The competition in question was the Kenneth Mackenzie Jubilee Trophy, played this year in its original format of two rounds. Judging by the decimated field that completed the second round, Stornoway golfers baulk at the prospect of playing thirty-six holes in one day, for a variety of reasons. Stamina is clearly one deciding factor, but there are a number of others. Watching Ross County attempt to make history is perhaps excusable and turfing peats may be understandable. However, it is a sad day for all golfers when the competitor lying in fourth place after the first round – John R Gillies – finds it more advisable to return home to cut grass, do some dusting and undertake other exciting domestic chores than to tee off for a second round. Of course, if his choice secures enough points to qualify for trips to Golspie and Askernish, then it is a small sacrifice to make. He was not alone, as only two competitors from the top six positions in the first round ventured out again in the afternoon.
Stephen Moar had enough excitement in his first round to make an afternoon appearance unnecessary. A birdie on the previous hole may have emboldened him a little too much when he found his ball in the ditch traversing the Glen fairway. Whatever the reason, he decided to play the ball as it lay and one ferocious swing later, there was no sign of the ball. What was noticeable to Stephen was some discomfort in the area of his armpit. It emerged that his ball had travelled at speed straight upwards under his top and lodged snugly in his oxter: from one damp, overgrown hazard directly into another. Needless to report, Stephen had reached the point of no return.
The first round leader was Bryan Geddes with nett 65, built largely on a first nine holes completed in level par and including birdies on the Manor, Heather and Gunsite. One stroke behind was David Gray, whose birdie on the Dardanelles helped him to an even par back nine. In third place on nett 67 was Cal Robertson, edging out John R Gillies by virtue of a one over par inward half, which included birdies on the Ranol and the Avenue.
Almost all of the competitors in the second round bettered their morning scores. David Black had the benefit of his ace on the Foresters in his nett 67 which, combined with nett 71 in the first round, took him to sixth position on 138. Having posted a similar nett 71 in the morning, both Arthur Macintosh and Griddy Macleod returned nett 66 in the afternoon to finish with 137. Arthur’s completion of the final seven holes in one under par was enough to take him to fourth place overall.
Cal Robertson repeated his first round score of nett 67 for a total of 134 and third place. He picked up eight birdies in the two rounds and, but for a double bogey on the penultimate hole of the day, would have been close to winning outright. Bryan Geddes, in second spot, was also to rue a finish of three bogeys over the last four holes, a small blot on an otherwise excellent day’s work, for a nett 67 and 132 overall.
The competition winner was Paul Maclean, who beat his morning score of nett 69 by seven strokes. After bogeys at the Glen and Heather, Paul rarely put a foot wrong and completed the rest of the round in one over par for a nett 62 and an aggregate total of 131.
Somewhere amongst the mayhem of thirteen hours of men’s golf, the Ladies Section deserves great credit for managing to organise their Charity Bowl competition. The winner was Ann Galbraith with nett 68, one stroke ahead of Mairi Maciver. That result gives just a little breathing space for Mairi’s husband, Malcolm Maciver, whose handicap has come perilously close to that of his wife in recent weeks. There is no competition quite as entertaining as a family feud, provided that the feud is in someone else’s family.
The Caledonian Medal midweek competition proved to be a low scoring event. Andy Macdonald birdied the Memorial, Redan and Short to reach the halfway point in three under par. A solid back nine resulted in a superb gross 66 (nett 63) but that was only good enough for third place.
Cal Murray had another of those rounds that he seems to have once a month and which make nonsense of his handicap. His nett 63 took him to second position and he has already reduced his handicap this season by three strokes.
The midweek winner was Garry Murray, whose birdies on the Memorial and Dardanelles helped him to a stunning nett 61.
This Saturday sees the annual visit to Ullapool Golf Club. Those men unable to face the ferry trip and associated energy sapping activities have a Jackson Medal Qualifying competition as consolation. The ladies compete for the Quaich.