Four rounds of golf played on two consecutive Saturdays may be the best way to decide on the club champion for the year, but it is also an energy-sapping marathon. The marathon appears to be made slightly longer by the positioning of tees as far back as possible. Halfway through the second round, the notion of hailing a taxi to cover the journey from Gunsite green to Short tee becomes strangely appealing. Simply completing the four rounds is an achievement in itself although, for some competitors, even that seemed impossible after painful first round performances.
Kevin Macleod, for instance, sat in mourning in the clubhouse at lunchtime, unable even to discuss his first round in words of more than one syllable. But if there is one certainty about a Lochie, it is that he can be relied on to turn up in all circumstances and, true to form, Kevin was spotted several hours later marching purposefully towards the Redan green. It may have taken some earth moving equipment to shift him from the comfort of the club, but the only way to deal with a setback on the golf course is to go out and start again. That may not be strictly true but it is generally the argument presented to wife and family.
Once again, the course was in excellent condition but the most appealing ingredient of the competition was the weather. It may not have been Mediterranean but it was relatively calm and warm from dawn until dusk. Challenging pin positions, fast greens and punitive rough meant that low scoring would be difficult and the 67 posted by Norrie O Macdonald in the morning remained the only under par round of the day. That round owed much to an impressive performance in the middle of the round that brought Norrie four birdies – on the Redan, Gunsite, Whins and Ranol – in six holes.
The closest challenger in the morning round was Colin Macritchie, whose recovery from broken ribs was confirmed by a round of 68. In third place, one stroke adrift, was Kevin Macrae.
The lowest nett score of the day was also posted in the morning. Neil Macleod cut three strokes from his handicap with a 62, two shots ahead of Al “Greens” Macleod and Graham Morrison.
Thirteen hours after the first competitors teed off, the last group of weary golfers trudged off the final green. The end result was that nothing has been decided and there is all to play for next Saturday. Without doubt, the in-form golfer of the moment is Norrie O Macdonald. His midweek rehearsal for the Club Championship was a win in the Caledonian Medal competition with a gross 66 (nett 63) and he leads the Championship at the halfway stage. A second round 70 for an aggregate total of 137 was enough to edge him two strokes ahead of Kevin Macrae. A further two strokes behind are Al “Greens” Macleod and Griddy Macleod, with Murdo O’Brien and Colin Macritchie sharing fifth position on 142.
Al “Greens”, Griddy and Norrie also top the handicap leaderboard, the former on an aggregate total of 129 and ahead by two strokes at the halfway stage. Unsurprisingly, all those vying for the scratch title are also in contention for the handicap trophy. Murdo O’Brien is on 132 and Kevin Macrae is one shot further back. There are other contenders. Graham Morrison added a nett 67 to his first round 64 for a healthy total of 131. Alastair Henderson and Neil Macleod are on 135, one stroke clear of Murdo Maclennan, Kenny Cunningham and Jamie Duncan. Pat Aird and David Black are on 137. Worthy of mention is David’s birdie on the Whins in the second round. It was his 100th birdie of the season and he made it 101 shortly afterwards with another on the Caberfeidh. His eagle on the Manor in the same round means that he is joint leader in that category too, tied on 3 eagles with Alastair Henderson.
Donna Young won the Ladies Saturday Medal by two strokes from Mary Joyce. Earlier in the week, the mixed team competition for the Olsen Tankard saw some impressive scoring. Mary Joyce and Huw Lloyd took third place, while Angela Maclean and Cal Robertson were runners up. The winning team, on nett 67, was Tex Graham and Flora Imrie.