At a dry but very windy Southerness Golf Club on Sunday 21 August 2016, fifty nine of the Area’s top golfers set out to be the South of Scotland Champion for 2016. With winds of 20 mph, gusting to over 30 mph, and a course in immaculate condition this was going to be a challenging day where patience and good course management would decide the winner.
The robust sw wind caused plenty of havoc and mischief on a bright and breezy day. The early leader was George Corbett (D&G) with a fine steady round of 71, two over par, and set the standard for the day. Level par out, with one bogey and one birdie, he came home in two over par with one birdie and three bogies. Greig Blayney (Southerness) followed him in. Three bogies in an outward nine of 38 he came back in one over par with three more bogies and two birdies for a total of 73.
Another fine 71 from Andrew Kerr (Crichton) with halves of 37 and 34 and a 72 from Jamie Parker (Southerness) with level par out and 37 back plus two more scores of 73 from Craig Smith (Dalbeattie) and internationalist Liam Johnston (D&C) helped to set the scene and ensure that there would be all to play for in the afternoon.
The highlight of the morning round was the four iron tee shot by Chris Corbett (D&G) who had a hole-in-one at the 169 yard 4th hole.
The leaders in the clubhouse at lunch were George Corbett (71), Andrew Kerr (71), Jamie Parker (72), Greig Blayney (73), Craig Smith (73) and Liam Johnston (73).
In the afternoon George Corbett shot a disappointing 87 and Greig Blayney an 80 which ruled them out of contention. Andrew Kerr followed his good morning round with a fine 73 in the worst of the windy conditions. Out in four over 39 he played the inward nine in level par with two birdies and two bogies. This gave him a total of 144 and set a target for the rest of the field.
Jamie Parker, who had lost in the 36 hole final of the Southerness Championship the previous day in horrendous weather, was out in 40 but recovered well to come home in level par and finish with 74 and a total of 146. Kyle McClung (Wigtownshire County), clambered his way up the leader board as the first round leaders slithered backwards. He had a 76 in the morning, and had four birdies in the afternoon in his score of 70 to also finish on 146.
In the early evening the wind dropped slightly and one of the later starters, Liam Johnston harnessed the less testing conditions to good effect and shot a magnificent level par round of 69. Out in 37, two over par, he came home in two under, including a hole-in-one at the 168 yard short 10th with a pitching wedge. His total of 142 ensured he was the South Champion for 2016.
Other good scores in the afternoon were recorded by Shaun Kennedy (D&G) 74 and David Brodie (Newton Stewart) 74
The team competition, played in conjunction with the Championship, was won by Dumfries & County with a score of 297. Southerness and Powfoot were second equal with 301.
The CSS was 74 in the morning and afternoon.
Top Ten Scores
142 Liam Johnston (D&C) 73, 69
144 Andrew Kerr (Crichton) 71, 73
146 K McClung (Wigtownshire County) 76, 70
J Parker (Southerness) 72, 74
152 D Brodie (Newton Stewart) 78, 74
153 I Reid (D&G) 75, 78
M Grunwell (D&G) 75, 78
N Hamilton (Powfoot) 75, 78
G Blayney (Southerness) 73, 80
154 C Hamilton (Stranraer) 74, 80
The draw for the first round of the Match Play Championship on Saturday 27 August at Southerness is as follows:-
09.15 A Kerr (Crichton) v Ross Murray (Southerness)
09.25 G Blayney (Southerness) v C Hamilton (Stranraer)
09.35 I Reid (D&G) v C Riddick (Southerness)
09.45 D Brodie (Newton Stewart) v G Corbett (D&G)
09.55 R McCracken (Powfoot) v J Parker (Southerness)
10.05 C Corbett (D&G) v M Grunwell (D&G)
10.15 I Thomson (Powfoot) v N Hamilton (Powfoot)
10.25 D Armstrong ( Lochmaben) v K McClung (Wigtownshire County)
The photograph shows from the left:- Andrew Kerr, runner-up; Liam Johnston, South Champion; and Stephen Kingston, South of Scotland Vice-President