Ken Galloway has featured in these notes so often this year that it is difficult to find anything new to write about him. That in itself can be quite dangerous as it is tempting to invent some information to avoid repetition. Retirement has given Ken a lease of life, allowing him to indulge in what he enjoys most, be it fishing, golf, local history or other interests that we may concoct later to maintain reader interest. Of course, old age means that it takes Ken a little longer to warm up these days and that was underlined by a shaky start to his round in the final of the Caledonian Medal competition. Having dropped four shots on the opening hole, Ken completed the remaining seventeen holes in only three over par. His nett total of 65 was one stroke better than that of his nearest challenger, Norrie O Macdonald.
Despite missing out on the title, this round marked a milestone for Norrie, who has now returned to a handicap of 1. Just over a month ago, Norrie was playing off a handicap of 3. A succession of excellent scores – only three rounds have been over par out of his ten played in the past six weeks – has given Norrie an outside chance of playing off scratch before the season ends. It is an outside chance but, given that pensioners are now winning competitions with ease, anything is possible.
Last weekend saw the contest for the Tupper Cup, with a competition format that is only played once a year in Stornoway. All other individual events are either stroke play or Stableford, but the winner of the Tupper Cup is decided by bogey par format, where participants play against the course as in matchplay. The course generally wins, with one or two notable exceptions.
This year, only ten players from a field of almost fifty managed to beat the course. There was a good reason for that. The Indian summer of recent days suddenly transformed into monsoon season. The torrential rain caused a suspension of play in the afternoon and the more sensible golfers decided not to restart when the downpour eased.
It was no coincidence that three of the top four scores were returned in the latter part of the day, as the course dried out in pale evening sunshine. Richard Galloway and Donald G Smith posted 3up and 4up respectively before John R Gillies matched the leading score of 7 up set by Marten James. Marten won the trophy courtesy of a superb inward half of one over par. That is a high standard of golf for any player, but for a golfer with a handicap of 15, it is exceptional. And it all came after a disastrous start for Marten, as he ran up a nine on his opening hole.
The Stornoway Cup is a matchplay tournament open to all club members. The fifty who entered at the start of the season were gradually whittled down to two and the competition reached its conclusion last week with a final contested by Ken Galloway and Pat Aird. Ken is the consummate competitor in matchplay but he met an equally determined opponent in Pat. Ken was four up at the turn, with Pat simply hoping to delay the inevitable for as long as possible and avoid a comprehensive defeat. By the time the pair walked off the sixteenth green, however, Pat was only one hole down. Having a stroke advantage on each of the last two holes put him in a strong position and solid pars on each gave Pat victory by one hole.
The deteriorating weather reduced the ladies’ schedule to a single competition last week. Christine Macleod and Flora Imrie both posted nett 76 but the winner of the midweek medal qualifying competition was Anne Galbraith with an impressive nett 67. The highlight of her round was a superb, albeit unnecessary, birdie on the last hole.