Golf - Trades Cup goes to the White House

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If the golfing spirit in the Hebrides could be encapsulated in one moment, Davie Carmichael provided a strong contender last weekend in Stornoway.

Incessant rain had been teeming down for hours when Davie was spotted on the eleventh tee, drenched to the bone, wearing only a short-sleeved polo shirt and casual trousers.

He was probably carrying his weight in water in his saturated clothing. It was symbolic of the indomitable spirit that is characteristic of island golf.

Oblivious to the difficult conditions, Davie and another 40 competitors played for the Trades Cup last Saturday.

Teams of four, loosely associated by trade or profession, are drawn together, with the best three scores aggregated to decide the winner.

This year, the Local Authority emerged victorious. Well, one of the team is employed by the local authority and that tenuous connection was enough to give the Comhairle the win.

Pete Middleton is the present employee, while Dave Rattray and Huw Lloyd once worked for the Comhairle.

The fourth member of the team, David “Kiwi” Macleod, was drafted in because no other appropriate team could be found for him. The team nett score of 199 was achieved by Pete Middleton (64), Huw Lloyd (65) and Dave Rattray (70). That was enough to win the cup by a six stroke margin.

At least Kiwi learned a valuable lesson on life in a large organisation: sometimes, you can make no meaningful contribution whatsoever and still take the credit.

The second placed team was the Flight Attendants, a combination of golfers who hang around Stornoway Airport a lot, some of them fortunate enough to be paid for doing so.

Their aggregate total of nett 205 was put together by Cal Robertson (64), Calum Tom Moody (70) and Ken MacDonald (71). Don Macleod provided the glamour.

If there was one aspect of the weather to be thankful for, it was the lack of wind and, specifically, the bitter north-easterly that has plagued golfers for the past month. Scoring was excellent, with almost a third of the field equalling or bettering the par of 68.

Stuart Campbell posted the best individual total of nett 63. He was already heading for a respectable score as he left the fourteenth green, but Stuart pushed himself to the top of the leader-board with an outstanding finish of successive birdies on the cup and Foresters sandwiched between two pars.

Unfortunately, his Offshore colleagues could not quite follow his lead and Stuart slipped to fourth spot in the team event.

Cal Robertson was second, with another inspired and inspiring round of attacking golf that was rewarded with a level par round, the lowest of the day, translating to nett 64. There were four birdies in his round, on the Memorial, Whins, Ranol and, crucially, on the final hole.

Pete Middleton also posted nett 64, thanks in part to a purple patch in the middle of his round that yielded back-to-back birdies on the Whins and Dardanelles.

A rain-soaked and bedraggled Liz Carmichael put together a creditable nett 70 to win the Ladies’ Quaich, with Jan Maclennan in second place and Jane Nicolson third.

The atrocious conditions proved too much for some of the competitors in the first round of the competition for the Castle Trophy.

However, John Morrison leads with an impressive nett 68, closely tracked by Kyle Munro on nett 71.

There was no rain in midweek. Instead, a sharp northerly wind caused havoc.

Nevertheless, there were some sterling performances in the tussle for the TCB Trophy. Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald, now a veteran of playing golf in the wind at Scarista, had an excellent outward half, reaching the turn only three over par despite a double bogey on his opening hole.

His birdie on the Short was the icing on the cake as Norrie posted a nett 66, finishing in third place.

Scott Maciver also recorded nett 66, helped by a birdie on the Memorial. His strong finish of one over par on the final six holes edged out Norrie, putting Scott in the runner-up spot.

The third competitor with a round of nett 66 was Iain Macritchie and he won the Trophy with a fine inward half.

A birdie on the seventh hole was the early highlight but, for someone playing with a handicap allowance of eighteen, an inward half only five over par is very impressive.

Finally, there is no doubt that David Black will become a scratch golfer. It just did not happen last week.