FATHERS AND SONS RISE TO THE TOP
There are a number of members falling into the father and son category at Stornoway Golf Club, but only two such pairings are registered for the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League. Perhaps more parent and child partnerships will play in future, because the two pairings competing for the Winter League trophy now fill first and second places in the overall competition.
David and Michael Black have been leading the race for as long as most of us can remember but, after last weekend's sodden round, they have now been overtaken by Donald and DJ Macleod. The Macleods have 45 points, easing one ahead of the Blacks.
Donald and DJ began with a bogey, but that was redressed by a birdie on Memorial, ensuring the pair reached the halfway mark in level par. A birdie on the Dardanelles was the catalyst for another two birdies on following holes, the Redan and Gunsite. Their gross score of three under par was the best of a difficult day and, despite a meagre handicap of only two strokes, their nett total of 41 proved enough to earn Donald and DJ maximum points.
Scott Macaulay and Kenny "Spoonyan" Maclean missed out on a share of victory by one stroke, picking up a dozen points. Scott and Kenny began with a bogey but that was to be their only slip in the outward half. A bogey on the Dardanelles was matched by a birdie on the Whins, as they put together a level par inward half for a nett 42. They played alongside Magnus and Murdo Johnson and, as is often the case, each pairing fed off the other's high standard of play.
Magnus and Murdo kept up their fine recent form with another solid performance. The Johnsons were one of four teams to post nett 43. With the exception of a bogey on the Glen, they played each hole of the opening half in level par. A birdie on the Avenue, at the start of the inward half, was followed by four par holes, before a bogey on the final hole, the Manor, pulled them back from a share of top spot. The nine points secured, combined with a haul of eleven a couple of weeks ago, have lifted Murdo and Magnus into a threatening position in the overall Winter League table. The leaders will be looking anxiously behind them at a number of teams with previous experience of winter success.
One of those teams is the partnership of Norrie "Tomsh" Macdonald and Murdo Maclennan. Two over par after the first two holes was not an ideal start but they settled down and dropped no more strokes for the remainder of the round. Murdo regularly reduces the distance from tee to green on the longest hole on the course, the Dardanelles, to two comfortable shots and he did so again last weekend. Unlike previous rounds, however, Murdo capitalised with a birdie. There was another birdie on the Gunsite as Norrie and Murdo carded a gross round of level par. Their nine points moved them up into third position in the overall league table on 41 points.
Scott Maciver and John Cunningham have been making their assault on the Winter League climb one point at a time but, last weekend, they took a different approach. A birdie on the Dardanelles was the highlight of an impressive first half of one under par. The inward half was a rollercoaster, with a double bogey, two bogeys, two pars and a birdie, on the Memorial. Scott and John were one of the four teams playing in the morning to make the top six places; it was certainly wetter in the afternoon and so, for once, those playing early made have had an advantage.
Richard Galloway and Cal Robertson have made slow progress, by their standards, this winter, although their most recent outing suggests that they will be there or thereabouts come early April. Two over par after two holes, they pulled themselves back to level par with Cal producing a birdie on the Memorial and Richard reciprocating on the Caberfeidh. The final six holes were more reminiscent of this pair's standard golf: every one a par.
By the time these notes go to print, a (peaceful) AGM will have been held, we will have a new Committee and a new Captain and summer golf will be less than six weeks away. As will be the small matter of payment of annual membership fees. Ouch!