The annual prizegiving last Saturday may have given the impression that the summer season is at an end. It was only an impression. The balmy weather belied the fact that we had entered October and, with the course in excellent condition, the full eighteen hole setup will be continued for an additional three weeks. The final competition of the year will be the MOD Medal, coinciding with the return to Stornoway of the Royal National Mod. If Saturday evening is any guide, the MOD Medal will give club members their only opportunity to pick up a medal during that week.
The main event of last weekend was the Jackson Medal final. The shotgun start in the afternoon appeared to bamboozle some competitors, with Chris Kelso in particular left standing forlornly on the wrong tee until he was escorted to safety. Perhaps the heat of his recent Spanish holiday had eventually taken its toll.
Heat of a different kind was generated by Paul Maclean. His three under par total on the back nine matched Colin Macritchie’s score in equalling the course record in 2009. Having made par on holes 10 and 11, Paul ran into a purple patch with birdies on four of the next five holes. He even allowed himself the luxury of a bogey on the Foresters. Coupled with a relatively pedestrian outward half, which also included a birdie on the Memorial, Paul posted a nett score of 62 to set the pace.
It was the kind of day made for low scoring and there were plenty of competitors willing to oblige. However, none could better Paul. The closest challenge came from Murdie Macdonald who, like Paul, saved his best score of the season for a final that he had not qualified to play in. Unlike Paul, Murdie played his best golf on the outward half for a nett 63.
Andy Macdonald finished a stroke behind after another superb round. A birdie on the Heather took him to the turn in level par and a birdie rush on the Ranol, Caberfeidh and Miller gave him a two under par return leg for nett 64. Andy has been in excellent form in recent weeks: his eclectic score from his last four outings is gross 58.
There were a handful of others under par. Jamie Duncan was another competitor who shone on the inward half, posting level par with birdies on the Dardanelles, Ranol and Miller on his way to nett 65.
One stroke behind was Garry Murray, who recovered from a potentially disastrous 9 on the Dardanelles to record his best total of the year. Also flirting with potential disaster was Ken Galloway. His tee shot on the Ard Choille rebounded from the yellow tee marker to arc gracefully over his head, over the back of the tee and over the footpath before plopping softly into the Glen River. The ensuing double bogey was made worse by a triple bogey on his next hole. Nevertheless, Ken simply rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to claw back the deficit with birdies on the Memorial and Gunsite.
Eddie Rogers and Mike Smith matched Ken’s nett 67 and that total also proved to be the top score for those who had actually qualified for the final.
Arthur Macintosh took second place with a round that included an eagle on the Manor. That was Arthur’s fifth eagle of the year and his first on the Manor. For the record, he has bagged three on the Caberfiedh and another on the Memorial.
The winner was David Black. As the subsequent prizegiving highlighted, this has been a tremendous season for David. In addition to his weekend win, David won two of the biggest prizes on offer in Stornoway - the Club Championship and the Thomson Bruce Trophy.
Rita MacDonald made what is only her fourth competitive outing of the season in the ladies’ stableford event and won the competition. Mary Joyce was second, with Angela Maclean third.
The marathon of matchplay competitions run throughout the summer has ended. All have been completed with the familiar sight of Ken Galloway in contention for most of the trophies. Once again, Ken won the Clansman Trophy and defeated Kevin Macrae in the final of the Burns Cup. Having seen off Ken in the semi-final of the Stornoway Cup, Neil Morrison went on to win the trophy by beating Alastair Henderson.
The winners of the Consolation Cup were Bryan Geddes and Murdo Maclennan, who beat John Gillies and John R Gillies in the final. John Gillies suffered a double blow when he lost out in the Bain Cup final to Andrew Reeves.