The relatively calm conditions of last Saturday contributed to another day of low scoring in the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League competition. Nine teams collected five scoring points or better. Taken together, their scorecards added up to a collective total for the day of two under par – gross. Put simply, unless teams are returning gross scores of around par, or better, they will not be picking up scoring points. Those teams with already paltry handicaps are discovering that playing out of their skins is often not quite enough to win the day.
Bryan Geddes and Colin Macritchie will dispute the suggestion that they played out of their skins but, compared to mere mortals, they were pretty close to untouchable on the course again. Their gross 47 (nett 46) gained them five scoring points and the knowledge that they will have to play better than three under par to threaten the top of the points table.
The same can be said of Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh. Andy and Arthur have picked up scoring points in four of the five weeks of Winter League to date, with an aggregate gross score of umpteen under par and yet they remain in only third place overall. Last weekend, their gross 47 (nett 46) kept them in the hunt with five scoring points but Andy and Arthur realise that level of performance has to be produced week in week out just to remain within touching distance of the league leaders.
David Gray and Gordon Kennedy, as they have been since the opening day, are the current league leaders. Their weekend nett 46 was enough to extend their lead over their nearest challengers, Alasdair Maclean and Willie Macaulay. Another stroke has been cut from their handicap; that has made little difference in previous weeks and there is no evidence that David and Gordon will be reined in by this latest attempt to knock them off the pedestal.
Two teams posted nett 45 for nine scoring points each. The father and son combination of Peter and Murdo O’Brien is a formidable team. There was little doubt that, once Murdo had recovered from the ordeal of a Uist wedding, an occasion that can leave permanent physical and psychological scars (particularly on the bridegroom, from memory), it would only be a matter of time before the O’Brien family made its mark in the Winter League. A birdie on the Gunsite kept them in touch at the halfway stage and another on their final hole, the Caber/Foresters, ensured a place amongst the leaders in the fifth round of the campaign.
Stephen Moar and David “Kiwi” Macleod played a level par outward half, thanks in part to a Manor. On the inward half, a birdie on the Glen helped towards their nett total of 45.
Ken Galloway picked up nine scoring points playing alone on the opening day of the Winter League and, after a few barren weeks, he collected even more last weekend, this time with new partner George Mould assisting. Consecutive birdies on the Memorial, Ranol and Caber/Foresters made for a scintillating opening six holes; a steady run home took them to nett 44, a share of first place and a healthy bonus of fourteen scoring points.
Ken and George shared the top spot with Kevin Macrae and Griddy Macleod. Kevin and Griddy, with a handicap of just two strokes, opened with a bogey on the Miller. The balance was promptly redressed by a birdie on the following hole. More birdies on the Memorial and Caber/Foresters significantly improved matters by the halfway point. Four pars later, it appeared that their efforts would have little reward, but a birdie on the penultimate hole followed by an eagle on the last catapulted Kevin and Griddy from tenth into joint first place. With gross 46, Kevin and Griddy recorded the lowest total of the day.
Their weekend efforts lift Kevin and Griddy into sixth position in the overall league table on 28 points. Cal Robertson and Richard Galloway drop to fifth place on 32 points, one point adrift of Ken Galloway and George Mould. Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh have moved into third spot on 35 points, two behind Alasdair Maclean and Willie Macaulay, who are now five points behind leaders David Gray and Gordon Kennedy on 42 points.