The top four juniors in the South of Scotland travelled north to Eastwood Golf Club, on the outskirts of Glasgow, on Sunday 3 June to compete in the Scottish Boys Area Team Championships. The course was well presented although the greens were bumpy and slow. This, however, was not the major challenge facing all the boys but how to keep their concentration with hordes of midges trying to eat them alive. With all the good weather prior to the event everyone had packed copious amounts of suntan lotion but all forgot the midge repellent sprays.

Each team consisted of four boys, all under eighteen, and the format was stroke play with two foursomes in the morning, with both scores to count, and four individual rounds in the afternoon, with three scores to count. The Area with the lowest aggregate score would be declared the winner.

The South team had been drawn to be out first and at 7.00 am Finlay Copland (D & G), partnered by Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright), split the fairway with his the opening drive. Two pars were followed by a birdie at 3 but they gave this shot gained back by three-putting 4. They bogeyed 7 and were out in 36, one over par. On the back nine they had two bogeys and a double bogey at 18 for 39 and a total of 75.

Mitchell Cowie (D & C) and Taylor Kerr (Thornhill) combined well to be one over par 36 for the outward nine, Birdies at 10 and 13, offset by bogeys at 14 and 16 saw a level par for the inward nine ruined by a double bogey at 18 and they finished with 37, two over par and recorded a three over par 73 for their round.

A team total of 148, eight over par, set the standard for the other 15 teams. Perth & Kinross led the way with 142, followed by North-East on 144 and South tied with Ayrshire and Lothians on 148 and Renfrewshire one shot behind.

The boys were disappointed at lunch but even more determined to do better in the afternoon.

Cameron Gray had the honour of leading off the competitors in the afternoon singles and his opening drive split the fairway. He lost a shot on 2 and continued to leak shots. No matter how hard he tried he could not get the ball to do as he wanted and he finished his round with an 82, twelve over par. He suffered like most of the South boys on the slow bumpy greens.

Finlay Copland played the first eight holes in one over par but a four putt on the ninth ruined his outward nine and he posted a 38, three over par. He never gave up but still leaked shots and finished with 76, six over par.

Mitchell Cowie lost a shot on 2 but got it back with interest with an eagle on 6. He was going well but dropped a shot on 11 to get him back to level par and another on 13 before a birdie on 14 with a lovely wedge shot and tap in putt. He parred the last four holes and signed for 70, level par.

A bogey at the first got Taylor Kerr off to a bad start but by the 4th he was back to level par and then gave it back with another bogey on 5. He birdied 6 and had regulation pars on 7, 8 and 9 to be out in level par 35. He had birdies at 10 and 13 but a double bogey on 14 brought him back to level par. Two birdies at 16 and 17 gave him a marvellous score of 68, two under par.

With three scores to count the South team score for the singles was a very credible 214 and a grand total for the competition of 362. The boys and officials now had an agonising wait of over 4 hours to see if any of the other Area teams could beat it.  First in were Perth & Kinross who posted 358, then Renfrewshire who equalled the South score of 362, but we soon learned that Cameron Gray’s score beat their fourth man by 2 shots so South were lying in second place.

Ayrshire posted 365 and Lothians 363 so South had secured second position and the long wait had been worthwhile and the boys and officials were overjoyed.

The marvellous 68 by Taylor Kerr was the best singles score of the day and he was very proud to receive to receive the Niagara Cup for his considerable achievement.

The group photo shows the South team: Lindsay Copland, Mitchell Cowie, Taylor Kerr and Cameron Gray.

Photo of Taylor Kerr, proud winner of Niagara Cup