Scotland’s 16 Area Associations competed for the prestigious title of Scottish Boys Area Team Champions at Machrihanish Dunes Golf Course on Sunday 8 June with each Area represented by their four leading Under 18 boys players.
This was not a course the boys representing the South of Scotland had ever played before. They left Dumfries and Stranraer at 7.00 am on the Saturday morning and after a 5 hour journey arrived at Machrihanish at lunch time to find no wind but pouring rain on the Mull of Kintyre. Off they set manfully for a practice round to explore the vagaries and complexities of this recently constructed links course. After 9 holes they put their clubs back in the car and walked the remaining 9 holes.
Up early again on the Sunday morning Duncan McNeill (Powfoot), Matthew McCulloch (Portpatrick), Alex Chalk (Castle Douglas) and Rory Brunton (Portpatrick) for the foursomes at 8.30 am the boys found the weather had changed from pouring rain to gale force winds. The boys battled well and after almost 5 hours Duncan and Rory returned a score of 79 and Matthew and Alex a 82 to give a total of 161 and finish the morning in 8th position, 12 shots behind the leaders Renfrewshire. All four played superbly well from tee to green but could not master the large undulating greens in the strong gusting cross wind.
Although tired after their exertions in the morning the boys set out determined to do better in the afternoon singles. They all again played magnificently from tee to green but found their putters did not respond on the greens. Duncan and Matthew had very creditable 5 over par 77’s, Alex a 79 and Rory a non-counting 85 after a horrendous score at a par 3 on the outward 9. He never gave up and completed the back nine in one over par – the best of the team.  This gave the South of Scotland boys an overall score of 394 to finish in sixth position. The competition was won by Glasgow with a total score of 375.
The boys all performed well and produced a very creditable result. Although they were disappointed with their performance on the greens their tee shots and iron play were a joy to watch. They all stuck manfully to the task and were completely exhausted after 36 holes battling the elements and undulating fairways and greens.
The Executive of the South of Scotland Golfers’ Association are very grateful to Armstrong Watson for their sponsorship of the Area teams.