This year the sixteen Area associations of Scottish Golf descended on Grangemouth Golf Club for their annual Boys Area Team Championships. The Municipal course, situated on the outskirts of the industrial town, was in immaculate condition and a credit to the greenkeeping staff and volunteer members who had worked tirelessly to produce a gem of a course which gained overwhelming praise from all the competitors and officials.
Sunday 5 June dawned cloudy and cool. The boys were up at 6.00 am, had breakfast and the first South pairing stood on the 10th tee at 8.07 for the morning foursomes. Callan Harkness (Lochmaben), partnered by William Squires (Kirkcudbright), hit the first tee shot and had a solid opening par 4. Another solid par 5 at the difficult 11th was followed by a dropped shot at the short twelfth before disaster struck at the long 13th and they ran up an 8 after a wayward drive. They quickly regrouped and only dropped one more shot in completing their first nine holes in 40, five over par. At the 18th, their 9th, William hit a magnificent 7 iron on to the green from a fairway bunker to 15 feet and Callan just missed the birdie putt. They played very steadily on their second nine holes with one birdie, 2 bogeys and six pars to finish with a score of 77, six over par.
Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) and Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) were the second pairing and also started at the 10th tee. They started with a birdie 3, dropped a shot at the long 13th, birdied the 16th, where Angus holed out from a greenside bunker, but then carelessly had a double bogey at 18, their ninth, after a wayward drive into the trees. They finished their first nine in 37 shots, two over par. A great start and all to play for on the inward nine. They unfortunately dropped a shot at the first two holes before getting par figures at the next four holes. A strong finish over the last three holes was required to post a very good score. But as so often happens in golf disaster struck and they ran up a double bogey at the short 7th, their sixteenth, and followed that with a triple bogey at the next. A solid par at their last hole gave them a score of 80, nine over par. At lunch they were not the happiest golfers in the room. With a combined score of 157 South Area lay in 6th equal position with all to play for in the afternoon. Lanarkshire and Lothians were tied for the lead on 147.
The sun came out at lunchtime, the temperature rose considerably, and the four boys again stood on the 10th tee determined to eradicate all the loose shots of the morning. Callan Harkness led the boys off and settled down quickly with two sold pars before dropping a shot at the short 12th. The 13th again proved a difficult hole for him and another 8 was recorded, but he rallied again getting a par at the next four holes before he dropped two shots on the 18th trying to avoid the fairway bunker. He completed his first nine holes in 41, six over par. He scored a par 4 at his 10th hole but half way up the fairway the battery on his electric trolley decided it had had enough and he had to play the last eight holes pushing a heavy trolley in very hot temperatures. His golf deteriorated as his tiredness increased. But he never gave up and finished with a fine birdie 3 at the last and a total of 88.
William Squires had a great first nine holes. He had birdies at 14 and 16 which were offset by bogeys at 12 and 15 to finish on 35, level par. He started his second nine with a birdie, dropped shots at 3, 7 and 8, had a double bogey at the long par 5 fifth and finished in 40, four over par, to give him a total of 75. A very good score and one which rewarded his very good and consistent play.
Nathan Watson started in determined mood with his mind focussed solely on the eighteen holes in front of him. He started with a birdie at the 10th but dropped a shot at the difficult par 5 eleventh, got it back at the short par 3 fifteenth and another at the short par 3 seventeenth before dropping another at the eighteenth. A fine outward nine in level par 35. He dropped two shots at the 3rd and 5th before birdieing the last with a fine 7 iron to 8 feet on his inward nine to record a one over par score of 37. A magnificent score of 72, one over par and another boy who should be proud of his efforts.
Angus Bendall was sent out as the anchor man but got off to a bad start bogeying four of his first six holes and having a double bogey at the short 17th to shoot a six over par of 41. He played very steadily on his back nine from the first hole when his putting touch returned and recorded two bogeys and a birdie at the sixth to score a one over par 37 and a total of 78.
The competition was won by Lanarkshire by one shot from Lothians, who incidently had one boy penalised two shots by being late on the tee after lunch, and South Area were sixth. Nathan had the 6th best individual score in the afternoon singles. Two very credible performances by the South boys.
All the boys were a credit to their Area, competed well and never gave up. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and after a very long and tiring day, both physically and mentally, slept soundly on the journey home.
The attached photograph shows the South team before play. From the left: Angus Bendall, Callan Harkness, Nathan Watson and William Squires.