It’s all over. The CarHire Hebrides Winter League ended last weekend after six months and around two thousand completed rounds. In the end, only two points separated the winners and runners up. In fact, nine points was the difference between first and tenth places and the close competition was one of the reasons for an excellent tournament.
The leading pairs in the overall contest struggled to win scoring points in the final week and the five points picked up on the previous weekend proved to be just enough for Richard Galloway and Cal Robertson to secure the title. Their margin of victory was narrowed due to a sterling effort put in by Magnus and Murdo Johnson, who jumped from fourth to second on the last Saturday of competition.
The Johnson twins posted nett 49 to collect 4 scoring points and move within two of the leaders. No doubt they will rue missed opportunities: had they taken a single stroke less, Magnus and Murdo would have tied for the lead. Instead, it was Cal and Richard who took a step beyond last year’s share of the Winter League title to win the crown outright with 89 points.
Three teams shared third place overall. Liam McGeoghegan and Bob Rankin put in a last gasp charge with nett 50 for two scoring points, enough for them to join Peter and Murdo O’Brien and Andy Macdonald and Arthur Macintosh on 84 points.
Sandy Bruce and Eddie Mackenzie moved up into sixth position, courtesy of two scoring points collected for a nett 50. Their total of 83 points brought them level with Colin Macritchie and Bryan Geddes.
One point behind, David Black and Iain Macdonald were unable to add to the impressive thirty points amassed over the course of the previous three weekends. They remained one point ahead of Stephen Moar and David “Kiwi” Macleod, who took ninth place with 81 points.
The top ten was completed by Griddy Macleod and Kevin Macrae on 80 points. Their final round of nett 45 equalled the best of the day, while their gross score of six under par was easily the lowest of the day. Griddy and Kevin opened with four pars before three successive birdies on the Ranol, Long Caberfeidh/Foresters and Castle. A brief return to par golf was ended with back to back birdies on the Redan and Gunsite and another on their final hole, the Manor.
Griddy and Kevin were joint winners with Martyn Macleod and Jimmy Gowans, putting in an all too infrequent appearance. Martyn and Jimmy opened their round with a birdie on the Castle, with another on the Gunsite helping towards a level par first half. A steady second half and the fourteen scoring points suggest a much more impressive partnership than their league position indicates.
Using a partner as a crutch or an excuse is now a thing of the past. Individual competitions have already commenced but there is one more opportunity for golfers to rely on partners. Golspie Golf Club are the visitors to Stornoway this weekend and, once again, they are coming in welcome numbers. The matchplay format for the inter-club event takes place on Saturday afternoon. Golspie has shown tremendous hospitality to Stornoway golfers over the years and it is encouraging to see a reciprocal welcome for the visitors.
For those who simply cannot have enough golf, there is a men’s Jackson Medal qualifying competition on Saturday morning, with similar events for ladies and juniors. A final reminder is also given to all those wishing to compete in the usual matchplay events over the summer months: entries can be made online and entry fees should be paid by next Monday at the latest.