The premier event in the South Junior calendar took place on Thursday 13 July at Wigtownshire County Golf Club. On a dull summer’s day with little wind on a course which had recovered well from the ravages of leather jackets over the spring months nineteen boys from all over the region arrived to play the Scratch competition over 36 holes in conjunction with the Handicap event over the first 18 holes.
William Squires (Kirkcudbright) set the morning standard with a magnificent level par round of 70. One over par for his first nine holes he started the back nine with four birdies before showing his human side by dropping three shots in his last five holes to finish the back nine in one under par.
Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) did it the other way round being one under after nine holes but dropped two strokes on the inward nine to finish on 71, one over par. He had two birdies and his scoring was a model of consistency. Also on 71 was Mitchell Cowie (D&C) who was two under par for the front nine with three birdies but could not sustain this wonderful standard and dropped three shots coming home.
Other very good scores were produced by Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) with halves of 32 (two under) and 40 for a total of 72, Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) 38,36 for 74, Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) 38, 37 for 75 and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) 37, 38 for 75. A total of seven players with a realistic chance to be this year’s champion.
In the afternoon the wind increased to a strong breeze and the players were faced with a different challenge. Cameron Gray, who had played a lot of competitive golf lately, fought bravely but could not score consistently well and had to settle for a disappointing 85, total 157.
Nathan Watson, last year’s winner, also disappointed with an 81, total 156, and knew his chances of retaining his title had gone. Callum McMillan, having played well in the Scottish U 16 Championships on Tuesday and Wednesday, found 36 holes just too far for his wee legs and succumbed to tiredness and a 79, total 154.
Taylor Kerr was only two over par after nine holes and coping well with the offshore wind but when he turned the corner the wind became the winner and he finished seven over on 77 with a total of 148. The Dumfries & County Junior Champion, Mitchell Cowie, was level par on the outward nine but found coming home more difficult and dropped four shots between the tenth and fifteenth and had to sign for a 74 and a very respectable total of 145.
A very focused William Squires played the first nine holes in level par in the afternoon but dropped a shot at 10 and 11. He then played his last seven holes in level par to record another fine round of 72 and a total of 142, two over par. Iain Rae was the only player still out on the course who could deprive William of the trophy. Iain got off to a bad start with three bogeys in the first three holes but then his renowned fighting qualities were put into overdrive and he completed the first nine in 37, one over par. A birdie at 10 and two further bogeys left him signing for 72, the best score of the afternoon with William but his total of 146 could only claim him third place.
Other good scores returned in the afternoon were by Kaleb Johnston (Portpatrick) 73 and Jamie Alison (D&G) 76. There was some magnificent golf played in testing conditions and a two over score of 142 from William Squires made him a worthy champion.
Special congratulations go to Rory Dodds (Stranraer), playing off a handicap of 30, who joined the “big” boys and played 36 holes. He played both rounds within his buffer zone and was certainly not disgraced.
The Handicap Championship was also won by a Kirkcudbright member. Patrick Innes shot 76 less 11 for an unbeatable net 65. Mitchell Cowie (D&G) 71 – 4, 67 was second and a surprised David Hastings (Portpatrick) 83 – 15, 68 was third on bih from Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar).
142 William Squires (Kirkcudbright) 70, 72
145 Mitchell Cowie (D&C) 71, 74
146 Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) 74, 72
148 Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) 71, 77
152 James Alison (D&G) 76, 76
154 Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) 75, 79
156 Patrick Innes (Kirkcudbright) 76, 80
Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) 75, 81
157 Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) 72, 85
158 Kaleb Johnston (Portpatrick) 85, 73
Jamie Marchbank (D&G) 78, 80
164 David Hastings (Portpatrick) 83, 81
168 Glen Irvine (D&G) 88, 80
Neil Macdonald (D&C) 85, 83
171 Ross Plant (Stranraer) 83, 88
172 Sam Mitchell (Portpatrick) 86, 86
176 Ciaran Howat (D&C) 88, 88
181 Harry Hay (Portpatrick) 92, 89
201 Rory Dodds (Stranraer) 99, 102
The CSS in the morning was 69 and in the afternoon 70
The draw for the Matchplay championship to commence on Thursday 20 July is as follows:-
Bye William Squires
9.00 Cameron Gray (Kbt) v Kaleb Johnston (Port)
9.10 Callum McMillan (Kbt) v Glen Irvine (D&G)
9.20 Neil Macdonald (D&C) v Taylor Kerr (San)
9.30 Iain Rae (Dalb) v Sam Mitchell (Port)
9.40 David Hastings (Port) v Patrick Innes (Kirkcudbright)
9.50 Nathan Watson (Kbt) v Jamie Marchbank (D&G)
10.00 Rory Dodds (Stran) v Mitchell Cowie (D&C)
The attached photograph shows the Handicap winner, Patrick Innes and South Champion, William Squires being presented with their trophies by Stephen Kingston, SoSGA President.