The South of Scotland Matchplay Championships were played over the weekend of Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August at Stranraer Golf Club. Saturday was a sunny summer’s day with a strong breeze and on Sunday the breeze died away to provide excellent golfing weather on a golf course in superb condition once again.
All the matches in the first round and quarter-finals on Saturday were well fought with Martin McNae (Lochmaben), Connor Bennewith (Newton Stewart), Chris Corbett (D & G) and Duncan McNeill (Powfoot) surviving to return to contest the semi-finals on Sunday morning.
The first of the semi-finals saw Martin McNae play Connor Bennewith. This proved to be a very competitive match between two fine drivers of the golf ball. Connor had a narrow lead of 2 up after nine holes when unfortunately Martin’s putting touch on the greens deserted him and this proved his undoing. Connor eventually ran out the winner with a 3 and 2 victory.
The second semi-final was a bit more one-sided. Duncan McNeill took an early lead against Chris Corbett with three birdies in the first nine holes to go 4 up at the turn. The next few holes were shared with Duncan eventually winning 4 and 3.
The final between Connor and Duncan, two young players still in their teens, was eagerly awaited. Connor took a quick 3 hole lead with a par at the first, a birdie at the second and Duncan loosing a ball just off the fairway on the third. Duncan fought back with an excellent birdie at the fourth after driving the 324 yard par 4. Connor found the green on the seventh with a fantastic bunker shot from 170 yards to remain 2 holes up and then drove the 312 yard 8th for another birdie. He also won the ninth after Duncan hit a wayward tee shot into the left handside jungle. This gave Connor a substantial 4 hole lead at the halfway point.
Duncan birdied the tenth and then subsequently lost the eleventh after another wayward tee shot. The 12th went to Duncan and the 13th was halved in 4’s. Connor then played the two best shots of the day on the par 5, 14th, a five iron off the tee and a three wood to 10 feet for a nominal eagle. The outcome of the match was now truly in Connor’s hands – 4 up with 4 to play. Connor hit a glorious six iron to two feet at the par 3, 15th, and Duncan followed it with a seven iron to eighteen feet . Duncan holed his put for a two and sportingly conceded Connor’s putt and the match. Connor Bennewith won the South of Scotland Matchplay Championship for 2014 by 4 and 3 to be only the third Wigtownshire player to win the trophy during its 28 year history. This completes a remarkable double for Connor, having won the South of Scotland Junior Matchplay title in 2012.
Saturday 3 August
N Hamilton (Powfoot) beat M Grunwell (Powfoot) by 3 & 2
C Bennewith (Newton Stewart) beat I Thomson (Powfoot) by 2 & 1
S Whannell (Newton Stewart) beat L Carruthers (Powfoot) by 4 & 2
C Corbett (D & G) beat R Johnston (D & C) by 3 & 2
W Sloan (Stranraer) beat R Murray (Southerness) by 2 holes
D McNeill (Powfoot) beat J Parker (Southerness) by 4 & 3
D Brodie (Wigtown & Bladnoch) beat W Milby (Wigtownshire County) by 2 holes.
M McNae (Lochmaben) beat N Hamilton by 2 & 1
C Bennewith beat S Whannell by 1 hole
C Corbett beat W Sloan by 6 & 5
D McNeill beat D Brodie by 2 & 1
Sunday 25 August
C Bennewith beat M McNae by 3 & 2
D McNeill beat C Corbett by 4 & 3
C Bennewith beat D McNeill by 4 & 3