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Young Ross-shire golfers fall at first hurdle in North of Scotland Junior Match Play

By Staff Reporter

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Five Ross-shire teenagers made it through to the match-play rounds of the North of Scotland Junior Match Play tournament at Forres Golf Club last week.

Rory Bushnell (77/72) and clubmate Fin Davidson (76/78), both Fortrose and Rosemarkie, as well as Nathan MacKenzie (72/76) from Muir of Ord all qualified into the under-18 age group.

But all three youngsters were defeated in the first round by members from Nairn’s two strong clubs.

The winning Spark family leaving the Forres golf course. Left to right, Jack Spark, William (father) and under-15 champion Scott.
The winning Spark family leaving the Forres golf course. Left to right, Jack Spark, William (father) and under-15 champion Scott.

Bushnell fell to the eventual winner, William Nicol (Nairn Dunbar), Davidson to the losing finalist Calum Daun (The Nairn) and MacKenzie went out against the north of Scotland stroke-play champions Logan Gillies (The Nairn).

In the under-15s section Muir of Ord’s Scott Mackenzie and Fortrose and Rosemarkie’s Jack Mann also made first round exits, but there was success for Strathpeffer Golf Club members Scott and Jack Spark.

The brothers now live in Pitmedden and play at Newmachar.

But they are connected to Strathpeffer through their grandfather George Spark, and both made it to the final four.

Elder brother Jack (15) made it all the way to the semi finals before losing heavily to Finlay Wickenden (The Nairn), who went on to meet Scott (14) in the final.

With matching handicaps of three, Spark won three holes in a row on the outward half to be one shot up at the turn.

The final ebbed and flowed, but going into the final tee Spark was still one shot ahead, and a halved par four saw the ex-Strathpeffer junior take home the Forres Golf Club Cup.

Sandy Aird sponsors the competition and was on hand to award his cup to the 2019 under-18 champion, 15-year-old William Nicol (Nairn Dunbar) who beat Daun in the final four and two.

Iona Reid became the first girl to have her name on the Forres Club Handicap Cup after last year’s merger of boys’ and girls’ competitions.

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