Golf - Island golfers blowing in the wind

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If you had decided at 5pm last Wednesday to take part in the latest qualifying round for the Caledonian Medal, you would have been guaranteed to finish at worst in third place in the competition.

Persistent rain and strong winds had decimated the field to such an extent that only Darren Beattie and Neil Rowlands had ventured out to brave the elements.

Fortunately, the rain began to relent and, despite the chill of a biting wind, another ten participants gave an air of respectability to the event.

Calum Tom Moody took third spot, his nett 71 giving a fairly good indication of just how testing conditions were. A birdie on the Manor may have appeared to be the highlight of his round but, in reality, it was a steady inward half that took Calum into the safety of the buffer zone.

Donald DJ Macleod also picked up a birdie on the Manor and, when he notched back to back birdies on the Ranol and Caberfeidh, DJ was sitting at level par with five holes to play.

The course has a habit of binging us all back down to earth and DJ finished five over par gross. His nett 68 was, nevertheless, an achievement in itself and gave DJ the runner up position.

Neil Rowlands, the first to take on the wind rain had a fitting reward with victory in the competition, thanks to a fine nett 68.

After an unsurprisingly ragged start in the worst of the weather, Neil settled down following a birdie on the Memorial. Another birdie on the Caberfeidh helped towards an impressive two over par inward half.

For most of those competing at the weekend for the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association (WIKPA) Trophy, the rain was a distant memory but winds gusting up to 40 mph remained. Once again, low scoring was extremely difficult to achieve. Only five of the field of over sixty participants broke par.

Cal Robertson suffered the additional handicap of having to play as the temperature dropped and rain swept in.

Nonetheless, he played superbly, his card comprising fourteen par holes, three bogeys and a par on his final hole. His nett 66 put him in third position and his gross 70 was only one shot adrift of the best gross total of the day posted by David Black.

Huw Lloyd continued his outstanding start to the season by claiming another runner up spot.

A difficult start was put behind him with a birdie on the Redan. Despite a double bogey on the Dardanelles, Huw completed the remainder of the round in only two over par.

Darren Beattie won the WIKPA Trophy with a battling round of nett 65. His scorecard had almost everything on it, including a triple bogey on the Gunsite, a hole that came close to ousting the Castle and Dardanelles as the most difficult on the course.

Crucially for Darren, his round also included birdies on the Ard Choille and Redan and his victory was the culmination of an excellent past fortnight of golf.

The ladies played medal qualifying competitions last week. On Tuesday, Christine Macleod cruised to a five stroke victory, with Liz Carmichael in second spot. On Saturday, Donna Young took the honours by two shots from runner-up Ann Galbraith.

In the Junior Section, it proved to be a good fortnight for Kyle Munro. Leading the field after the first round of the contest for the Kenneth Mackenzie Jubilee Trophy, Kyle threw down the gauntlet with a final round nett 68.

Only Mark Morrison was able to better that, with a nett 67, but he had to be content with second place overall, while Kyle takes home the first Junior silverware of the season. Aiden Millar was a creditable third, trailing Mark by just two shots.

The first leg of the inter-club match between Stornoway and Harris Golf Clubs at Scarista was dominated by strong winds but, as usual, the stunning setting proved to be the real winner, a panoramic vista of mountains, golden sand and shimmering sea.

From that reference to real winners, it is easy to draw the conclusion that Stornoway did not win.

One of the few Stornoway highlights was the birdie bagged by Eddie Mackenzie on the monstrous third hole, a “chip-in” with a four iron.

In fact, the visitors took an early lead with two thumping victories, but that was their last whiff of success. Harris ran out comfortable winners by 4.5 to 2.5 points.