The unremitting rain of last Saturday afternoon is difficult to describe. More rain fell in that short spell than in the period from mid-May until the last Wednesday of June this year. It certainly felt like a month of rain. For those who scored points, it was all worthwhile. For the others, they were marginally less dangerous on the golf course than pushing a trolley around a supermarket. There was also the consolation that there has been no golf on the Saturday before Christmas for the past three years.
It was no surprise that the winning team played in the morning. Gusting wind was the worst that Eddie Rogers and Garry Murray had to contend with as they put together their best round of the year. A birdie on their opening hole, the Ard Choille, helped them to a level par halfway total. A birdie on the Miller on a steady inward half gave a gross total of 46 and their handicap reduced that to an impressive nett 41. That proved to be the best of the day and takes Garry and Eddie into the top half of the league table.
Ken Galloway and George Mould were one shot adrift in second place. But for a costly double bogey on the Long Caberfeidh, Ken and George could have been sitting pretty in first place and that despite finishing their round with everything they had, from clothes to clubs, saturated. The Long Caberfeidh apart, their round was solid golf with Ken, in particular, playing at the top of his game. The highlight may have been a birdie on the Heather but a string of eight pars and a level par inward half is an excellent standard of play. It is their consistent standard of play that has now taken Ken and George to a share of the lead in the overall Car Hire Hebrides Winter League and established them as serious contenders for the trophy.
Third place went to Al “Greens” Macleod and Allan Macleod on nett 43. They battled through the worst of the weather to post the lowest gross score of the day with a level par round that was only spoilt by a bogey on the their final hole, the Long Caberfeidh. After a level par outward half, a birdie on the Avenue came as a well-deserved bonus. Their opponents, who will remain anonymous for reasons that will shortly become obvious, pushed Allan and Al all the way to the tenth hole, where Al picked up an excellent birdie and their opponents were lucky to escape with a nine.
Five teams posted nett 44 to tie for fourth place and earn six scoring points apiece. All five played in the afternoon, which makes their scores all the more creditable. Andy Murray and Dave Macmillan have shrugged off the fact that they are playing in their first Winter League and, last Saturday, coped with the ordeal of playing against a team that is probably playing the best golf in Stornoway at the moment. Despite four birdies on their inward half, on the Ard Choille, Glen, Heather and Cup and a level par gross total, Griddy Macleod and Kevin Macrae had to add a handicap stroke to find their nett total and consequently did not even earn a single scoring point. To make matters worse for Griddy and Kevin, Andy and Dave held their nerve to close out an impressive and relieved their opponents of a pound each.
Kevin “Lava” Macleod and Norman Morrison recorded their best score of the campaign, thanks to an inspired inward half. Kevin has found himself in a few sticky positions on the golf course recently but, regardless of rain, hail or high wind, he will always take on the hole. That fearless approach paid off last Saturday, when throwing caution to the wind gave Kevin and Norman a grandstand finish and served notice that their Winter League campaign is now up and running.
Roddy Martin and Norrie Mackenzie shared fourth place with a steady round and Donald John Smith and David Macleod followed up last weekend’s win with another solid performance.
The final pairing on nett 44 was Jamie Duncan and George Macaskill. Jamie repeated last Saturday’s feat of making par on the Foresters and the rest of the round, including a birdie on the Memorial, helped them to scoring points for the second time in succession. Jamie and George have now picked up 25 points this month and that takes them to within striking distance of the league leaders.
In the overall competition, Ken Galloway and George Mould have joined Bryan Geddes and Colin Macritchie at the top of the table on 54 points. David Gray and Gordon Kennedy slip to third place on 52 points, five points ahead of Kevin Macrae and Griddy Macleod. Alasdair Maclean and Willie Macaulay are close behind on 45 points, while Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh share sixth place with Cal Robertson and Richard Galloway on 43 points.
Al “Greens” Macleod and Allan Macleod have moved up to eighth place on 42 points, one ahead of David Black and Iain Macdonald, who share ninth spot with Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald and Murdo Maclennan.