The South Match Play Championship was played over the weekend of 27 – 28 August at Southerness Golf Club between the top 16 players in the Stroke Play Championship the previous Sunday. The first round and quarter-final were played on Saturday 27 August with the sun shining out of a cloudless sky, no wind and the course in superb condition. This was a treat that was enjoyed by all the competitors after such a poor summer.
The four competitors who were to return on the Sunday morning to contest the semi-finals were Ross Murray (Southerness), George Corbett (jnr) (D&G), Michael Grunwell (D&G) and Neil Hamilton (Powfoot).
The first semi-final was a very tight game in which Ross Murray was taken to the last green by George Corbett before winning by one hole. The second semi-final was another titanic struggle where Neil Hamilton beat Michael Grunwell, also by one hole.
After a scrappy start in the final Ross lost his drive at the second and the hole. He then lost the short fourth to a birdie when Neil put his tee shot to 4 feet but got one back at the sixth with a good chip and putt. Another lost drive at the eighth by Ross resulted in Neil going two up again despite Ross getting a birdie with his second ball.
Ross could not get his driver to put the ball on the fairway and he lost three holes on the trot from the eleventh, including a Neil birdie at the twelfth, before the fourteenth was halved, and Neil had won by 5 & 4. Neil had played very steadily and consistently all afternoon being level par for his fourteen holes and was a worthy South of Scotland Match Play Champion for 2016. He had previously been the winner in 2006 and 2013 and runner-up in 2012.
R Murray (Southerness) beat A Kerr (Crichton) by 5 and 4
Greig Blayney (Southerness) wo C Hamilton (Stranraer) scr
C Riddick (Southerness ) beat I Reid (D&G) by 5 and 4
G Corbett (D&G) beat D Brodie (Newton Stewart) by 2 holes
J Parker (Southerness) beat R McCracken (Powfoot) by 2 holes
M Grunwell (D&G) beat C Corbett (D&G) by 3 and 2
N Hamilton (Powfoot) beat I Thomson (Powfoot) by 7 and 6
K McClung (Wigtownshire County) beat Dean Armstrong (Lochmaben)
R Murray beat G Blayney by 6 and 5
G Corbett beat C Riddick by 2 holes
M Grunwell beat J Parker by 2 and 1
N Hamilton beat K McClung by 3 and 2
Ross Murray beat George Murray by one hole
Neil Hamilton beat Michael Grunwell by one hole
Neil Hamilton beat Ross Murray by 5 and 4.
The photograph shows Neil Hamilton being presented with the South Match Play Trophy by Alastair Millar, South of Scotland President, with runner-up Ross Murray looking on.