The South of Scotland Match Play Championship was played at Powfoot Golf Club over the weekend of 22/23 August. The course was again in immaculate condition for both days and the weather for Saturday was overcast and calm. Sunday was the warmest day of the year but accompanied by a stiff breeze in the morning which increased in the afternoon for the final.
Three local members, Liam Carruthers, Iain Thomson and Mike Grunwell and Ian Reid from Dumfries & Galloway reached the semi-finals on Sunday morning. In the first match Liam Carruthers played very steadily to overcome Iain Thomson by 5 and 4. In the other match Ian Reid was 3 up after 10 holes but Mike Grunwell fought back to be level after 18 and won at the nineteenth.
In the final, Mike got off to a flying start with an eagle, 2 birdies, a par and a bogey in the first five holes and Liam, although he had done nothing wrong, found himself five down after 5 holes. Liam put his second shot at the first in the middle of the green and Mike thinned his approach off the back of the green. He then thinned his chip which hit the flagpole and disappeared into the cup. At the second Liam was again in the middle of the green in regulation figures while Mike had hit two good blows to just off the back of the green. Mike hit a lovely chip which ran up and into the hole for an eagle three. They both played the third into the wind badly but Liam could not match Mike’s bogey and lost another hole. Two good drives at the fourth and an outrageous 45 feet put across the slope secured another birdie and the hole for Mike. Another three for Mike at the fifth and he was five up. Mike hit an iron off the tee at the sixth and a shell shocked Liam took out his driver which finished 20 yards short of the green. The hole was halved but Liam lost the par 3 seventh to a par and was 6 down. The eighth was halved after Liam played a good chip from above the green and sank the putt.
The match was beginning to settle down and Liam was beginning to think of a successful fight back when he won the nineth and tenth with pars but Mike closed the door when the next four holes were halved with pars. At the par 3 fifteenth Liam missed the green left and could only get a bogey. Mike putted up from the front of the green and Liam conceded the hole and the match to lose 5 and 3. The ball striking from both players had been very impressive, especially into the strong east wind and the match a joy to watch. This was the fifth time Mike had contested the final of the South of Scotland Match Play Championship and the first time he had been successful.
Liam Carruthers (Powfoot) beat David Brodie (Wigtown & Bladnoch) by 3 and 2
Jamie Parker (Southerness) beat William Squires (Kirkcudbright) by 2 holes
Alan White (Newton Stewart) beat Callan Harkness (Lochmaben) by 7 and 5
Iain Thomson (Powfoot) beat Matthew McCulloch (Portpatrick) by 5 and 3
David Willacy (Powfoot) beat Alan Birdsall by 2 and 1
Mike Grunwell (Powfoot) beat Conor Harkness (Southerness) by 2 and 1
Ian Reid (D&G) beat G Corbett (D&G) by 5 and 4
Malcolm Kirkwood (Kirkcudbright) beat Ainsley Bagnall (D&G) at 19th
Liam Carruthers beat Jamie Parker by 1 hole
Iain Thomson beat Alan White by 5 and 4
Mike Grunwell beat David Willacy by 5 and 4
Ian Reid beat Malcolm Kirkwood by 2 and 1
Liam Carruthers beat iain Thomson by 5 and 4
Mike Grunwell beat Ian Reid at 19th
Mike Grunwell beat Liam Carruthers by 5 and 3
Photograph shows South of Scotland President, Duncan Moore presenting the trophy to Mike Grunwell with runner-up Liam Carruthers looking on.