On a typical Scottish summer’s day which started overcast and misty, turned to rain for 3 hours over lunchtime then as the heavy clouds rolled away the boys playing in the South Junior Championships experienced weak sunny intervals. Kirkcudbright Golf Course, which was in excellent condition, played host to fourteen boys – a very poor turnout in quantity but not as it was to turn out, in quality.
In the first round of the 36 hole championship scores were very close with Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) shooting 73. Mitchell started with a bogey but immediately got his dropped shot back with interest when he birdied the next two holes. A double bogey at the long par 4 fifth and a bogey at the seventh gave him a score for the first nine of 37, two over par. He dropped three more shots on the back nine before finishing with a flourish with a birdie at the last to post a 73, four over par. Callum started steadily with three straight pars but dropped four shots in the next six holes for an outward nine of 39 before using his local knowledge on the back nine with one bogey and one birdie to be level par and also shoot 73.
Three local Kirkcudbright members held the next three places. Nathan Watson had a horrendous 8 at the par 4 second hole but fought back gamely with two further bogeys and two birdies to finish the first nine in 39, four over par. His inward nine contained three bogeys and one birdie and he scored 36, two over par and a total score of 75. This score was matched by William Squires with 36 for his first nine, one over par with two bogeys at 4 and 5 and a birdie at 8. His second nine was not as good with a double bogey at 11 and bogeys at 12 and 16 to be four over par. The likeable Cameron Gray ruined his outward nine with a 9 at the par 4 fifth hole. Also on the debit side were two bogeys which were offset by two birdies and he completed the first nine in 40, five over par. He started the back nine with two birdies at 10 and 12, dropped 3 shots in the last four holes for a 35, one over par and a total of 75.
Most of the boys played well over the first nine holes but the rain over the last nine holes helped to ruin a lot of cards and heads were down at lunch. Other good scores in the morning were returned by Lewis Cheetham (D&C) 79 and David Sharp (D&C) 80
Unfortunately one of the favourites, Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) played the first nine in 38, three over par, but injured his back on 10, struggled on for four more holes before retiring injured on the fourteenth.
All the boys donned their wet waterproofs for the afternoon round and set off to beat not only the course but also the elements. Mitchell Cowie shot 39 for the outward nine with seven pars, one bogey and a triple bogey and 41 coming home with three bogeys, one double and one triple and one birdie on 16 to finish with 80, eleven over par, and a total of 153,. Fourteen year old Callum McMillan battled bravely to be out in 39, with a 7 at the fifth and a birdie at the eighth. He dropped too many shots coming home but a birdie at the last brought the smile back into his face. He finished with a 79 and a total of 152.
William Squires started with six straight pars but dropped four shots in the next three holes. He turned in 39, four over par, birdied 10, bogeyed 13, birdied 14, bogeyed 15 and a double bogey at 17 to complete the back nine in 36, two over par and signed for a 75 and a total of 150. Cameron Gray got off to a bad start with two bogeys, got one back at the fourth and lost it again at the next, had another bogey at the seventh and birdie at the eighth to be out in 37 which was a good score in the weather conditions. He started the back nine with two birdies to be even par but then gave them back with a double bogey at the twelfth, lost another at thirteen before finishing the last six holes in level par and a second round of 72 and a 36 hole total of 147.
Nathan Watson showed why he had the lowest handicap of those left in the competition by putting together a very steady round. Four bogeys in five holes from the third was partially offset by an eagle at the par 5 eighth and an outward nine of 37, two over par. Totally focussed on the back nine with the rain relenting he shot level par, one bogey, one birdie and finished with 71, the best round of the day. This gave him a total of 146 to beat Cameron by one shot and be a very worthy South of Scotland Junior Champion for 2016.
Other good scores in the afternoon were returned by Ross Whyte (D&G) 76 and Glen Irvine (D&G) 79.
In the Handicap Section the scores to count were those playing in the first round of the Championship and those that had elected to only play 18 holes. The Champion was Callum McMillan Kirkcudbright) with his excellent morning round of 73-7=66, who beat Mitchell Cowie (D&C) 73-5=68 and Ben Perkins (Kirkcudbright) 92-23=69. Other good scores were returned by Nathan Curtis (Kirkcudbright) 93-23=70 and Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) 75-5=70.
The CSS for both rounds was 69
What a great day for Kirkcudbright Golf Club. The golf course in super condition, a friendly welcome, great hospitality from officials and members, top four in the Championship and four of the top five in the Handicap Section. The work the Club have been doing in the development of Juniors is certainly paying off. Well done Kirkcudbright.
Draw for Match Play Championship on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 July is as follows:-
1.30pm N Watson v D Sharp
1.40 C. McMillan v M Cowie
1.50 W Squires v R Whyte
2.00 G Irvine v C Gray
146 Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright)
147 Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright)
150 William Squires (Kirkcudbright)
152 Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright)
153 Mitchell Cowie (D&C)
159 Lewis Cheetham (D&C)
163 Ross Whyte (D&G)
164 Glen Irvine (D&G)
176 David Sharp (D&C)
NR F Copland (D&G)
NR C Brown (D&C)
Rtd Injured A Bendall (Castle Douglas)
66 C McMillan (Kirkcudbright) 73-7
68 M Cowie (D&C) 73-5
69 B Perkins (Kirkcudbright) 92-23
70 C Gray (Kirkcudbright) 75-5
N Curtis (Kirkcudbright) 93-23
71 L Cheetham (D&C) 79-8
72 D Sharp (D&C) 80-8
W Squires (Kirkcudbright) 75-3
73 N Watson (Kirkcudbright) 75-2
76 G Irvine (D&G) 85-9
78 F Copland (D&G) 82-4
81 C Brown (D&C) 88-7
82 R Whyte (D&G) 87-5
The photograph shows South President, Alastair Millar, presenting the Championship Trophy to Nathan Watson and the Handicap Cup to Callum McMillan.