Golf - David edging towards scratch golf

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There was plenty of golf to report on this past week but definitely only one place to start: David Black’s extraordinary round, which brought him within sight of scratch golf, and won the latest qualifying round for the Jackson Medal.

Anyone casting even a cursory glance at David’s scorecards over the past few weeks will know that they invariably have a handful of birdies and, almost invariably, a double bogey.

Last weekend’s round did not disappoint. There were an astonishing seven birdies in all and one costly double bogey on the Ditch.

David picked up three birdies on the outward half, turning for home two under par.

The most impressive of the four birdies on the inward half came on the final hole, when David could have been forgiven for blasting the ball to the safety of the Manor fairway but typically went for the pin.

His gross total of three under par translated to nett 64 and put David in the tantalising position of potentially becoming a scratch golfer by the end of this week.

Coincidentally, David is drawn to play in the same group as myself in the midweek contest for the TCB Trophy.

The attraction of having a ringside seat when someone becomes a scratch golfer is slightly tempered by the knowledge that playing partners are generally dragged down to my level.

In the absence of any fanfare in next week’s golf notes, look for a short footnote on the horrible ending to David’s push for a zero handicap.

It was fitting that a round of that quality would win the competition.

However, the second qualifier, Kevin Macrae, also posted an excellent score of nett 66.

Kevin had his fair share of birdies too, bagging four in total, on the Manor, Short, Caberfeidh and Ditch.

Dave Sandison played no golf during the winter and has only participated in three of this season’s competitions.

Nevertheless, he has reduced his handicap by two strokes courtesy of two excellent rounds in four days, the latest of which was last weekend.

The hard work was mainly done on the outward half, with Dave reaching the turn only three over par.

Given that the away leg of the Stornoway inter-club match with Ullapool was also played last weekend, the field of almost sixty was very encouraging.

Even more encouraging is that over thirty youngsters have enrolled for junior golf coaching this season.

Fifteen of that number are new junior U11 members, taking the total of U11 members to 43.

This complements the growing number of U18 junior members and the Club is now in the healthy position of having nearly ninety junior members across the age ranges.

The news from Ullapool was less encouraging, with the team returning home after a 4-1 drubbing.

However, as they say, it’s the journey that is the important thing and never more so than last Saturday crossing the Minch.

Mention was made earlier of Dave Sandison’s two excellent rounds; the first was in the midweek qualifying round for the Centenary Medal.

Dave played steady golf from start to finish, the highlight being a birdie on the penultimate hole that helped him to an impressive win with 42 stableford points.

Cal Robertson exploded into life after a steady opening half. Birdies on the Miller and Avenue, and seven par holes propelled him into the runner-up spot on 39 points.

Calum Tom Moody also posted 39 points, taking third position with a remarkably consistent performance. There were no birdies but, crucially, there were no double bogeys either.

In the Ladies’ Section, Jane Nicolson birdied the Redan on her way to a level par nett 68 and victory in the competition for the Charity Bowl. Ann Galbraith was second, with Liz Carmichael in third place.

Kenneth Macleod was runner-up in the Junior Medal qualifying event, and the winner was Ruaraidh MacMillan, with a superb nett 65.

Ruaraidh was steady throughout his round but showed great maturity in closing out only one over par through the final six holes.

Finally, the Sponsors’ Night Texas Scramble proved to be an excellent event, with the golf played, as with every other competition last week, in dry, mild conditions, with a stiff breeze adding to the challenge.

The winning team represented sponsor Omac Construction and finished with an impressive eight pars and four birdies.

This weekend sees the annual battle for the Trades Cup, with the best three scores from four man teams deciding winners and bragging rights.