Sogelau Tuvalu may not yet be a household name, but he should be. The 20 stone shot putter from the tiny nation of American Samoa failed to throw the qualifying distance for the World Athletic Championships in South Korea. Undaunted, Tuvalu somehow managed to enter the 100 metres Championship event and made a brief appearance in the first round before being eliminated in his heat. The problem with his appearance was not so much that it was brief but more because it was inordinately long.
Tuvalu took 15.66 seconds to cover the distance and was just beyond the 50 metre mark when the other sprinters crossed the finishing line. His running style was reminiscent of that of Chris “Tex” Graham, although it has to be emphasised that Chris does move at a considerably faster pace. However, had the handicap system that makes golf so competitive been applied to the 100 metres, Tuvalu would have started his heat at around the 50 metre mark and crossed the line at approximately the same time as the athletes in the race. The humiliation of being so far behind his fellow competitors would have been avoided and Tuvalu could have dispensed with his training regime, which had taken up four hours of valuable snacking time each day for a month.
There was another Chris Graham leaving almost everyone else standing at the weekend. This mild-mannered Chris is known as “Savage” and Saturday probably explained why. He and his playing partners, Donald Murray and James Hood, completed the course in nineteen strokes below par. James Hood returned yet another solid round, this time a nett 67. Once Donald Murray had completed the first six holes at an average pace, he moved into overdrive, dropping just four strokes over the following twelve holes: not bad for a golfer with a handicap of 17. His nett 60 would normally have been more than enough to win a Jackson Medal qualifying event but one of his playing partners was already well below that total.
Chris, armed with a handicap of 26, was only four over par after six holes and, despite relaxing a little too much for a few holes in the middle of his round, he birdied the Caberfeidh to complete the final six holes in just two over par. His nett 58 was easily the best score of the day and Chris even appeared to be influencing those playing in the following group. David Black posted nett 66 while Scott Maciver was level par.
Third place in the competition went to Chris Kelso, who has developed a liking for Jackson Medal competitions. Last month, a nett 66 in the qualifier was his best score of the year and he bettered that by two strokes at the weekend. There were no birdies in his nett 64 but the consistency of his round will give Chris a sense of optimism for the rest of the season.
Richard Galloway also returned nett 64 for fourth spot. A triple bogey on his first hole was the only black mark on his card and was more than offset by dropping only four shots over the remaining seventeen holes.
The idyllic golfing conditions of the morning and early afternoon deteriorated rapidly in the strengthening wind and the golfers battling the course later in the day could only dream of nett 60. Nevertheless, Murdo O’Brien took fifth place with an evening round of nett 65 that included five birdies.
In the Junior Section, Michael Jefferson had the best round of his fledgling career with a nett 64 but it was once again Adam Longdon who took the honours in the weekend medal competition with a superb nett 60. Adam had an ideal start, picking up a birdie on the first hole and consolidating pars on the next two holes.
Ann Galbraith survived unscathed in her first outing after a handicap cut, winning the midweek Ladies Medal competition, with Donna Young the runner-up.
The last of the midweek Caledonian Medal qualifying competitions brought a win for James Hood and yet another handicap reduction. A steady round of four pars, thirteen bogeys and a birdie on the Memorial for a nett 63 total was a superb display for someone boasting a handicap of 17. In second place, Eddie Rogers put together a round of nett 64 that was also a model of consistency, with a birdie on the Ranol in amongst thirteen pars and four bogeys.
In third position, Andy Macdonald continued the theme of consistency, picking up a handful of birdies in a round of nett 64. Arthur Macintosh took fourth spot with a nett 66, helped by an eagle on the Caberfeidh. The standard of golf from the top four was excellent, with not a double bogey in sight.
The Centenary Medal final will be held this week and the weekend men’s competition is for the Glennie Trophy.