11) 71 and Campbell MacKay (Tain) (10) 72. Just seven ladies took part and local Anne MacRae had the best score, a nett 80, off 12.
At Brora, two one-over-par 71s were the best scratch scores. Two greenkeepers handed them over, James MacBeath (Brora) (35/36) and Liam MacDonald-MacLeod (Skibo) (same halves), but MacDonald’s double bogey five on the last hole relegated him to runner-up.
In addition to providing a winner at Golspie, Inverness Golf Club also provided the overall handicap winner at Brora in Richard Smith. The twelve handicapper returned a nett 69, leaving two gross seventy-twos and nett 69s from Robert MacDonald (Brora) and Darren Hexley (Golspie) in the mix for both scratch and handicap awards. Separated on better inward halves resulted in a first handicap for MacDonald and a third scratch for Hexley.
The bigger entry of Ladies at Brora allowed for two scratch and two handicap prizes. Wick’s Deirdre MacAngus repeated her 2016 scratch success with 81 and second was Michelle Finnie (Aberdeen) 90.
Golspie Voucher winners
Scratch – J Forbes (Inverness) 68; G Ross (Strathpeffer) 72; L Chancellor (Inverness) 73.
Handicap – B Reeve (Orkney) (6) 70; D Chancellor (Inverness) (9) 70; G Keil (Torvean) (9) 72.
Ladies – A Macrae (Golspie (12) 80.
Brora Voucher Winners.
Best Nett – R M Smith (Inverness) (12) 69.
Scratch – J G MacBeath (Brora) 71; L MacDonald-MacLeod (Brora) 71; D Hexley (Golspie 72.
Handicap – R MacDonald (Brora) (3) 69; N Cameron (Brora) (6) 70; M Bonner (Golspie) (6) 70.
Muir of Ord Golf Club
THE club are holding an Open Texas Scramble Competition on Saturday, April 8. Players tee off in fours in 10 minute intervals. Late entries are being accepted on 01463 870825
Players are from the home club unless stated. Abbreviations: I Inverness, LN Loch Ness.
8am – M Hind, M A Macleod, R Fraser, Partner; SPACE; D A Young, S Barlow, J Wylie, K Munro.
8.30am – H McFarlane, G Simpson, J Sinclair, P Saint; G G Flynn, K Gray, B Roberts, M Sanford; J Bicknell, L J Reid, R N Telford, P C Green.
9am – A D Pollock, T MacKenzie, T Speirs, B Syms; D Bethune, R C MacIvor, S Ross, M Ross; L Simpson, R Benson, N Benson, A MacDonald.
9.30am – P MacLeod (I), L Hutchison (I), J Innes (I), Partner; G MacKay, J Kirkwood, A W Munro, J Vickers; G Gordon (I), J Simpson (LN), S Wilson (I), Partner.
10am – J Forbes, D Hexley, V Tillman, Partner; J Stuart, G C Stuart, D Stuart, F McKnight; B Rae, M Rae, I Rae, C Speirs.
1pm – G McIntosh, J R Mackay, G Mellis, H Ross.
1.30pm – J Bell, S Jordan, R Butler, Partner; SPACE; S Forbes, A Begg, J Whittet, D Urquhart.
2pm – T Nicholson, D Mackay, T Nicholson, A Nicholson,.