A new Roll of Honour will be unveiled shortly at the Golf Club. It will be inscribed with the names of all those who completed the four rounds of this year’s Club Championship. It will be quite a small plaque, not much larger than a postage stamp. That is because space is needed for the names only ten bedraggled golfers who were still standing at the close of play last Saturday evening.
Over the course of two weekends, the ten had played more than 3,000 shots. Admittedly, most of those were played by John R Gillies but even he contributed to the total of 55 birdies made. Conditions over the two weekends could hardly have been more challenging. There were only two elements of weather that the survivors did not face: snow and brimstone.
David Black began the day with a one stroke cushion over Kevin Macrae, but it was Colin Macritchie who posted the best third round score of 71. That lifted him into second place, four strokes adrift of David Black, who battled through the wind and rain to a 74. A further stroke back was Kevin Macrae.
The fact that Colin’s three over par total was the best on the morning round was clear evidence of just how challenging the course was. The effect of the awful conditions was confirmed when the Competition Scratch Score (CSS) – for the first time in years – registered only handicap reductions. The weather also put paid to the hopes of most of the original field and there were few competitors able or willing to venture outside for another eighteen holes in the afternoon.
The weather relented a little during the final round and that was reflected in an improvement in scoring. Kevin Macrae and David Black were the last pairing to go out. Kevin immediately turned the screw with a birdie on the second reducing David’s lead by two strokes. A birdie on the Ard Choille settled David’s nerves, but Kevin struck again with birdies on the Memorial and Gunsite. By the halfway point, the gap between the two was only a single stroke. The standard of golf was remarkable in the circumstances, with Kevin level par after thirteen holes. Three holes later, the pair stood level. It was David who edged into the lead on the penultimate hole and he confirmed that position when Kevin slipped to a double bogey on the last.
Victory in the Club Championship is a tremendous achievement for David. He led the competition from the first round and refused to buckle under intense pressure.
Third place in the scratch competition was taken by Al “Greens” Macleod. His final round 74 was enough to lift him one stroke clear of last year’s winner, Norrie “Onions” Macdonald. It was also enough to give Al victory in the handicap section by a comfortable margin of seven shots over Murdo Maclennan. Al was runner up last year and finally gets his hands on the MacDonald Trophy.
One name missing from the challenge as each of the handicap and scratch competitions reached a climax was that of Club Captain Allan Macleod. Allan led the handicap section by three strokes and was in fifth position in the scratch event after last weekend’s opening rounds. Last Saturday, he suffered a dramatic collapse in the third round that effectively ended his interest in both competitions. The truth is that the root of his collapse can be traced back to the night before and a wedding reception in Borve. It was there that Allan first began to experience difficulty with both his stance and hand to eye coordination. Saturday simply arrived too quickly. Nevertheless, Allan has to be commended for completing his fourth round in an excellent nett 68 to ensure that the day ended without any damage to his handicap.
The calmer midweek weather was reflected in the scoring in the Centenary Medal stableford event. Three players picked up 40 points, with James Hood in third spot. Griddy Macleod made an eagle on the Manor (a feat he repeated on Saturday) and three birdies in his round of gross 68. He was edged out of first place by Norrie “Onions” Macdonald, whose gross 65 included two birdies in the outward half and a further two birdies in a back nine that comprised a 5, two 4s and six 3s.
The ladies section emigrated to Harris for the Open competition at the weekend, but their midweek event was a Cancer Relief Charity stableford. Liz Carmichael was runner up and the winner, with the added bonus of a cut in handicap, was Ann Galbraith on 39 points.
The Jackson Medal competition this weekend is also a fundraiser for the Western Isles Kidney Patients Association.