With the exception of those who are playing at such a high level that handicaps are relatively immaterial, most golfers soon discover that playing Winter League without the benefit of a partner present is a thankless and demoralising experience. Of course, sometimes the presence of a partner has the same effect; but that is another story.
One pairing that has played single-handedly too often is that of Sandy Bruce and Eddie Mackenzie. For one reason or another, a sighting of the corncrake is more likely than seeing Eddie and Sandy on the golf course at the same time. The latest problem has been the aftermath of an argument between Sandy and a lawnmower. The exact circumstances are unclear but it is fairly certain that Sandy is in no mood to demand a rematch. However, Sandy had recovered to the extent that last weekend he was able to limp around the course beside his partner. The result was impressive.
An eagle on the Memorial helped them to a level par first half; a string of pars and further birdies on their final two holes gave them an excellent two under par gross 48. With the sort of handicap that can only be attributed to not playing golf often enough, Eddie and Sandy posted nett 41, which was three strokes clear of the field and more than sufficient for victory and 15 scoring points.
Kevin Macrae and Griddy Macleod took second spot with what was only their second outing of the Winter League. In Griddy’s golf manual, the definition of “par 5” has always been “birdie opportunity”, and the pair duly obliged with birdies on the Manor and Long Caber/Foresters. Birdies on the Memorial and Heather and eight pars produced an excellent four under par gross total – the lowest of the day. Their nett 44 nudged them one stroke clear of the third-placed team and earned them 12 scoring points.
Malcolm and Scott Maciver bogeyed the Gunsite and Castle, in what was an otherwise excellent round, securing 9 scoring points. They picked up a birdie on the Memorial and that proved to be enough to ease them one stroke ahead of three teams on nett 46.
John Gillies and John R Gillies discovered at the weekend that they have more in common than simply names: their wives share the same birthday and it just happened to be last Saturday. There is something quite touching about people spending their spouse’s birthday in the company of another partner on the golf course. The Gillies twins clearly enjoyed the experience, with a birdie on the Memorial the highlight of a solid round that was rewarded with 7 scoring points. Their wives would have been ever so proud.
Magnus and Murdo Johnson may have missed out on scoring points on the previous week but for the third time in four rounds of this campaign, they posted a superb score. A birdie on the Heather and an eagle on the Manor in their first six holes were followed by a level par second half and the points gained were sufficient to knock another stroke off their handicap.
Sharath Shetty and Ken Galloway make up a formidable partnership and, like Magnus and Murdo, they scored points for the third time this winter. Their level par gross round was achieved on the back of birdies on the Miller, Short and Long Caber/Foresters.
Six teams posted nett 47 for 3 scoring points apiece. Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh picked up points for the second successive week, but for three other pairings – Donnie Murray and Duncan Maclean, Liam McGeoghegan and Bob Rankin, and Andrew Reeves and Iain Morrison – these were their first scoring points of this Winter League.
Huw Lloyd and Marten James also scored “officially” for the first time this year, having been awarded points in error on their previous outing. The final team to pick up scoring points last weekend is now the only partnership to have scored in all four rounds to date. In fact, their blistering finish to last year’s Winter League means that Cal Robertson and Richard Galloway have been collecting points in eight of their last nine outings.
In the overall table, Bryan Geddes and Colin Macritchie retain their lead on 43 points, but Magnus and Murdo Johnson have now narrowed the gap to 3 points. A further 9 points back on 31 are Murdo and Peter O’Brien, a single point ahead of Cal Robertson and Richard Galloway in fourth place.