There are many ways to ruin a scorecard in golf. One of the most spectacular is probably blowing up on a single hole in a manner that is as devastating as it is unexpected. The American tour professional Kevin Na did exactly that in last week’s Texas Open. Na set an unwanted record with the highest ever score recorded on a single par 4 hole on the PGA Tour. His 16 strokes on the ninth hole took him from leading contender at 5 under par to oblivion within the space of a few minutes.
Almost every golfer experiences a Kevin Na moment, and sometimes several in the one round. To be strictly accurate, however, because it is entirely unexpected, a Kevin Na moment can occur only once in any round. In other words, once you have had one disaster, another is not really that surprising.
Scott Maciver and his playing partners know from experience what a Kevin Na moment looks and feels like. Scott decided to get his in as early as possible in the Cancer Relief charity event held last weekend. The normally consistent and able golfer carded an 11 on his first hole. If Scott has learned anything from that, it is not to attempt to play the ball when it is lodged in the roots of a tree.
By contrast, Kevin “Lava” Macleod waited until late in his otherwise impressive round. If anyone is in need of an injection of cash, a sound investment would be a bet on Kevin reducing his handicap by a handful of strokes this season. Kevin is a naturally gifted golfer with a lethal putting stroke, which makes his weekend trauma even more surprising.
After a blistering start to his inward half, Kevin played a near perfect shot from the 15th tee. He sent a towering ball out to the left and watched it drift back in on a fierce crosswind to land around ten feet from the pin. Six putts later, Stornoway’s own Kevin “Na” was launching his club in the general direction of France, or words to that effect. His recovery from that calamity to comfortably make the buffer zone shows how strong a competitor Kevin is.
The winner of the Cancer Relief Shield was Iain “Todd” MacKenzie. A triple bogey on the first hole is the kind of confidence damaging start that can kill off many a round but Iain fought his way back and reached the halfway point with a birdie on the Short. He held his nerve on the return leg to post a score of nett 63 and secure a comfortable victory by three strokes.
The early season conditions are proving very testing for competitors and, once again, only a few golfers managed to break par. Amongst those adapting best to the challenges are those with low handicaps and it was encouraging to see Kevin Macrae and Norrie “Onions” Macdonald amongst the leading competitors. It was another low handicap golfer, Andy Macdonald, who took the runner up position for the Cancer Relief Shield. His round burst into life with four consecutive birdies from the Heather onwards. An eagle on the Caberfeidh was the icing on the cake for Andy on yet another day when the blustery wind made scoring difficult.
The midweek competition was a Centenary Medal stableford event and was won by Norrie “Tomsh” Macdonald. A birdie on the Memorial was the catalyst but it was a level par inward half, with a rare birdie on the Dardanelles, that brought him 21 of his 40 points.
Like many others, Norrie has struggled in the opening events this season and this result should have been a boost to his confidence. Instead, by the weekend, things had returned to normal for this time of year.
Euan Morrison came within a whisker of winning the midweek competition. His points total was identical to that posted by Norrie and Euan lost out only because it was on his outward half that he collected a total of 21 points.
The Ladies contested two competitions in the week. The SLGA Brooch was closely contested and was decided on the last hole, where Donna Young’s par was enough to give her a margin of victory of two strokes over Liz Carmichael. The result of the Saturday Medal competition was even closer, with winner Mary Joyce and second placed Ann Galbraith separated by only one stroke.
Adam Longdon recorded his second successive win in the medal competitions in the Junior section.
Coaching for ladies of all ages commences on Thursday 28 April between 6.30pm and 8pm. No experience is necessary and golf clubs will be provided. It is an ideal opportunity to try out the game and, if taking up a relaxing and rewarding pastime is the outcome, it could lead on to a life of addiction, frustration, bitter, bitter disappointment and complete loss of self-esteem: if you’re lucky.