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Forbes hails young opponent after after successfully defending Muir of Ord Golf Club Championship

By Will Clark

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Kirkhill golfer John Forbes successfully defended his title at the Muir of Ord Golf Club Championship.

The course’s club manager saw off a spirited fightback from teenager Nathan Mackenzie to win the men’s tournament for the fourth time in his career.

Forbes finished second in the qualifying rounds before going on to defeat Raymond Whittet in the quarter final knockout stage and beat John Mackay in the semi final after an extra hole.

Forbes (34) looked to be cruising to the title when he was four up after just five holes in the final.

But 17-year-old Mackenzie showed good character to fight back and take the final to the 18th hole, where Forbes clinched victory winning two-up.

John Forbes (left) being presented with the Muir of Ord scratch championship trophy by club vice captain JP Sieczkarek.
John Forbes (left) being presented with the Muir of Ord scratch championship trophy by club vice captain JP Sieczkarek.

He was full of praise for his opponent who gave him a tough defence of his championship.

“It got quite tight as I ended up one up at the 17th after I had quite a good start,” said Forbes.

“Nathan did really well for only being 17 years old. For being a junior golfer it was fantastic for him to get to his first final.

“It is good to see some of the young ones coming through, but it is great to win the club championship again.”

Forbes says it is the biggest win of the Covid-affected season.

“Competition golf restarted in July and a lot of the competitions we usually play in have been cancelled or rescheduled,” he said.

“It has been disruptive, but everyone has tried to get as much played as possible.

“Our club championship was played over four weeks and it is usually held over one or two weeks, but at least we are in a position where golf tournaments can be played.”

Forbes first learned to play golf at the course at eight years old and as club manager for the last six years, knows it inside out.

He says winning at Muir of Ord will be the biggest competition he will play in 2020, but hopes to compete in a few more tournaments before the year is out, adding: “There are a couple more tournaments to play but coming into September the season is coming to an end.

“There are competitions taking place in September but once we’re into October that will be it. It has been a short season, but it has been good to get some games.”

Sam Cowie was the gents’ handicap winner defeating Craig Morrison in the final.

George Sutherland won the senior championship over Kenny MacGruer, with Murray J MacKay beating William MacKintosh in the senior handicap final.

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