Thirteen boys from South of Scotland golf clubs entered the Scottish Boys Championship at Dunbar Golf Club from 6 – 11 April 2015. All had been practicing hard over the winter months and were full of confidence their swings had been honed to perfection. The sun was out and there was no wind as they stood on the first tee prepared to do battle to be the only one unbeaten on the last day out of 246 competitors from all over Scotland. This was an experience to be treasured, particularly for twelve year old Harry Austin (D&C) and fourteen year old Finlay Copland (D&G), playing in the event for the first time. Unfortunately they both lost in the first round but will be back next year to try again.
A further six boys also lost their first match. The big disappointments were Duncan McNeill (Powfoot) and Matthew McCulloch (Portpatrick) who are members of the Scottish Academy and were expected to contest the later stages. Grant Hannah (Thornhill), Fraser Hughes (Newton Stewart), and Rowan Marchbank (D&G) all lost narrowly and by all accounts were unlucky to be eliminated. Ross Whyte (D&G) just unfortunately had a bad day at the office but lives to fight again next year.
In the second round three of the remaining five lost narrowly. Chris Finnie (Lockerbie) beaten by the top seed, Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) and Ross Barbour (D&G).all played well but lost to better players on the day. Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Alex Chalk (Castle Douglas) kept the South hopes alive as the competition entered the third round. Angus used all his links knowledge and experience from playing regularly at Southerness but was narrowly beaten on the seventeenth green by 2 and 1. A wonderful effort by fifteen year old Angus playing in the event for the first time. Alex, who attends college in Gloucester, won his third round tie to reach the last 32 only to succumb to the more consistent play of his opponent and lost narrowly by 2 and 1.
And so the boys return home, beaten but with their heads held high, to enjoy another summer playing for the South of Scotland Juniors in the Northern Counties League against Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham and in local competitions.