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Muir of Ord Golf Club complete fairytale ending by coming from behind to lift Northern Counties Cup for first time in 33 years at Tain


By Andrew Henderson

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Muir of Ord Golf Club snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to lift the Northern Counties Cup for the first time in 33 years.

Going up against defending champions Nairn in the final, Muir of Ord would have felt like the underdogs regardless, but with them being behind on the scorecards with five holes to play they could have been forgiven for thinking their chance of success had passed them by.

However, after John Forbes and Nathan Mackenzie won their match by three holes, Jamie Whittet and Shaun Johnson fought back to force extra holes in the foursomes matchplay final.

Muir of Ord Golf Club won the Northern Counties Cup for the first time in 33 years. The team, Nathan Mackenzie, Shaun Johnson, Jamie Whittet and John Forbes, are pictured with the trophy after returning to Muir's clubhouse.
Muir of Ord Golf Club won the Northern Counties Cup for the first time in 33 years. The team, Nathan Mackenzie, Shaun Johnson, Jamie Whittet and John Forbes, are pictured with the trophy after returning to Muir's clubhouse.

The first extra hole was halved in both games, setting up a spectacular finish on the second.

Again, Forbes and Mackenzie halved their tie, but Johnson holed his ball from 80 yards for an eagle to claim the club’s third Northern Counties Cup triumph.

“It was a great way to win it – a surprising way to win it, but a great way to do it,” Muir of Ord club manager Forbes enthused.

“To be honest, both pairings after 14 holes were thinking we probably weren’t going to get through it, but then it just changed.

“It can do that in the Northern Counties Cup, you get games like that.

“I would say with five holes to go, both of us thought that we didn’t have much chance, then when it came to one or two holes to go we thought we had a very good chance. That’s how quickly it changed.”

Muir of Ord also overcame Brora and Duffhouse Royal on their way to the final, but they did not go into the competition with expectations of bringing the trophy home from Tain.

However, putting their name on the silverware for the first time since back-to-back successes in 1986 and 1987 left Forbes delighted this late in the season.

“We just wanted to get as far in the competition as we could,” he said.

“A lot of it depends on the draw and who you get, and all the matches we played were fairly close, none of them were really big wins in the end.

“I don’t think any of us went in expecting to win it, but the further we got through the more you start to think you’ve got a chance.

“We were probably one of the smaller clubs in it, so you always think if there are bigger clubs there they will be challenging ahead of ourselves, but everything seemed to go right for us.

“It’s something that hasn’t been done here for a while, so it’s great to win the cup.”

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