The four top boys in the South of Scotland, accompanied by their long suffering parents and grandparents, made the long trip north to join a strong international field to play in the Scottish Boys Open Championship at Montrose from Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 April. They travelled in hope but confident of putting in a respectable performance.
First off for the South boys on Wednesday in challenging conditions of a cold strong wind off the sea accompanied by rain, sleet and hail was Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) who started consistently with 8 bogeys in the first 9 holes to be out in 44. Five straight pars from the tenth steadied the ship before he lost two more shots and finished with an 81, 10 over par. He battled hard in the conditions and to have no double bogeys on his card was quite an accomplishment.
Mitchell Cowie (D&C) also started badly and was 7 over par after 6 holes and 10 over at the turn. He dropped another 5 shots on the back nine and finished 15 over par for a total of 86. He too showed his fighting spirit and never gave up. A cross wind is never easy and a well fought bogey became a notional par.
Dumfries & Galloway member, Finlay Copland, started with a regulation par 4 but reached the turn in 46, ten over par. He decided to finish on the twelfth green at 15 over par and signed for a No Return.
After two double bogeys on the opening holes Taylor Kerr (Thornhill) put these disasters behind him and using his short game skills to good effect he reached the turn in 41, 5 over par. Unfortunately, on the inward nine his scoring became more erratic and he completed his round in 85, 14 over par.
A poor start from the South boys but a good second round could see three of them making the cut of the top 40 for the two rounds on Friday.
Play was delayed by two hours at the start of the second qualifying round on Thursday morning due to frost on the greens but at least the strong wind and rain ceased for most of the day.
Taylor Kerr had two birdies at 3 and 6 in his outward nine but was still 6 over par and needed a miracle to make the cut. He completed the inward nine in 40, with three dropped shots in the last 3 holes and a score of 82 and a grand total of 167.
After a bad start of 4 over after 3 holes Cameron Gray again played well. A birdie at 6 gave him a first nine of 39 and he finished well only dropping 3 more shots coming home and recording a six over par of 77 for a total of 158.
The second round could not be completed on Tuesday due to the late start and unfinished games were rescheduled to be completed on Friday morning and the competition was reduced to 54 holes. Mitchell Cowie had a very good opening nine holes of level par (36) with 2 birdies and 2 bogeys but then his second round was interrupted and when he returned in the early morning the momentum had gone and he lost 5 shots on the back nine for a score of 76 and a total of 162.
Of the 44 players who made the cut of 151, 9 over par, only 19 were Scots which is a poor advertisement of junior golf in Scotland. The CSS for the first round was 75 (R/O) and 72 for the second round. This was a disappointing competition for the South contingent who had practiced hard over the winter and recorded a victory in the annual match against Ayrshire only a week earlier.
158 Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) 81, 77
162 Mitchell Cowie (D&C) 86, 76
167 Taylor Kerr (Thornhill) 85, 82
NR Finlay Copland (D&G)