GOLF MAKES A COMEBACK - JUST
The ice and snow that caused the cancellation of Winter League play for much of December has now gone. Dark clouds and fierce winds have replaced the clear skies and calm, cold days.
On any other day, heavy showers and wind gusting in excess of 50mph may have closed the course. Instead, last Saturday, desperation overtook common sense as teams headed out to contest the latest round of the Car Hire Hebrides Winter League. For some, it was their first serious golf in three weeks. The view that conditions are “not quite as bad as they could be” is never really a good reason for playing golf. However, when the alternative is doing something that, for the third weekend in a row, does not involve having a golf club in hand, a soggy, windswept course becomes a very attractive prospect.
The new course layout may be short, with a par of only 42, but the vagaries of wintry weather make almost every hole a potential disaster zone. Last weekend, for the first time this year, scores of two over par qualified for points. Seven pairings gratefully accepted the unexpected bonus of a single point.
Four strokes better, three teams earned eight points each. Richard Galloway and Cal Robertson maintained their challenge with another excellent round. A bogey on their opening hole, the Castle, was immediately followed by a birdie on the hybrid Dardanelles/Ranol. The pair then reverted to type, with six successive par holes before their only bogey on the inward half, on the Ditch. Their one over par gross total was beaten by only one other team.
Pat Aird and Arthur Macintosh underlined their impressive campaign with a nett 40, having an identical start to Richard and Cal. Pat and Arthur dropped a shot on the Redan but then put together a run of six par holes and a steady finish pushed them into a share of third place.
George Macleod and George Mould were the final pairing on nett 40. Four over par at the halfway point, the two Georges dropped only two shots on the home straight and, as a result, catapulted themselves over more than a dozen teams in the overall competition.
Al “Greens” Macleod and Alan “Biddley” Macleod took the runner-up position with the lowest gross score of the day. An inauspicious start, with bogeys on their opening two holes, was partly redressed by a birdie on the Avenue, and the two Als completed the outward half one over par. Birdies on the Dardanelles/Ranol and Redan gave the pair a gross 41, which transformed into a nett 39.
The winning total was nett 38, posted by Ken Galloway, with a little help from John R Gillies. Ken was outstanding in the outward half, bagging birdies on the Dardanelles/Ranol and Short, as the pair turned for home one under par. A bogey on the first hole of the inward half was quickly forgotten after four successive par holes.
The final hole almost undid all of the good work that preceded it. Ken caught his tee shot so perfectly that it sailed over the green, over the wall, over the road and over the trailer parked above the green-keepers’ shed. The ball was eventually retrieved from behind the clubhouse.
Fortunately, Ken’s partner was on hand to salvage the round with another trademark three putt bogey. Their nett 38 brought their first victory in this campaign and fifteen precious points.
There is no change at the top of the overall Car Hire Hebrides Winter League table. Andy Macdonald and Neil Rowlands are still comfortably ahead on 45 points. Runners-up Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald and Murdo Maclennan closed the gap to nine points after picking up a solitary point last weekend.
Ken Galloway and John R Gillies moved up into third place after their win; they are now just one point adrift of second spot. Al “Greens” Macleod and Alan “Biddley” Macleod are also closing in on the leaders, moving up to fourth position on 34 points.
There are three pairings locked on 33 points. Arthur Macintosh and Pat Aird join the Blacks (Michael and David) and Garry Murray and Eddie Rodgers. Eighth place is taken by Colin Gilmour and John Morrison on 32 points, one ahead of Iain Morrison and Andrew Reeves. The top ten is completed by Paul Moorby and Robbie Ross on 30 points.
The Ken MacDonald & Co sponsored TeXmas Scramble has been rescheduled for 6 January. Happy New Year!