This is the premier amateur team championship of Scotland, contested by the 16 Area Associations of the SGU. Each Area is represented by their 6 leading male amateur players, competing in a stroke play qualifying format with the leading 8 teams qualifying for the match play final stages. The competition this year was held at Blairgowrie over both the Rosemount and Landsdowne courses from Friday 15 May to Sunday 17 May.
The weather on Friday morning started sunny and cool with a chance of light showers in the afternoon and a light breeze for the 36 hole stroke play qualifying competition. A strong South of Scotland team of Scott Gibson (Southerness), Greig Marchbank (Thornhill), Kyle McLung (Wigtownshire County), Michael Grunwell (Powfoot), Martin McNae (Lochmaben) and Iain Thomson (Powfoot) started off with high hopes of at least making the match play final stages.
Both the current Scottish Internationalists, Scott and Greig, produced sub-par rounds of 71 and 70 respectably over the Landsdowne course. A great start although they both admitted afterwards they had left a few putts out there. Unfortunately only Mike (79) and Martin (77) could break 80 and in this company of the best players in Scotland this left the South way down the field at lunch with a super human effort required in the afternoon.
Mike Grunwell rose to the challenge and finished with a one under par round of 71 to join the young lions of Scott (69) and Greig (70) who again produced sub-par rounds over two of Scotland’s greatest courses. None of the other three members could break 80 and so the chance of reaching the match play finals had disappeared for another year. South finished in 12th place on a total of 751 (5 scores on each course to count) with the leaders Dumbartonshire on 717. The last qualifiers, North East, had a total score of 737, and if the South players who had all scored over 80 had all scored 78 (6 over par) or less for each round South could have qualified.
Scott and Greig are to be congratulated on their two super rounds but it was a sad two and a half hour journey home for most realising that they had let the youngsters down by not playing to their potential.
The attached photograph shows the South team before play.ATC 2015 Blairgowrie
Back row: Martin McNae, Iain Thomson, Michael Grunwell
Front row: Scott Gibson, Greig Marchbank, Kyle McLurg.