Working to win the Trades Cup

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Genuine instances of double-take are rare but any golfer checking the online results for last week’s TCB Trophy would have provided an outstanding example.

Our golfer would have noted the competition winner and the winning score: Kenneth M Macleod (nett 68). Our golfer may have been a little surprised that a level par score could win such a prestigious competition but he would have reflected that the weather conditions were atrocious.

He would have scrolled down to see the names of those who performed well in the high winds and hail showers: Murdo O’Brien (nett 66); Lewis Mackenzie, Stuart Campbell, Griddy Macleod and John R Gillies (nett 67). It would suddenly cross his mind that there must be some mistake – his first thought might be that perhaps the combined IT skills of Pat Aird, Martin Flett and John “Shillegan” Gillies had contrived to give the TCB Trophy to someone who did not have the lowest score.

Our golfer would scroll back up the list again. And then he would have his double-take moment: Kenneth Macleod (nett 58). Yes, nett 58.

What a round that was. Despite a biting wind gusting to almost 50 mph and freezing rain, Kenny somehow managed to knock eight strokes off his previous best total.

In typically adventurous fashion, his scores on individual holes ranged from 2 up to 8 and included every number in between although, obviously, the lower numbers featured much more often. There were birdies on the Manor and Short and Kenny’s magic even rubbed off on one of his playing partners,

Murdo O’Brien, who took second place in the competition and posted the lowest gross score. A handicap reduction of four strokes means that Kenny is close to achieving his season’s ambition in one fell swoop.

The weekend competition had a similar script, one that has become very familiar this season. On this occasion, it was Stuart Campbell who found himself centre stage. His transformation from shinty grip to golf grip is almost complete and his handicap has consequently tumbled by eight strokes in barely six weeks. He could prove invaluable to those manufacturers who sell clubs on the strength of promises of incredible scoring improvements – always considered ludicrous claims until Stuart picked up a driver.

Of course, the improvements are not just in playing ability; Stuart is learning from more experienced playing partners on every outing. Last weekend, Peter O’Brien provided a lesson on how to ring the bell that alerts players behind that it is safe to begin their rounds on the Castle tee. Peter simply struck the bell with his second shot although, unfortunately, where it went after that it an unsolved mystery. The ball is a Titleist with a red dot, if anyone wants to search for it in the vicinity of the Woodlands Centre.

Level par over the final six holes, including a birdie on the Cup, Stuart posted nett 60 and cruised to a five shot victory in the individual section of the Trades Cup. His fellow Health and Fitness team members failed to capitalise on Stuart’s contribution in the overall event. To spare their blushes, they will remain nameless, with one exception How did Kenny John Macleod qualify for inclusion in a team that includes the words “health” and “fitness”?

Stephen Moar took second spot with an excellent nett 65, a birdie on the final hole edging him ahead of five players on nett 66. One of those was Joe Rankin, with another solid round to underline his improving form. Joe and Stephen were both members of a Construction Workers team that won the overall competition, in which participants are assigned to teams of four, drawn by profession or trade, with the aggregate total of best three individual scores in each team deciding the winner. The other members of the team were Robert Rankin (nett 71) and Iain Macritchie (nett 72). Their total of 202 was five shots better than their nearest challengers.

In the Ladies Section, the midweek medal was won by Ann Galbraith, four strokes ahead of Mairi Maciver, who was making only her second appearance of the season. It was a similar story for Rita MacDonald, who won the Ladies Quaich event last weekend. Ann Galbraith was relegated to runner-up in this competition.

The first round of the Junior Club Championship was played at the weekend and Adam Longdon carries a healthy ten stroke lead over Michael Jefferson into this Saturday’s decider.

John Gillies’ golf column features in the Stornoway Gazette every week - pick up next week’s edition for more from Stornoway Golf Club.