It is difficult to recall for how many years David Black has been Club Champion at Stornoway Golf Club. Some Club members were not even playing golf when David first won the title, an so it is quite some time since a very young David won his first Championship. Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end and, in a week when richly deserved national exposure for our Club Championship was unfortunately overshadowed by the saturation coverage of the EU referendum, Stornoway golfers witnessed a national Brexit and our own wee Blexit and the sight of two Davids, separated by the length of the country, having to relinquish their titles.
After a long absence, Andy Macdonald had grabbed the attention with his superb scoring in the opening two rounds. However, recovery from his shoulder surgery was not helped by so much intensive golf and Andy had to withdraw after struggling through the penultimate round. There is plenty of promise there, even if the number of competitions Andy participates in is curtailed.
Cal Robertson, trailing by one stroke after the opening weekend, took full advantage, a birdie on the Manor being the highlight of his third round gross 71. That gave him a two stroke advantage over David Black. The defending champion posted his third consecutive gross 70 of the competition, including three birdies on the outward half at the Manor, Glen and Short. Only successive bogeys on the final two holes prevented David from grabbing a share of the lead.
Norrie “Onions” Macdonald and Colin Macritchie shared third place, three shots behind David. Norrie and Colin both posted a final round gross 70, with Norrie just edging out Colin to take third place overall.
With a superb one under par outward half, Cal extended his lead to four strokes. A birdie on the Ranol appeared to secure the title for Cal, until a stunning approach to four feet on the sixteenth green set up a birdie for David. Cal dropped a shot after drifting his second shot into the greenside bunker and he had to compose himself before teeing off on the penultimate hole.
It was the tee shot that probably won the Championship. Aimed directly at the pin, the ball finished around fifteen feet short of the flag and, with the pair making matching pars, David needed a miracle on the last to hang on to his title. It was not to be and Cal calmly holed out for par to cap a wonderful fortnight.
Griddy Macleod and Neil Morrison finished fifth and seventh respectively in the scratch competition and both were tied on nett 265 for the four rounds. Griddy pipped Neil for the MacDonald Trophy in the handicap section courtesy of his final round nett 65, a remarkably solid round of sixteen par holes and two bogeys.
The Senior Club Champion is the rather youthful Peter Dickie, whose win was ensured by a nett 64 and nett 65 in the final two rounds. This was undoubtedly one of the best Club Championships in recent years. The contest was tight, there was a healthy field and the weather was unusually kind, sunshine being much more in evidence than cloud and rainfall never a problem.
The Ladies’ Champion is Jane Nicolson, winning her umpteenth trophy by twelve strokes, ahead of runner-up Ann Galbraith.
In the Junior Section, Ruaraidh Macmillan cut into John Morrison’s lead from the first round but was unable to catch him. John finished eight strokes clear after two excellent rounds.
The winner of the Neil Morrison Trophy was decided in midweek. Norrie “Onions” Macdonald, trailing by five strokes after the first round, birdied the Manor, Gunsite and Whins in an impressive level par final round. The first round leader, David Black, began with a double bogey before going on to play consistent golf for the remainder of his round, finishing with a gross 72 and winning the scratch prize by a single stroke.
In the handicap section, Neil Rowlands set a blistering target with his second round nett 64. Birdies on the Manor, Redan, Caberfeidh and Ditch helped towards an aggregate nett 133.
Allan “Biddley” Macleod was also on form, improving on a first round nett 67 by one stroke. A birdie on the Whins put him in the driving seat but, after sixteen excellent holes, dropping three shots on the final two left him level with Neil. The Trophy went to Neil, thanks to his better second round score.