Picture of Euan Polson with the trophy by courtesy of Robin Wilson
EUAN POLSON WINS BRORA'S CLYNELISH SALVER
By ROBIN WILSON
Inverness's Euan Polson was reunited with his Brora supporters when he lifted the club's major trophy, The Clynelish Salver, after a gritty, if not spectacular, 16th hole result over the course where he learned to play his boyhood golf fifteen years ago.
As a young teenager in Brora he was the first of the club's juniors to find national distinction and was soon under the wing of the North District Association and the Scottish Golf Union earning Scottish caps before rounding off his junior years with a place in the final of the Scottish Boy's Championship at Murcar in 2005. The first Brora boy to do so.
On finishing his schooling he considered the professional ranks but after a probationary six months at Buchanan Castle turned his back on this and returned to the now family home in Inverness and joining Inverness Golf Club which became his home club. His father, David Polson had moved from the local authority planning office in Dornoch to a senior Planning Officer's post at the Highland Council's Inverness headquarters.
Still trying to map out a career route and now aged 23, Polson's golf has not been so intense over the last three seasons but still of a standard to win, at only his second attempt, the Inverness 4-day event in 2007. For the same reason as Calum Stewart (17), had to miss playing at Brora, national event's date clashes in July and August, Polson missed most of his teenage years at Brora and this was only his fifth attempt after being a sensational début winner of the Class 3 handicap section at the tender age of twelve in 1999.
His opening game in the match-play rounds immediately brought the focus upon him. A crunching 5 and 4 result over three times former winner, Roddy Cameron and then a place in the last four with a 19th hole win over leading qualifier, Simon Harper from Castle Royle.
Harper had snatched the W.J.Hendeson Medal from the grasp of Edinburgh based member Trevor Matheson on a better second round score, two 71's against Matheson's 68 and 74.
Matheson is not a member of any club in Edinburgh but on his home visits is always prominent in stroke-play. With few occasions to play head to head Matheson seems to lack a killer touch, semi finals have been his best efforts and his overdue Clynelish success is still on hold, beaten in the first round by Deeside's Andrew Powell.
Always a difficult year for 17 year olds when high school exams have to take precedence, Stewart's golf has shaded from last season. He did not manage to retain his place in the boys home international team but it gave the local members the opportunity to see him perform on home turf and an eagerly awaited semi final showdown against Polson.
It turned out a bit of an anti-climax, Stewart showing early nerves with a thinned wedge through the first green and just finding the front of the second. A missed green at the fourth hole and the local teenager two behind. Stewart won the 5th and 7th holes as easily as he lost the first two but went ahead by one with his only birdie of the game on the ninth hole, a six foot putt for two.
The local player increased his advantage to two holes after eleven but Polson's birdie on the 14th and winning par on the fifteenth levelled the score again. Stewart was favourite again when he went to the 18th tee one up but bunkered his final tee shot while Polson found the green and the contest continued to the 19th hole where Polson emerged with a birdie to progress into the final and meet Iain Powell (Murcar Links).
Powell, since his only win in 2002, lost in three three successive finals, 2005 to 2007, but after receiving a first round walk-over from Dougall Chalmers (Panmure), Chalmers missing his tee-off time, the Murcar Links man had a cruise result into the final over teenager Craig MacDougall (Loch Ness) making his début in the scratch section.
After Polson's opening birdie Powell then won the next two holes with a delicate chip at the 2nd and a jittery off the green putter approach around a bunker from Polson at the third hole. Polson was not able to level until a par four won the 11th hole as Powell ran into a run of poor tee shots and the Inverness golfer's second birdie of the round from twelve feet on the 12th green returned the lead to him.
Powell then hit two memorable shots with his wedge, from the edge of the burn hazard at the 13th to earn a half and then clipped the pin on the next green hole for a conceded birdie three.
When it appeared he was making a fight back he immediately bogeyed the 15th and had a nightmare four putts on the next green to fall dormy two behind. But the eventual loser on the penultimate hole will be remembered for striking the best shot of the final, one of 190 yards from a second hole fairway bunker to the front of the 17th green. But it was to no avail when he raced his attempt for birdie well past and then conceded a two putt par four to Polson to lose by 3 and 1.
Polson was emotional after his first ever senior win at Brora and paid tribute to his first ever lessons and guidance from junior coaches Ian and Sheila Hamilton who then witnessed their own grandson, Ryan Miller (15) from Royal Troon play in the competition for the first time and make it through to the quarter-finals of the Class 3 handicap section after leading the handicap qualifying scores, nett 60 and 69.
This section's Achroisk Cup was eventually won by George Leonard (Fortrose and Rosemarkie), beating local John MacGregor in the final.
Moving up a section to Class 2 after winning the Class 3 section last year Prestonfield's Jamie Malcom returned to Edinburgh this time with the Clynelish Shield beating local Richard Sutherland 3 and 2. in the final. Disappointed in seeing elder son Calum losing out in the scratch semi-finals the Stewart family were still able to celebrate when they saw their younger son Iain (15), now also a single figure handicapper, win the McRobert Thistle Cup. Up against a former losing finalist from 1978, Golspie's Alister MacDougall, who was just three years older than Stewart when he lost the 1978 final and then went on to appear in the scratch final of 1985 the younger Stewart sibling after missing a winning putt on the final green held his nerve to hole a winning birdie putt on the first extra hole.
E. Polson (Inverness) bt S. Harper (Castle Royle) at 19th.
C. Stewart (Brora) beat D M B Brown (Prestwick) 5 and 4.
I Powell (Murcar Links) bt G Grant (Brora) 2 and 1
C MacDougal (Loch Ness)) beat A. Powell (Deeside) 4 and 3
Polson bt Stewart at 19th.
Powell bt MacDougall 7 and 6.
Polson bt Powell 3 and 1.
Class 1 Handicap
A MacDougall (Golspie) (5) bt A Fraser (Deeside) (9) 3 and 2.
I Stewart (Brora) (8) bt A. Stewart (Brora) (6) 6 and 5.
I Stewart bt A MacDougall at 19th.