Golf - Munro bags a trophy

Kyle Munro secured the first of what will no doubt be many golfing trophies with victory in the Junior Club Championship at Stornoway Golf Club.

Holding a nine-stroke lead over John Morrison after the first round, Kyle extended his lead last weekend helped by two birdies, on the Short and Caberfeidh, to add his name to an illustrious list of Junior Champions.

In the latest Junior Medal competition, Robert Macritchie took the honours by four stableford points over Ruaraidh Macmillan.

Ruaraidh is in fourth spot in the Junior eclectic competition on 23.5, one stroke behind John Morrison, who is in turn one stroke adrift of Mark Morrison. Kyle Munro leads this competition on 20 strokes.

The midweek men’s competition was the first round of the Neil Morrison “The Barber” Trophy.

Norrie “Onions” Macdonald had four birdies, on the Manor, Memorial, Dardanelles and Ranol, in a hard fought gross 70, taking a three stroke lead into this week’s final round.

David Black, Griddy Macleod and DJ Macleod all share second place on gross 73.

Norrie is also leading the handicap section of the competition on nett 67, sharing that total with namesake Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald. Griddy and DJ lie third on nett 68.

Given the generally poor weather, entry for competitions remains healthy.

Almost 60 golfers participated in the weekend 125th Anniversary competition, in temperatures of around 13 degrees celsius and light winds.

Actually, these conditions were close to the best of the season and the scoring confirmed that view. A third of participants posted scores of par or better.

Despite dropping five shots over the last three holes, Stewart Macqueen carded a nett 64, a score equalled by two other contestants. Murdo O’Brien matched a bogey on his opening hole with a birdie on the second and then strung together ten straight pars.

A birdie on the Caberfeidh followed and Murdo held on to post his lowest total for a long time.

Chris Kelso was another posting his lowest total for a very long time and possibly within living memory. Chris avoided the kind of explosions that have incinerated many a scorecard this season. His better inward half also guaranteed a qualification spot for the final of the Jackson Medal.

The second Jackson Medal final place went to Sean Manson, whose nett 63 was just enough to win the 125th Anniversary Trophy. In his inaugural season in Stornoway, Sean has struggled at times to adapt from the links courses of his native Ayrshire to the unique Hebridean challenges of wind, rain, small greens and cold conditions.

Last Saturday, Sean put all of that behind him with a superb round of gross 70.

A dropped shot on the Heather was quickly erased by a birdie on the following hole and Sean reached the halfway point in level par. There was a second birdie, on the Caberfeidh, as Sean won his first event in the Hebrides.

Around half of the field would have had the sort of tortuous round that, one moment, holds out the hope of making buffer zone to prevent a handicap increase and then, in the next moment, snatches that promise away.

Very often, it is a desperate start that ruins any chance of the kind of score that makes winning a possibility. And then, somewhere around the halfway point, when scores are being checked, it becomes apparent that, if we take into account that some horrific scores on individual holes will be massaged into nett double bogeys and factor in the remote possibility - but still a possibility - that we could avoid any double bogeys on the inward half, this round could be salvaged.

Once the Dardanelles has been negotiated, there is another review of the scorecard and it becomes clear that we need at least five pars to make the buffer zone. Fast forward a few holes and the outlook is now grim. We need to pick up birdies on two of the last three holes.

There is no need to describe what happens next but, basically, we reach the locker room knowing that only the abandonment of the competition will prevent another small increase in handicap.

Seven over par after four holes, Ann Galbraith may have imagined that her round was beyond repair but she steadied the ship and a birdie on the final hole helped her to victory in the Ladies’ 125th Anniversary competition. Liz Carmichael was second and Mairi Maciver third.

This weekend, all sections compete in the Greenkeepers’ Benefit event.